Many of you have no doubt heard this classic folk tale, or a variation of it.
The story takes place in the 19th century and involves a poor Jewish baker named Yosef, who lives in a small town near Prague. After living in poverty his whole life, on his 40th birthday he has a dream about going to the city and finding a treasure under the palace bridge. After the third time he has the same dream, Yosef sets out for Prague. When he gets to the bridge, he sees that it is guarded all day and all night, but he still goes to the bridge every day for a week and walks around it, watching and fretting.
When a week has passed, the captain of the guards comes over to ask what Yosef is doing. When Yosef tells him of his dream about the treasure under the bridge, the guard laughs, puts his hand on his shoulder, and says, “If I listened to crazy dreams like that I’d go to a small village and look behind the oven of a Jewish baker named Yosef to find a secret treasure.”
Yosef turns around, dejected, and spends the whole night journeying home. But when he gets back, he digs under his oven and finds the treasure.
The moral of the story: you don’t have to travel far to find happiness, or riches… they’re usually right under your nose.
I’ve heard this story dozens of times, but it came to life, sort of, yesterday in my house.
My kids pool most of the money they get from various things- the tooth fairy, can and bottle recycling, assorted change, important chores, helpful behavior, and bills that they get from their grandparents. And they do have permission to make decisions on how to spend that money, within reason. Over recent years they have bought a Wii with that pool of money, and now they have eyes on a Vitamix blender. Hey, it’s their money.
That money used to be kept in our closet, but in recent months we have given the big boys the responsibility to manage it. But over a month ago, after they squirrelled away another $5 or so following a can redemption visit, their plastic bag of cash and coin seemingly vanished into thin air. It wasn’t in their room, it wasn’t in the hallway closet, and probably some amount close to $200 was gone. I was annoyed, I was frustrated, but I certainly wasn’t going to find it for them.
Fast forward to yesterday.
In our tiny house filled with people (I could reference that other folk tale “It Could Always Be Worse”), a lot of stuff ends up under couches and beds. Little People princesses, toy cars, Magna-Tiles, you get it.
Well, as I was directing the boys to suck it up and to really, truly, seriously find the money this time, my little 2 ½ year old daughter overheard this, pranced into our bedroom, dove under the bed, and resurfaced with the missing bag of money.
We will never know exactly when she found that treasure and buried it under our bed, but in this remarkable case of lost-and-found, the treasure really was right under our noses the whole time.