By Bruce Farrow on February 23, 2015
The man polished the jewel and became lost in his thoughts as to how he had come by this magnificent thing.
He was a merchant and on his travels he had come across, and indeed traded, many fine items and one day, some time ago, he had been in a market in Marakesh buying rugs when he spied this gem on the shelf of a stall holder. It had been covered in dust and there had been no shine to it, yet he was drawn to it immediately. There was something about it that was special.
He had asked the trader if he wanted to sell the gem and after some frantic haggling, he had obtained it, in a deal that included some old rugs and vials of perfumes, none of which he had really wanted. He wanted the gem. Why, he didn’t know, but his instinct had told him that it might be the most special thing.
When he returned to the place he was staying, he opened the wrapping that contained the jewel and examined it. It was cut exquisitely, with every facet at a perfect angle to the next one. As he had turned it over in his fingers he had begun to realise that this was one of a kind.
He took out his polishing and cleaning materials, the finest he had, and began to polish.
Slowly the gem started to shine. He worked more at it, ensuring each individual facet received the same amount of attention as the next, and the last. He polished for many hours and the gem shone more.
At dawn the following day he had walked outside, holding the gem in his hand, and for the first time saw the exquisite beauty of the jewel. It shone in the sunlight like a sun itself, reflecting and amplifying the natural light, its lustre more beautiful than anything he had ever seen. It radiated perfection in every way as he had turned it in his hand. How could anything on this planet be this beautiful? It was perfection personified and it gave him an inordinate amount of pleasure in knowing that he had found it and returned it to its natural glory.
All his life as a merchant he had been in search of something. He had not known what, yet he knew he would know when he found it and now, at this very moment, he knew his quest was over. This was not a tradable item like the other fine wares he had owned over the years. This was his to treasure, to admire and to look after.
And that is what he did. Over the months that followed, the jewel had always been with him. Many times each day he would hold the jewel in his hand and admire its beauty. He cherished it and it gave him more happiness than he had ever thought possible. In fact, his trading became less important because he had found what he had been seeking.
However, something terrible was about to happen.
He had shown many people the beautiful jewel and allowed them to admire its perfection. After all, something of such beauty should be available to everyone to bask in its magnificence. His pride at what he had found was his undoing because evil people had seen the gem and coveted it for themselves.
One day, as the man had slept peacefully with the gem on his pillow, some thieves broke into his room at the dead of night and stole the jewel.
When he awoke, he found the jewel had gone and was devastated. The thing of beauty that he had found after a lifetime of travels had disappeared. He searched everywhere in his room but realised that it had been stolen. He was distraught and sent out word of his misfortune and remonstrated with himself for not being more careful. Why had he not locked the jewel away? What would have happened if he had never shown anyone the jewel, then they would not have known of its existence and could not have stolen it? But a thing of beauty should be available for all to see. Keeping it to himself would have taken away those moments of joy when others saw the gem for the first time. He had done the right thing and it had cost him dearly.
As he travelled the world’s markets people recognised him and asked if they could see the jewel again. They remembered its incredible beauty and wanted to feast their eyes on it again and soak up its energy. When he told them the story of how it had been stolen from him, they too were desolate. Each had their memories that once they had been in the presence of that beautiful thing and now it seemed like that they would never experience that again.
He kept spreading the word of how he was seeking the gem that he had lost and more and more people became aware of his loss and turned their attention to finding the jewel.
In a place not far away the thieves had locked the jewel in a safe. They didn’t want anyone to see its magnificence as they knew people would ask how they had come by such a beautiful and valuable thing. Their reputation preceded them and the majority of people they met knew that no good ever came from their actions.
So they kept it hidden and every now and again they took the gem out of the same and gloated over the fact that they had it. They owned it and they had no intention of sharing it with anyone.
As time went on, the gem began to fade. No longer was it carefully polished every day. No longer did it sit on a velvet cushion and no longer did it feel the warmth of the sunrays striking its facets. Its lustre became dull although its beauty was always there, yet fading, waiting for the day when it would be cherished again although it was scared that that day may never come.
As it lay in the dark safe, the jewel began to experience feelings. At first the feeling of sadness at its situation and then frustration that there was nothing it could do. Then anger at the thieves who had taken it away from the sunlight and the man who cherished it, and then more frustration. It truly hoped that the man would find it again, but how could he when it was locked away in the safe. The jewel felt tiredness.
Slowly, it felt energy within itself. It had no idea how or why or what, but the energy began to increase. The jewel’s thoughts and feelings became a blur as the vibrations within increased, creating a blinding white light. It was out of control. The light intensified and the vibrations became incredible as an enormous amount of energy was released, blowing the door to the safe wide open.
The jewel did not know what had happened as it lay in the smoking doorless safe. How did it do that?
The Man had been sadly wandering the Shuks nearby when he heard the explosion and he knew, for some reason, that it was a sign for him. He ran towards where the noise had emanated from, and pushing roughly through the crowd, he stood in front of the old, run-down apartment where wisps of smoke were still drifting from the windows.
Without hesitation, he broke down the door and rushed in, seeing the smoking safe and, inside, his beautiful gem. He grabbed it and ran.
He ran, and ran and ran until he got to the place he was staying and went inside. Out came the polishing kit and for several days he worked on the jewel until its previous lustre returned. Every facet was polished, every edge was smoothed with a stone and finally, after several days, the man took the jewel outside where it caught the sun again.
It glowed. It shone. It reflected. It was more beautiful than ever and, without question, the most wonderful and exquisite thing on this planet. The man was entranced, once again, by its wondrous beauty.
People had heard that he had found the jewel again and came from far and wide to see the man and the gem and to, once again, admire this incredible thing and every night he would spend hours polishing it.
Some told him to lock it away, so no-one could steal it again and the man thought about it. However, who was he to deny all others from basking in the glow of his gem? This jewel had been created by the universe and the universe should be allowed to admire its own creation.
Instead, he told stories of the thieves and allowed the people of the land to know who had stolen their jewel. Soon there wasn’t a person in that land, or the surrounding lands that were unaware of what the thieves had done and consequently, the thieves were banished from society to live miserable lives in the bad lands.
The man was never parted from the jewel again, not even for a moment and continued to polish it every day for the rest of his life . . . and he lived to be 150!