There was a poor farmer who found a fortune on his land – a hoard of gold coins. He could tell that the money had been left there long ago, perhaps by someone who was now dead.
Afraid, but excited, he told his wife.
They kept the fortune a secret, leaving it where it was, but in the weeks and months that followed they grew in confidence that it would never be reclaimed. They began planning their future: a bigger farmhouse; scores of labourers and servants. Soon they would have a life of luxury and ease.
But one day, the farmer discovered that the coins had gone – all except one, perhaps dropped in haste. He showed it to his wife and they wept for their lost dreams.
They used the coin to buy their little daughter a pony. She spent hours each day riding over hills and through lush meadows. The pony carried her wherever she wanted to go, and always with great patience and care. For her part, she looked after her only friend with a diligence that was remarkable in one so young. The two became inseparable.
Watching them, the farmer’s wife said: “Would we have loved our servants as much? Would they have loved us?”
“No,” said the farmer, smiling at her insight. “We never planned for that.”