The Buried Treasure
A man named Faraz once lived in Syria, in a city that is still called Damascus today. Faraz worked hard and over many years he was able to save a large sum of money. When he was young, he had lived in poverty. As an adult, he knew people who were rich for a short time, but who lost all their money gambling or by spending too much money on luxuries. So, out of fear of losing everything, one night he carried his money out of the city and buried it under a tree.
After some time had passed, he began to miss looking at his money. He wanted to feel rich again, so he went back to the tree where he buried his treasure. But when he dug the ground, he discovered that all his treasure was gone!
Suddenly, he felt nothing but bitterness and disappointment. Ashamed, he didn’t know who to talk to. Could he confide in anyone? As each day passed, the emptiness in his heart only deepened.
One day he went to do business with a wise man of the city who said to him, “Recently, I have noticed a sad change in your health, my friend. I do not know the cause. What misfortune has hurt you?”
Faraz cried tears of sadness. “You are right that I carry a heavy heart and a great sorrow. Yet if I confide in you, I will make you sad as well. There is nothing that can be done.”
The wise man said, “Good friends should tell each other their troubles, so that together they can work them out.”
Faraz sighed. “Dear friend, I had some gold. It was my life savings. Fearing that it could be stolen, I carried it to a certain place and buried it under a tree. And when I next visited it, it was gone!
The wise man was alarmed. “Truly, I am sorry! Indeed, this is a serious dilemma.” He paused. “It may be difficult to get your gold back. Tell me, my friend, is it possible that someone saw you when you buried your treasure?” Faraz sadly shook his head. “I am quite sure, that no one saw me.”
“Or perhaps,” said the wise man, “somebody noticed that the earth was fresh at the foot of the tree?”
“But I was so careful!” replied the unhappy man. “I covered the hole with the same earth so well that no one would know that anything had changed.”
“Then, did you leave anything behind, perhaps a piece of cloth or something giving a clue of who was there?”
“Not a thing!” Faraz said, trying not to cry any more.
The friend said softly, “I don’t think you have any enemies.”
“Me, neither!” cried Faraz in despair. “And besides, no one even knew that I had a lot of gold.”
“Well then, friend,” said the wise man, “give me ten days to think about the situation. A good idea might come to me if I think about your problem carefully.”
The wise man sat down for ten days to contemplate the situation. But after thinking about every possibility, he could not come up with a plan. On the tenth day, he met Faraz in the street and said sadly, “Although I have thought hard about it for ten days, I couldn’t find the precious pearl of a wise plan. I just hope that someday, somehow you will find your lost treasure!”
They were talking this way when a madman met them on the street and asked, “Well, boys, what is your secret conversation about?” The wise man turned to Faraz. “Come, let us tell this crazy fellow our problem. A strange flower might bloom in his mind.”
Faraz said, “Dear friend, are you sure? You are so wise and even you could not come up with a plan after ten days’ thought. So, how can we expect any help from this crazy madman? He doesn’t even know if it’s day or night!”
The wise man replied, “We have no idea what he will tell us. But you know, even the most foolish people have ideas. He might give us a clue that can point us in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, a little boy had noticed the crazy madman. Stopping to observe the strange sight of a madman talking to two wise gentlemen, the boy approached the group.
The two friends explained what had happened to the madman. After thinking for some time, the madman said, “The person who took the root of that tree for a medicine also took the gold,” and then turned his back on them and went away.
Faraz and the wise were shocked. Was the madman’s idea good? While they were thinking about it, the little boy asked what kind of a tree it was. Faraz replied that it was a jujube-tree. Then the boy said: “This is a simple enough matter. Ask all the doctors in the city if they prescribed the roots of the jujube tree as medicine.”
The wise man was impressed with the boy’s sharp mind and also the crazy man’s lucky thought. He knew all the doctors of the city and he made inquiries. After a few days, one doctor told him that about twenty days before, he had prescribed a medicine for a merchant named Khoja Samander, who suffered from asthma. This medicine could only be made from the root of the jujube-tree.
The wise man discovered where the merchant lived, went to his house and spoke to him: “Ah, Khoja, I’m so happy that you have recovered your health. I have a friend who also wants to recover something. The owner of what you found at the foot of the jujube-tree is a good man, and it was all his treasure.”
The honest merchant replied, “It is true, I found it, and it is with me. If you tell me the amount of the gold, I will put it into your hands.” And in this way, Faraz recovered his lost treasure.