The Woodcutter of Baghdad
Long time back there lived a poor woodcutter in Baghdad who would sell wood in the market to earn his livelihood. He could barely meet even the most basic expenses of house. One day he could not find any wood in the jungle and was not able to earn even a single penny. Disappointed and dejected, he went inside a city garden and sat on the ground. “Today I am not able to earn even a single penny. How would I go to the house? The wife should be waiting for me to bring some vegetable and groceries to prepare the food. The children would be hungry. What would I tell them?” Tears started rolling down his cheeks as he sat looking in the blank sky.
He was not always poor. In fact, once he was regarded as the richest woodcutter of the area. But as he started getting richer, his lifestyle started changing. He would spend lavishly on clothes. He had different clothes for each single day of the year. Soon he started selling the goods to merchants of other countries that increased his income exponentially. As his income increased, he hired several woodcutters instead of working himself. From a woodcutter he had turned into an affluent merchant. Now he started spending more lavishly. His entire lifestyle revolved around affluence. For sleeping he had built a Bed of Gold with diamond work on the edges. If the food was not served in saucers of gold, he would refuse to eat. Even the tumbler he used for drinking water had enamel work on the outer edge.
One day when the king went to a forest for hunting, to his surprise he could not fine even a single hare to hunt. He also noticed that instead of lush greenery the jungles were almost bare with very few green trees. Stumped trees occupied rest of the area. He went back to the palace and discussed the issue with the minister. The minister told him “Your Majesty, It is because of the excessive cutting down of trees that the forests are reducing. If it continues, one day we would not have any forests left and with the forests the colorful birds and beautiful flowers will also be a thing of the past. It will also have an effect on the carbon dioxide levels.” The minister added. He also told him about hygrophyte species of plants that can absorb the water and thus prevent the flooding.
“That is alarming, minister. I do not want my kingdom to be devoid of natural beauty. Please tell me some solution.” The king asked worriedly. “There is one solution that should work. If we put a limit to the number of trees a particular woodcutter can cut down it will prevent the situation from getting worse.” “That is great, minister.” The king said. “I was even thinking of hiring some gardeners to plant and look after various trees.” “You are absolutely right.” The minister said.
The next day town crier conveyed the royal decision that each woodcutter cannot cut more than 7 trees every month. Besides, green trees could not be cut down. If anyone does not follow the rule he will be heavily fined and prisoned.
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