Once upon a time there were two brothers,
Tham and Hien. They had scarcely reached
adolescence when their parents died leaving
the two brothers the ancestral home – a large
but simple house, a few fields and also a
small parcel of forest land with a small hut.
Tham was greedy, miserly and proud. Hien
was good, obliging and generous. When the
two brothers thought of marrying, Tham looked
for the richest possible bride whereas
Hien followed his heart and looked for
a sweet and loving partner. Immediately
following the marriages Tham came to see
his brother and told him:
“Now that we are both married, the house
is too small for all of us. Since I am the
eldest, it is only natural that the house
should come to me. But I am not ungenerous,
I don’t expect you to leave empty-handed.
You can have the small hut and the patch
of forest land surrounding it. You are
a worker, you can easily repair the hut
and cultivate your land”. Hien bowed his
head in agreement and went to tell his wife.
The small hut was in a pitiable condition
and the tiny plot of land was hard and rocky.
The only redeeming feature was a majestic
cucumber-tree at one end of the field, still
full of vigour despite its age. Its leaves
provided shade for the hut, and seeing this
Hien thought that perhaps the Gods had not
completely abandoned him.
Hien and his wife worked very hard but what
they were able to earn from the land was not
sufficient to support them. On top of this,
the young lady was expecting their first child.
One day when Hien was in a sad mood his wife
calmed him. She led him outside the hut.
“Look at the cucumber tree”, she said,
“It is bending with the burden of its fruits.
Soon I’ll be able to pick them and sell them
in the village. Don’t give up hope”.
But the next day when Hien started out for
the forest he saw a very large bird with
feathers of fire sitting in the tree and
eating the cucumbers.
“Good bird, please have pity on us. The
cucumbers are all that we have. If you eat
them all, there will be nothing left for us!”
Hien did not know that the beautiful bird
was the legendary Phoenix, so he was very m
uch surprised when the bird turned and replied:
“I shall not be ungrateful and you will be g
reatly compensated for allowing me to taste
these cucumbers. Ask your wife to sew a sack
and come and see me tomorrow morning under
The next day Hien waited under the
cucumber-tree with the sack in his hand.
He heard a fluttering of feathers over head
and saw that the Phoenix was once again
feasting on the cucumbers. Eventually the
bird saw him:
“Open your sack and put it under the tree”.
Hien did so. As the bird ate the fruits,
it dropped the equivalent weight of precious
stones, diamonds and nuggets of gold into
Even before the sack was full Hien cautioned
“Stop beautiful bird! I’ve already got more
than enough to give us a good living.
I thank you. You have been very good to us.”
The Phoenix understood the wisdom of the
young farmer and told him:
“If misery again strikes at your door,
look at this cucumber-tree and remember
that you need not despair, that there will
always be a solution; and if you are in need
of me I shall not be far away”.
This popular story hides a great truth:
wealth is not just about having lots of
money – it is also about the potential and
possibilities of finding our own strengths:
our imagination, our intelligence and
creativity. Certainly the cucumber-tree and
the Phoenix are proverbial, but the good bird
didn’t consider it worthwhile to speak to
the wicked brother.
He spoke to Hien. This signifies that
luck smiles on those who are enterprising,
courageous, who have perseverance and
confidence in their capacity to succeed
and who do not give up the responsibility
of their life by blaming it on fate or destiny.
“There are two types of people on earth:
those who look for ways of succeeding and
those who look for excuses for their
M. de Cornouardt
“To have the courage of undertaking something
is one of the principal factors of success”.
James A. Worsham
- Author unknown -
Posted by Priya Deelchand