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The Tao Master once recounted this story –

 

A humble farmer goes at dawn each day to till the field and take care of his crops. In the regions unknown to the casual man, the devil and his minions are watching the farmer. They are plotting his demise – as devils always do. The devil says to his minions that there is a bonus for the one who can bring the farmer down and caused him to fall. The minions are excited and gleeful and set off to trip the farmer up.

The first minion goes to the field and seeing the farmer’s bottle of milk and sandwich for lunch, steals them away, hoping to cause the farmer to become angry and discontented.

The farmer leaves his field when the sun is high in the sky and goes to eat his much earned lunch. When gets to the tree where he set it down in the shade, he discovers that it is gone. He shrugs his shoulders and sits down thinking that some unfortunate beggar must have needed it more than himself.

The minion returns to the devil and is sent away for failing.

The second minion derives a plan to make the farmer fall from grace and returns to the farm. He hardens the farmer’s ground that he is tilling, making it very difficult for the farmer to work. It takes him twice as long and he uses double the effort and deep into the evening, he finally finishes. He is spent but he is joyful nonetheless. The minion returns to the devil and is banished for failing.  

A third and most cunning minion leaves for the farmer’s plot and instead of sabotaging the farmer, he whispers in the farmer’s ear where he is to plant his next crop. The farmer does not believe him until the minion tells him that he will water the crops to prove that he can see the future. The rains fall and the farmer is convinced and the minion tells the farmer to plant his crop in a gully that is most unlikely. The farmer does as the minion says and he is instructed to tell no one as the crops will yield a great bounty and he will be the richest in the land.

There is a drought, brought about by the minion and all the other farmer’s crops fail but this farmer, who planted his where he was promised, had an abundant harvest. He soon became the richest man in the land and held great parties, inviting all of his friends and neighbors. The minion watched him and then there came the moment where he had to report back to the devil. He went and brought the devil to witness his work.

The farmer had a party and he had invited all his neighbors’ and friends to join him at his feast. As they watched, a servant carrying a tray of food and drinks walked up to the farmer. He held the tray but the farmer ignored him as he was too busy talking to. The servant stood for quite some time before he turned to leave and he accidently bumped into a guest, spilling the contents of the tray.

The farmer leapt in anger and told the servant that he was stupid and did not deserve to have the job that he had and then he told him in no uncertai terms, that he was to pack his things as his services were no longer required.

The humiliated servant ran from the mansion and disappeared into the night.

The minion turned to the devil and said, ‘See! He has fallen from grace and I have turned him into a Wolf and a Pig!”

The minion was not sent away.

The End

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