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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

94- The Richest Man in the Valley Will Die Tomorrow

 

The wealthy man stood in the balcony of his palace proudly gazing at his land vast in every direction, for he possessed the whole valley. He was saying to himself, These are my fields and lands. Im the richest man in the valley.

He began to utter, in a loud voice, the thoughts of the rich man in the Lords Parable of the Rich Fool:

"What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops? I will do this: I will pull down my barns

And build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul,

You have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry

(Luke 12.17-19).

St-Takla.org Image: A rich man, king, mayor, governor by Amgad Wadea. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: رجل ثري، غني، عمدة، ملك، رسم أمجد وديع.

St-Takla.org Image: A rich man, king, mayor, governor by Amgad Wadea.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: رجل ثري، غني، عمدة، ملك، رسم أمجد وديع.

He raised his voice in pride and arrogance. While looking here and there, and in the midst of the quietness, he noticed an elderly worker sitting under a tree, not far from the balcony, who had a cheerful expression and a sweet smile. He had a small bundle containing a small piece of dry bread and a small portion of cheese to eat for lunch after hard work in the rich mans garden.

The wealthy man, who was comforted when speaking to the old man, greeted him from the balcony and the old man returned the greeting.

Did you hear me speak, Sam?

No my lord. I didnt notice that you were in the balcony. My eyes are dim and my ears heavy due to my old age.

I see that youre happy this evening, Sam.

I thank God for His endless gifts, my lord.

For what do you thank Him? For the dry bread and the piece of cheese!

Yes my lord, for God my Father has bestowed upon me food to fill me and He supports me in my work. Hes given me a tunic to wear, a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head. These are much more than what my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had when He was on earth.

I wonder how you could be happy with such simple food as this!

My God gives me sweetness in my mouth whilst I use His gifts to me. This sweetness is a Divine gift.

Sam suddenly changed the subject to tell his wealthy employer of a dream he had the night before:

Id like to tell you, my lord, of a dream I had last night. I dreamt that Id risen to heaven and found its gates open. I saw the great city, the heavenly Jerusalem, and its unspeakable glories. Im unable, my lord, to describe the beauty of what I saw. I desired to stay there, but what amazed me was that I heard a voice from within saying, The richest man in the valley will die tonight. After that I heard the sounds of the heavenly hosts praising and singing. I had woken from my sleep, but I wished not to wake up. My lord, I heard these words very clearly, and wondered how I would meet with you to tell you of what I had seen and heard.

The rich mans face became pale. He tried to hide his feelings and fears, but he retreated from the balcony to his room and threw himself upon a nearby seat whilst repeating, The richest man in the valley will die tonight? Was this merely the dream of an old man? Was it a prophecy of a Divine vision? Was it a reflection of the feelings of a worker towards the richest man in the valley? Hes after all a loving, pious and righteous old man.

Only hours had passed when Sam felt a rise in his temperature. He tried to conceal his sickness so that he would not bother anyone. His sickness increased and the old man began reciting his Psalms and calling upon God and his face was filled with joy.

When his condition worsened, his friends hurried to call a doctor to treat him. Whilst the doctor was treating him, Sam retold his dream to him. At this the doctor laughed saying, Dont worry for the richest man in the valley is very well and he will not die tonight.

At a very late hour, the rich man heard his doorbell ringing. He went out to open the door only to find a laborer at the door apologizing and saying, Im sorry, my lord. Sam has died and we know that you loved him and wondered what we should do.

The rich man was astonished at what had happened and began to say to himself, The richest man in the valley will die tonight. Yes, Sam seemed very poor in my sight, but in the eyes of God he was the richest in the world. He was rich in faith. He possessed the richness of heaven, which is priceless and enjoyed the better life. I believed within myself that I was the richest man in the valley, but I have discovered who was truly rich. And now return, O my soul, to your God and posses Him and you will possess all riches.(8)

→ English translation of the story here at St-Takla.org: أغنى رجل في الوادي يموت الليلة!

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Footnotes and references for this page here at St-Takla.org:

(8) Naismith, Archibald. 2400 Outlines, Notes, Quotes, Anecdotes for Sermons. Vol. 2. 205.


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