By Baker Street
A poor man once came across a lucky penny. He was poor, but he was happy. He stooped and picked up the old penny although it wasn’t much and smiled to himself. I will plant this penny just for luck, he said. So he went home and planted it in his garden in front of his little house. By morning a little plant had grown on the spot where he had planted it. He watered the plant each day, and soon it grew into a lovely young tree.
One day the leaves came out, but it wasn’t leaves; it was bank notes. Soon hundreds and hundreds of dollar bills covered the tree like leaves. He picked a few and put them in his wallet. He was rich, and would never be in need of money again. He smiled, and continued watering his new tree. The bills rustled in the wind on the branches.
The next day Bill the postman came past and asked him for a few bills as he was delivering the post. It was for a pram for his new baby, he said. The man gave him a few, being an unselfish sort of chap. Not long after Mary came by, and asked for a few bills as she was on her way to the bakery, and needed to buy bread. He gave her a few notes as well. But then they came the one after the other, until there was a bit of a queue in front of his gate. It seemed news had travelled and the whole street had come out of their houses for a few dollars, citing some excuse, and promising to pay back the money. This made the man decidedly unhappy, but he helped them as far as he could.
He went to sleep for the night, but in the middle of the night he heard the dog bark out by the tree. He went to the window and saw two men with a ladder trying to steal money off the branches of the tree. “Oi there”, he shouted out of the window, “Get away from my tree, or I’ll call the cops!” The thieves ran off with their ladder with a few notes fluttering behind and a few stuffed in their pockets.
The man lay awake all night worrying about his tree, and how he was going to deal with the problem. Everyone wanted money from him now, and they were even prepared to steal it. A worrisome prospect. He would have to guard against thieves day and night, and ward off people from his gate. He fought a battle for weeks on end trying to keep the money-hungry townsfolk at bay. His appearance became haggard and he sported a stubbly beard. Bags appeared under his eyes from the sleepless nights. He started acting nervous and jittery, jumping at every sound outside. All this worrying about money had made him a very unhappy man.
One morning an old man walked past and lit his pipe. He threw away the burning match which was blown over the fence by the wind and suddenly lighted a few bank notes on the tree. Soon, the whole three was ablaze with burning paper money. The man stood and watched as the tree burned down. After about an hour, only ashes remained on the ground.
At first he was sad, seeing his new found wealth go up in smoke. But later, when he was lying in bed and enjoying a bit of quite time and privacy, he smiled to himself. No one would hound him for money anymore, and he could have good nights rest without worrying about thieves out in the yard. He was poor again, it was true; but he was happy…