The boy had just lost a family member, was continuously bullied and felt like giving up. Once he approached the wise old man he said, “I have come to seek advice. I’m tormented by dark feelings of worthlessness and no longer wish to live. Everyone tells me that I’m a failure and a fool. I beg of you, Master, please help me! Please help free me from the dungeon that is my mind!”
The wise old man glanced up from his wood work and looked at the boy. “Forgive me, child, but I’m very busy right now and can’t help you.” The old man stands and begins to walk away, “There is an urgent matter that I might attend to.” And with that, the old man stops in his tracks and looks back over at the boy. “But if you agree to help me, I will return the favor and help you in any way I can.”
The boy’s eyes are filled with disappointment. Yet again his concerns and needs have been dismissed as being unimportant. This feels like a pattern in his life, but he needs the help of the old man so he replies, “O-Of course, Master! I’d love to help you. Please, let me help you…”
“Good,” the old man replied while taking off a small ring with a flawless shimmering gem from his ring finger. “Take my horse, child, and go to the market. I need to sell this ring in order to pay off a debt so be sure to get a decent price for it,” the man continues. “Whatever you do, do not sell this ring for anything less than one gold coin.
The boy nods and takes the ring from the palm of the man’s hand.
The man exclaims, “Go now, and come back as soon as you can!”
The boy gallops off and within thirty minutes he arrived at market square. He traveled from one trader to the next because though the traders showed initial interest, the moment they heard that the boy is looking to only exchange for gold, they lost interest. Some of the traders laughed in the boy’s face while others simply turned away cold.
The boy’s heart sank and once again, he was in despair. The elder merchant looked at the youth and softly said, “A gold coin is much too high of a price for a ring like this. Perhaps you can sell for copper or even possibly silver?”
The youth shook his head and immediately became upset. I can’t…I can’t do this, he thought to himself, remembering that the wise man’s instructions were to not accept anything less than gold. Having passed through the entire market which consisted of hundreds of merchants, the boy decided to saddle the horse and set off.
Depressed and ashamed of failing, he returned to the wise old man. Upon his arrival the boy looked to his feet and said, “Master, I was unable to carry out your request,” he continued. “At best, I would have been able to get a couple silver coins, but you told me to not agree to anything less than gold.”
There’s a pause between the two before the boy continues, “I tried! Really, I did, but they told me the ring isn’t worth much.”
“That’s a very important point, now isn’t it, my boy?” the man responded. “Before trying to sell a ring—or anything for that matter—it wouldn’t be a bad idea to determine what kind of value it holds,” he continues. “And who can do that better than a jeweler? Ride over there at once and find out what this ring is worth. And remember, don’t sell it to him, no matter what he offers. I only want to know what it’s worth. That’s all.”
The young man once more leapt up on to the horse and set off to see the jeweler. Once there, the jeweler worse glasses made of magnifying glasses and stared at the ring for quite some time. After spending time inspecting the jewelry, he weighed the ring on a set of tiny scales and then turned to the youth and said, “Tell your master that I can’t give him more than 58 gold coins but if he gives me some time, I’ll buy the ring for 70 gol—“
“—70 gold coins?!” the boy exclaims, interrupting loudly. Now, the boy can’t help but laugh and thanks the jeweler for his time, rushing back to the wise old man as fast as he possibly could.
Once the boy reaches the old man, the man sits on a nearby stoop with a smirk on his face. The boy looks at him curiously…
“Remember, my boy,” the old man starts in, “that you are like this ring. You are precious and unique. Only a real expert can appreciate your true value, so why even bother wasting your time wandering through the market and heeding the opinion of an old fool.”
The boys mouth is now agape and it all suddenly makes sense.
He’s unique—just like you—and should cherish himself for how truly amazing and beautiful he really is.
’70 gold coins?!’ exclaimed the youth. He laughed, thanked the jeweler and rushed back at full speed to the wise man. When the latter heard the story from the now animated youth, he told him: ’Remember, my boy, that you are like this ring. Precious, and unique! And only a real expert can appreciate your true value. So why are you wasting your time wandering through the market and heeding the opinion of any old fool?’