An old woman was traveling from her village to her sister’s village, a day’s journey she made every month.
As she stepped across the stream on the way there, she noticed something shining in the water. She stooped and picked up a magnificent stone. She knew it must be a jewel of some kind. Perhaps it had fallen from a noble’s garmnet as he crossed the water on horseback. She put it in here lunch basket, thinking how lucky she was to find it.
A little later she sat down under a tree for a bit of lunch from her basket. A young man looking hungry and tired came down the path. She offered to share her lunch with him. She discovered, as they chatted, he was on his way to her village to find work. When she opened up her basket to put things away after lunch, he noticed the stone in the basket and asked to see it. She took it out and showed it to him. “You should take this,” she said. “I found it in the stream and think it may be worth quite a lot. You may need it if you do not find work.” The young man accepted her offer swiftly and they parted.
The next week, when the woman returned to her village, friends ran to greet her saying, “There is a young man who has been looking everywhere for you.” When the young man found her, he took the stone from his pocket saying, “I want to return this to you.”
“Why?” she asked, “Is it not worth anything?”
“Yes,” he said, “it is worth a great deal. But I’ve found work, and I want to give it back in hope that you can give me something that is even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone.”