The First Cure

George S. Classon
George S. Classon

Start thy purse to fattening


Arkad addressed a thoughtful man in the second row. “My good friend, at what craft workest thou?”

“I,” replied the man, “am a scribe and carve records upon the clay tablets.”

“Even at such labor did I myself earn my first coppers. Therefore, thou hast the same opportunity to build a fortune.”

He spoke to a florid-faced man, farther back. “Pray tell also what dost thou to earn thy bread?”

“I,” responded this man, “am a meat butcher. I do buy the goats the farmers raise and kill them and sell the meat to the housewives and the hides to the sandal makers.”

“Because thou dost also labor and earn, thou hast every advantage to succeed that I did possess.”

In this way did Arkad proceed to find out how each man labored to earn his living. When he had done questioning them, he said: “Now, my students, ye can see that there are many trades and labors at which men may earn coins. Each of the ways of earning is a stream of gold from which the worker doth divert by his labors a portion to his own purse. Therefore into the purse of each of you flows a stream of coins large or small according to his ability. Is it not so?”

Thereupon they agreed that it was so. “Then,” continued Arkad, “if each of you desireth to build for himself a fortune, is it not wise to start by utilizing that source of wealth which he already has established?” To this they agreed.

Then Arkad turned to a humble man who had declared himself an egg merchant. “If thou select one of thy baskets and put into it each morning ten eggs and take out from it each evening nine eggs, what will eventually happen?”

“It will become in time overflowing.”

“Why?”

“Because each day I put in one more egg than I take out.”

Arkad turned to the class with a smile. “Does any man here have a lean purse?”

First they looked amused. Then they laughed. Lastly they waved their purses in jest.

“All right,” he continued, “Now I shall tell thee the first remedy I learned to cure a lean purse. Do exactly as I have suggested to the egg merchant. For every ten coins thou placest within thy purse take out for use but nine. Thy purse will start to fatten at once and its increasing weight will feel good in thy hand and bring satisfaction to thy soul.

“Deride not what I say because of its simplicity. Truth is always simple. I told thee I would tell how built my fortune. This was my beginning. I, too, carried a lean purse and cursed it because there was naught within to satisfy my desires. But when I began to take out from my purse but nine parts of ten I put in, it began to fatten. So will thine.

“Now I will tell a strange truth, the reason for which I know not. When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings, I managed to get along just as well. I was not shorter than before. Also, ere long, did coins come to me more easily than before. Surely it is a law of the Gods that unto him who keepeth and spendeth not a certain part of all his earnings, shall gold come more easily. Likewise, him whose purse is empty does gold avoid.

“Which desirest thou the most? Is it the gratification of thy desires of each day, a jewel, a bit of finery, better raiment, more food; things quickly gone and forgotten? Or is it substantial belongings, gold, lands, herds, merchandise, income-bringing investments? The coins thou takest from thy purse bring the first. The coins thou leavest within it will bring the latter.

“This, my students, was the first cure I did discover for my lean purse: ‘For each ten coins I put in, to spend but nine.’ Debate this amongst yourselves. If any man proves it untrue, tell me upon the morrow when we shall meet again.”