The Golden Rule

a Moldovan Folk Tale rewritten by Phillip Martin
Wine has been produced in Moldova for nearly five thousand years.  The largest underground wine cellar in the world, MileČ™tii Mici, extends for around 120 miles and holds nearly two million bottles of wine!  So, it really shouldn't come as a surprise that a traditional folktale might have a lesson wrapped up in a story about working the grape fields.
"Just look across that field, my sons," smiled the father as he took a break in his vineyard.  "It hides a treasure of buried gold."

"Gold?" gasped the youngest son.

"Oh, yes, my son," replied the father. "There is so much gold to be found here.  If you just follow my rule, you'll all grow up to be rich young men."

"But, what is the rule, Father?" asked the oldest son.

"It's very simple, my boy," answered the father.  "You must work hard.  If you want to find the buried gold in this field, and in the fields beyond this one, you must work hard.  If you are lazy, you will never find the golden treasure."

And with that bit of advice, the break was over.  Father and sons continued their long day of work in the vineyard.  Every time the soil was turned, every time a weed was pulled, all three boys looked for even the smallest nugget of gold.  No gold was found that day.  And, yes, the boys let their father know about it on their walk home that evening.

"Trust me, my boys, there is a golden treasure for you in that field," promised the father.  "Just remember my rule and you will find it."

There was no gold the second day, or the third day!  But, the boys tended to the vineyard as their father instructed them.  They weeded and watered the vines. There was so much work to do, and it had to be done, at least until they found that buried treasure!

The hard work was not in vain.  The harvest that year was bountiful, and eventually the family bought the neighboring field, and then another one.  And in time, even more fields!

The little boys grew into young men and had children of their own.  Their family farm expanded as well.  As far as the eye could see, they had glistening fields of golden wheat and vineyards bursting with grapes for the harvest.  For you see, their father trained his sons well.  They understood the importance of hard work. And, all that hard work changed their lives.

Eventually, their father spent most of his days entertaining grandchildren.  One day, he and one of the little ones wandered towards the vineyard where the sons were working.  The youngest son smiled.  "I was about that age when our father told us about that buried treasure in the field."

"Yes, and we never did find any of that gold," added the second son.  "Not even one nugget!"

"Brothers, you missed the whole point," replied the oldest brother.  "The gold wasn't nearly as important as the golden rule.  Father wanted us to work hard. Remember, he said we'd never find the treasure if we didn't work hard."

"Well, we all worked hard," added the second brother.

"And, look at all we now own," said the oldest son.  "Look at how all that hard work has changed our lives.  Father's golden rule made all that possible."

All three young men smiled at their father as he approached.  "It appears I've interrupted some interesting conversation," said the grandfather.

"We were just talking about old times," said the youngest son as he took his own son by the hand.  He led the boy away whispering, "I was just about your age when grandfather first told me about gold in these fields."

"Gold?" gasped the little boy.

"Oh, yes," replied the youngest son, "but you first have to understand Grandfather's golden rule."