I heard the following story as a kid. Here is what I remember:
A short fable of wealth? When I was a kid, I heard the following story. Here is what I remember:
The writer of the story is Ram who then just joined the college and became friends with another person named Shyam. Shyam had a rich lifestyle and liked to spend. When they completed college, Shyam got invited to the Ram’s house and got to meet their family. Ram had a big family with many uncles and aunts who live under the same roof with their children, and in some cases, grandchildren. Shyam was always curious how Ram’s family got their wealth. To his surprise none of the Ram’s family member seemed to do anything for a living. They enjoyed lavish lifestyle and spent a lot of money, but it was not clear where the money came from. He also noticed that the family members did not like each other. There was always some kind of tension in the family.
Confused, one night Shyam hesitantly asked the question to Ram. Ram became silent for a moment and then asked Shyam to come with him. He took Shyam to a protected area outside the house. There was a tree. The tree looked like a normal tree. Ram told that his grandfather got this tree as a gift from a fairy.
Note: Please bear with me. I am just using the fairy tale story to make a point.
The tree had magical powers and every year it give some fruits. The fruits, when ripe, became solid gold. But, for the previous five years the tree did not give any fruit. The family was first living off the fruits they had in stock. Then they started borrowing money. Ram’s grandfather lived a rich life with all the great things in life at his disposal. He had many sons and daughters because supporting a big family was not a problem for him. They also maintained a luxury lifestyle. Because of their lifestyle they attracted the attention of the elites and the people in power. Then Ram’s father’s generation did not have to do anything because money was always there. In fact Ram was the only person in the family to get a college education and wanted to do a job. Gradually their family got bigger and bigger. No one from the family wanted to move out because the fear that they would loose the share in the golden fruits. Slowly, the number of fruits from the tree started decreasing and at the same time the family grew in size. Although the magic tree stopped giving any fruit, the family was very optimistic that it would again start giving lots of fruits. The family was habituated in living in luxury and maintaining a "class" but nobody wanted to do anything for a living. It led to a lot of tension between the members.
After telling the story, Ram went to sleep. Shyam was taken aback by the story. He could not sleep. Late at night, he fetched an axe and went back to the tree. He cut down the tree and fled from Ram house. For a long time Shyam did not get in touch with Ram. After several years, Shyam met Ram accidentally. Ram seemed to not understand that Shyam cut down the tree. Though he was surprised that Shyam left and did not contact. He mentioned that someone cut down the tree. At first, the family was in shock. But, gradually family members developed different skills, got jobs or started businesses and moved out. The family slowly adjusted to life after the magic tree and collaborated with each other to pay back the debt they had accumulated. The family members used to equate the magic tree as the source of their wealth. After loosing the magic tree they started to understand their own capabilities to create wealth.
Loosing the magic tree was the luckiest event for the family.