It is said that long ago there never existed a single desert on earth.
In the east, an old widower lived in a small distant hut with his young sons, Sam and Danni. Sam was a hard worker like his father, while Danni hated to work and wished that he lived a carefree life. However, Danni’s wish was very luxurious for a poor family like his. Each day, they had to fell trees, cut wood, and sell it in the market of a nearby town in order to live.
One morning, the aged father became terribly ill, and his sons nursed him until night fell.
“It’s time for me to join your mother,” whispered the father with a faint smile. “I raised you well until you became strong men. My last will is that you work hard to live a dignified life.”
The old man’s eyes never saw the light of the dawn because they closed forever that night.
The days of grief and mourning passed quickly, and soon the sons were debating their future as they worked as usual in the woods.
“I’m sick of this work,” complained Danni spitefully. “Why don’t we get an easier life?”
“Well, if you work harder,” replied Sam coldly, “we can sell more wood, get additional money, save it, and work in trade.”
“Really?” responded Danni. “Then you think that I’m the problem, don’t you?”
“There’s no doubt,” said Sam. “You are like the cat that wants the fish but doesn’t want to get its paws wet!”
“Oh, yes?” barked Danni angrily.
“You always think that gain can come easily without pain,” Sam continued.
“Are you going to preach more?” Danni asked impatiently.
“No,” answered Sam. “I’m tired of advising you.”
“Good,” said Danni rudely. “Anyway, tomorrow I’m leaving this nasty place to the nearby town where I can find an easier job, and you stay here until you rot in these woods.”
“I can do nothing except wishing you good luck,” replied Sam, “but I promise you that I’m not going to rot here. Instead, I’ll thrive with my toil.”
Danni shrugged his shoulders, and both continued their work.
The next day, Danni packed his few properties, bid his old brother farewell, and headed towards the town.
He started his search for a job by visiting craftsmen. In fact, all the crafts he found needed hard work. Besides, his father did not teach him any craft other than woodcutting, and learning a new craft is not easy. His first day at town did not meet his expectations and was quite disappointing.
Danni noticed that night was approaching and decided to find a dwelling. He was lucky to find an abandoned hut, which was not better than his father’s, on the border of the town. This will help him save the little money he had instead of spending it on renting someplace to lodge in. Danni was so tired from wandering in the town and slept right away like a baby.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Sam slept alone in the family hut. He was in seventh heaven when a distant noise disturbed his sleep and woke him up. He sprinted to the door of the hut and listened. A dog was barking vigorously, and an old man was calling for help.
Sam ran through the woods in the direction of the noise until he spotted two shadows, one clutched to a tree trunk and the other below it. As he drew nearer, Sam saw the terrified old man trying to climb higher to escape from the dog but with no avail because of his weakness. Sam glanced at the dog and realized that it was a rabid hound!
In an attempt to help the old man, Sam threw a stone on the hound but missed it. The hound’s attention was diverted towards Sam who stammered in horror. The hound attacked him. As it ran and jumped, Sam stepped back, stumbled, and fell on his back. The hound landed on his chest. Its eyes were sparkling with viciousness, and its mouth was dribbling. It was a manifestation of evil. The hound tried to bite Sam’s neck, but Sam grabbed it firmly from its throat with one hand and sensed the ground in search for a big stone with the other hand. When he found a suitable stone, he struck quickly and forcefully the back of the hound’s neck with it. The hound dropped dead at once on his chest. He threw it away and stood trembling after the nightmare had passed. He was bathed with his sweat mixed with the hound’s saliva.
The old man descended from the tree and walked towards Sam.
“Thank you my son,” he said gratefully.
Sam nodded as he became speechless for moments under the effect of the shock. The old man took off a strange gold bracelet with a hole from his wrist and handed it to Sam who looked reluctantly at him.
“Please, accept this special gift,” begged the aged man. “It’s one of the keys of the earth’s treasures that are granted to the finest among people.”
Sam’s face was clouded with signs of inquiry as he held the bracelet and examined it.
“This bracelet has special powers,” explained the old man. “You make a small pit in the soil, put the bracelet in it, and cover it with earth. Then you tap with your hand the soil that covers the bracelet three times before you unearth the magic bracelet and find a gold coin in its hole.”
Sam’s eyes widened with excitement.
“However,” continued the aged man, “you have the right in one coin each day. The soul of the earth is wise, and if your greed seduces you to perform this ritual another time in the same day, you’ll be doomed by a curse of sand. Now, I must go and enjoy the few days that remained from my life. Thank you again for saving me.”
“Thank you for the bracelet,” replied Sam. “I assure you that I’ll use it wisely.”
After exchanging farewells with the old man, Sam returned joyfully to the hut. He couldn’t wait for the morning to try what the aged man had taught him, so he performed the ritual at the door of the hut when he reached. When he uncovered the magic bracelet after burying it, his breath was taken by the gold coin that glistened and reflected the moonlight in his marveling face. He went to bed, and his mind was occupied with ideas.
At dawn, Sam went to the woods as usual because he decided not to make use of the magic bracelet immediately. Instead, he was determined to hide his secret from people especially his brother who ridiculed him two days ago. His plan was to work in trade but after a period of time and with a small capital; thus, people would not question his sudden wealth.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Danni found a job at a stall of a cloth merchant in the market of the town. He cleaned the stall daily and served the merchant with little return. He tried to console himself with the idea that his new job is easy and gave him a lot of free time to chat with people and relax. Yet, deep inside, he was not contended.
* * * * *
Two months passed. Sam had stacked sixty gold coins and saved a good capital for trade from woodcutting, while Danni who was an expert in spending money made a negligible saving. Sam bought with his small capital a stall of grains at the market of the town. Through wise planning, he expanded his business and then started to trade with silk. Silk is a precious commodity, and a silk merchant is well off. Therefore, it is unsuspicious if he started to bring into play the gold coins from the magic bracelet. Soon, Sam became the wealthiest merchant in town, while Danni maintained his low status and envied his old brother.
One day, Sam decided to help his young brother in establishing an independent business, so he invited him to his mansion to spend few days and arrange the business. Danni arrived at night and slept in the guest room.
At dawn, he was awake and felt someone passing by his room. He looked from the window and saw his brother disappearing between some trees in the mansion garden. He felt curious to know what his brother was going to do in the garden at that early time of the day, so he followed him. From behind a thick tree trunk, Danni watched his brother as he kneeled and took a strange gold bracelet with a hole out of his clothes. Danni was attentive. He saw Sam making a small pit, putting the bracelet in it, burying it, tapping three times with his hand on the soil that covers the bracelet, unearthing the bracelet, and…
“Oh, heavens!” Danni exclaimed in astonishment under his breath. “That’s how you became rich you crook!”
Danni’s eyes marveled with amazement as they spotted the glistening gold coin in the bracelet.
“I must have this bracelet,” he firmly assured himself.
Danni crept back to his room after he knew that Sam hid the magic bracelet in a drawer in his bedroom. Danni acted as if he had never seen anything that morning. At launch, Sam invited Danni to join him on the hunting trip he intended to make next day, and Danni agreed in order to conceal his evil intentions.
The following day, Sam did not find his brother in the guest room nor anywhere else in the mansion. So, he went to look for him in the garden. Danni was hiding behind some bushes. When he saw his brother approaching, Danni put his finger in his throat and started to make weird sounds until he threw up. Then he got up to see Sam.
“You see, brother, I’m very ill,” Danni began. “I think it’s better for me to stay here and rest.”
“Yes, I think so,” agreed Sam.
“Enjoy your hunting trip,” said Danni.
“Thank you,” replied Sam. “I wish you fast recovery.”
Sam left the mansion, and Danni lied in his bed waiting for the appropriate moment to steal the bracelet. He left his door slightly opened and watched. When Sam’s wife and servants were out of sight, he sneaked to Sam’s room, fetched the bracelet, hid it in his clothes, and managed to run out the mansion without anyone seeing him. He rode his horse for days and nights until he reached a foreign country where he was safe from his brother’s pursuit.
Danni had spent all his money during his journey. He needed money and was excited to try the magic bracelet and start the carefree life he always had dreamt about. He descended from his horse, knelt, and performed the ritual he saw his brother carrying out that day. It worked! He wanted to stack as much gold coins as he can carry. He repeated the ritual for a second time unaware of the curse of sand. He unearthed the magic bracelet impatiently, and suddenly…
“Oh, no!” he shouted in terror.
The pit became a spring of sand which flowed like a river. Danni did not have the chance to mount his horse because the surge of sand was great enough to bury him, his horse, the magic bracelet, and the only gold coin he got in moments. The flood of sand continued as tons of sand streamed from the pit forming gigantic mountains. The wind carried the sand and distributed it on the globe over years giving birth to deserts.
* * * * *
When he returned from his hunting trip, Sam knew that his brother had stolen his magic bracelet and run away. He felt the bitterness of betrayal, yet he was afraid on his young brother from the curse of sand. After few days, a sand storm reached the town where Danni had worked once. People had never seen something like that before, but Sam understood that he would not see his brother again. Danni was not the only greedy man that came to the world neither in his time nor all times. The wise soul of earth knew this and cursed the greed of man forever.