Relax, close your eyes and picture yourself riding a camel across a vast desert under a scorching sun. This tale is about a camel breeder called Big Tam and his son Goza. They were bringing a herd of camels to market when something very strange happened. Would you like to know what it was? Listen carefully to their story.
After travelling for many days, Big Tam and Goza reached the walls of the great city called Miraz. Outside the city gates grew an ancient tree with branches crooked like witches’ fingers. People said that the tree had been there longer than the city, protected by a powerful spirit. As the camel train passed by, Big Tam knelt before the old tree.
“Oh wondrous tree spirit, please help me make lots of money selling camels today at the market. I promise a great offering to you in return,” said Big Tam. He walked round the tree three times, bowing and clapping.
“What are you doing, Dad?” asked Goza. He thought his father's behaviour was a bit odd.
“I’m asking the tree spirit to bless us with good luck at the market today,” said Big Tam.
“My school teacher says that asking spirits for help is silly. She says you make your own luck,” said Goza.
They passed through the city gates. Secretly, Big Tam rubbed the lucky coin he kept in his pocket and whispered, “Help us, little coin.” He made sure his son didn’t see.
The market square bustled with people from many lands, the stalls piled high with fruit and vegetables, jewelry, pottery and carpets. Big Tam set to work, haggling with the camel buyers. By late afternoon all his camels had been sold.
“Our luck was in, my boy,” said Big Tam, grinning. “Now let's go home.”
But, as they left the city, he stopped to buy two goats. When they reached the old tree, he knelt down, grasping the goats, and pulled a knife from his belt.
“What are you going to do, Dad?” Goza cried out in fear.
“Tm going to sacrifice these goats to the tree spirit. I’m giving thanks for our good luck today at the market”
“Oh no, don’t do that!” cried Goza. “Don’t hurt them!”
As he spoke something incredible happened. Rain fell from the branches and turned to mist, and from the mist floated the figure of a woman. Her hair streamed around her and her robes sparkled like diamonds.
Big Tam dropped his knife. “Who are you?” he gasped.
“I’m the spirit of this tree. That wasn't rain, but my tears for these poor frightened animals. Your good luck, as you call it, at the market today was only due to your own hard work. You should listen to your son!”
Big Tam was beginning to feel rather silly kneeling before the tree spirit. He stood up awkwardly and blushed.
“Spirits nurture all that lives,” she continued. “We don't waste our time helping humans bargain at the market.” She smiled before disappearing back into the tree.
Big Tam and Goza stood staring at the spot where she had floated. “Here’s a present for you,” declared Big Tam at last, giving his “lucky” coin to Goza. “Buy something special with it. I won't be needing it any longer.”
From that day on, Big Tam and Goza worked hard together to make their own good fortune. It’s through our own efforts that we make our own good luck and find happiness. Trying to make things happen through relying on luck or the power of others will get us nowhere.