Shaydoola was tired of working every day. ‘How happy I would be if I didn’t have to slave away in the fields from dawn to dusk, sweating in the summer, freezing in the winter, all for just a few miserable coins!’ he would say to himself, and to anyone else who would listen. ‘I want to be rich so I never have to work again. Then I’ll be able to sit in the shade and eat and drink while I watch other people working!’
One day, he decided he would go to the forest to find the wise man who lived there and ask him if his luck would ever change and if he would ever become rich. He hadn’t gone very far before he met a scrawny-looking wolf lying by the side of the path. ‘Where are you going?’ asked the wolf.
‘I’m going to find the Wise Man of the Forest to ask him if I’ll ever become rich. I’m sick and tired of working all the time.’
‘If you find the Wise Man of the Forest, would you ask him why I am so weak and miserable? I used to have lots of energy, but now my fur is falling out and my body is getting thinner every day. Soon I won’t be able to stand up.’
‘Yes, I’ll ask him,’ replied Shaydoola, as he went on his way.
A little further along Shaydoola came upon an apple-tree, but even though it was summer time there were no apples on the tree. ‘Where are you going?’ asked the tree.
‘I’m going to find the Wise Man of the Forest, to ask him if I’ll ever be rich. I don’t want to work, I just want to enjoy myself,’ said Shaydoola.
‘If you find him, will you please ask him why I don’t seem to be able to produce any apples? There used to be lots of apples on my branches but for a few years not even a single one has appeared.’
‘Yes, I’ll ask him,’ replied Shaydoola, as he hurried on.
Nearing the end of his journey, Shaydoola came to a river, and he had no alternative but to swim across. Half way over, a big fish approached him. ‘Where are you going?’ it croaked in a barely audible voice.
‘I’m going to find the Wise Man of the Forest, to ask him if I’ll ever be rich. I want to live in a big house with lots of servants!’
‘If you find him, will you ask him why I can’t speak properly?’ asked the fish. ‘I used to be able to talk to all the travellers as they swam across the river, but now my voice is very faint and my throat hurts when I talk.’
‘I’ll see what I can do,’ replied Shaydoola as he pulled himself out of the water and on to the river bank.
It wasn’t long before he came to a clearing in the forest where the wise man lived. ‘Why have you come to see me, Shaydoola?’ asked the Wise Man of the Forest.
Shaydoola was so amazed that the wise man knew his name, and so nervous to be in the presence of such an important person, that he shouted out all his questions at once: ‘I want to know when I’ll become rich. The fish wants to know what’s wrong with his throat. The apple tree wants to know why it hasn’t any apples, and the wolf wants to know why she is so weak and thin!’
‘Tell the fish that there is a huge diamond stuck in its throat. It needs someone to reach inside and pull it out; then the fish will be able to talk without any pain. Someone has buried a treasure chest underneath the apple-tree and this is interfering with the tree’s roots. If someone were to dig the treasure up the tree would start producing apples again. And if the wolf were to eat the next lazy fool who passes by she would start to regain her strength,’ said the Wise Man of the Forest.
‘What about me?’ asked Shaydoola. ‘When will my life change?’
‘Go on your way Shaydoola. What must be must be!’ replied the Wise Man of the Forest enigmatically.
Excited by the wise man’s promise, Shaydoola set off eagerly for home. While he was swimming over the river he spotted the fish and called out, ‘The wise man says that there’s a big diamond stuck in your throat. Just get someone to reach in and pull it out and then you’ll be fine. Got to hurry. Can’t stop!’
Rushing past the apple-tree, he shouted: ‘There’s a chest of treasure buried under you. If you can persuade someone to dig it up, your branches will start to produce apples again. Bye!’
Eventually he came to the miserable looking wolf. ‘Did you ask the Wise Man of the Forest about me?’ she asked.
‘Yes I did,’ replied Shaydoola. ‘He said that you had to eat the next lazy fool who comes along and then you’ll start to become strong again,’ said Shaydoola. Mustering all her remaining strength, the wolf did as he had been advised and she gobbled up Shaydoola.
And so indeed, it was just as the Wise Man of the Forest had said. What must be must be.