Original Composition Date: Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Once upon a time, there lived a small urchin whose name was Thom. He was dressed mostly in green home spun wool breeches and shirt, which his dear mother had made for him. He lived in the forest, beside a babbling brook, and gathered herbs to sell at the village market.
One day, he was visited by a strange hooded man, who told him he must give him all his gold.
“But I have no gold!” exclaimed Thom. “Everything that I earn from the herbs I have given to my mother, who lives far away from here.”
“Well then, perhaps I must go to visit your mother then,” said the hooded man.
“Oh, please don’t do that!” replied Thom. “I will give you anything else I have, that you wish”
At this the hooded man replied “I wish to deprive you of your inheritance, if you get one!” “I will return when your parents have died, and we will see what you will give me then!”
The hooded man left, leaving behind a baffled Thom.
He didn’t believe he would ever receive an inheritance, so he set out on a long journey, to find out. He travelled for several weeks, until he came to the deep forest, where his parents lived. When he reached his childhood home, he knocked there. Out came an old hag, and a grey bearded wizard. He embraced them with joy, and entered into the house. Here he found all manner of gleaming gold vases, and picture frames and even golden dishes on the table.
He exclaimed “mother, father, I had no idea, you had so much gold!”
“There is a hooded man who visited me who wishes to take away all my gold, or else all my inheritance, when you have died. What can I do to stop him?” he asked them.
His parents laughed, and said “he can come here any time he wishes, even when we have died. He will not be able to see anything here.”
The urchin believed his parents, and returned home.
After many years, he received news of his parent’s death. He returned to their house, and discovered that it was a pig barn. There were no golden objects anywhere to be found. Now he worried that he had indeed lost his inheritance. He waited for several days for the hooded man to arrive. When he did, the urchin said to him,”see, there is no wealth here of any kind.” “You will have to return without any gold from me or my parents.”
At this, the hooded man became very angry, and said “you are a wizard, and you have cast a spell on all the gold. It must be that this pig manure, is really the gold, so I will load it all up and take it away.”
“I can help you with that”, said the urchin. “I can drive the wagon where ever you want it taken”
“Ok”, said the hooded man, “but first you must sign here, saying that everything on the wagon belongs to me”.
This the urchin gladly did, for he had no use for so much pig manure.
The pig shed was all cleaned out, and he was glad to be rid of it. He planned to start over again, growing and storing the herbs in the old pig shed.
The hooded man was pleased because he needed fertilizer for his fields near the next town. Together, they drove away to the house of the hooded man. There, they unloaded the wagon onto the fields.
The next day when the urchin returned to his parent’s house, he noticed something strange. There were loud grunting noises coming from the pig barn. He looked inside, to discover that it was now full of 35 young piglets, who wanted to go outside to eat grass and drink from the brook, in the field.
He let them out and smiled.
The wizard’s inheritance, was indeed just a valuable crop of pigs that he would be able to sell at the market, with his herbs, come next fall.