Finding a New Spring: Perseverance

A certain tradesman once led a caravan of goods to another nation for export. They reached the edge of a harsh hot-sand desert along the way. They found out after asking that nobody can walk on the fine sand during the day because the sun heats it up until it’s as hot as charcoal. Not even bullocks or camels can! In order to travel only at night when the sand cools down, the caravan leader hired a star-gazing desert guide. They started their perilous nighttime desert crossing.

A few nights later, they set out once more after eating their evening meal and allowing the sand to cool. The desert guide, who was operating the first cart, noticed later that night that they were approaching the other side of the desert from the stars. Additionally, he had overindulged, so when he unwind, he falls asleep. The bullocks eventually turned to the side and travelled in a great big circle until they arrived at their original starting point because, of course, they couldn’t read the stars for directions.

The group realised they were back where they had camped the day before when it was morning and it was by this time. They became demoralised and started crying over their predicament. They had no more water and were worried that they would pass out from dehydration because the desert crossing was supposed to be finished by this point. They even started blaming the caravan leader and the desert guide, saying, “We can’t function without water!”

The tradesman then had the following thought: “If I falter right now, in the midst of this dire circumstance, my leadership is meaningless. All these goods and bullocks, as well as the lives of the people, including myself, may be lost if I sit here crying and lamenting my misfortune without doing anything. I need to approach this situation with vigour!” In an effort to come up with a strategy to save them all, he started to walk back and forth.

He continued to be vigilant and caught sight of a small patch of grass out of the corner of his eye. He reasoned that no plant could survive in this desert without water. In order to prepare the ground there, he called the most motivated travellers over and instructed them to do so. They continued to dig until they eventually reached a sizable stone. When they realised it, they halted and started blaming the leader once more, saying “This endeavour is pointless. We’re just squandering time!” The tradesman, however, retorted, “No no, my friends, if we give up the effort we will all be destroyed and our poor animals will die – let us be encouraged!”

As he finished speaking, he descended into the hole and placed his ear against the stone, where he could hear water flowing. “If you give up, we will all perish,” he yelled to a boy who had been digging as soon as he saw him, “so take this heavy hammer and strike the rock.”

The boy struck the rock as hard as he could while holding the hammer above his head. He was most surprised by the rock’s splitting in two and the powerful flow of water that emerged from beneath it. All of the people were suddenly ecstatic. They consumed alcohol, took baths, cleaned the animals, prepared meals, and ate.

In order to draw other travellers to the fresh spring in the middle of the hot sand desert, they raised a large banner before they left. They then proceeded safely to their destination.

The moral is: Don’t give up too easily – keep on trying until you reach the goal.