He told his wondering listeners how in the beginning the solid earth on which they lived was not solid at all, but a mere bank of fog. “The Great Spirit,” said he, “thrust his finger into the bank of fog and began slowly describing a circle in its midst, increasing the speed gradually until the fog went whirling round his finger so rapidly that it was transformed into a glowing ball of fire. Then the Creative Spirit hurled the fiery ball from his hand, and it shot through the universe, burning its way through other banks of fog and condensing them into rain, which fell in great floods, cooling the surface of the immense ball. Flames then bursting from the interior through the cooled outer crust, threw up the hills and mountain ranges, and made the beautiful fertile valleys. In the flood of rain that followed this fiery upheaval, the substance that cooled very quickly formed granite, that which cooled less rapidly became copper, the next in degree cooled down into silver, and the last became gold. But the most beautiful substance of all, the diamond, was formed by the first beams of sunlight condensed on the earth’s surface.
“A drop of sunlight the size of my thumb,” said the priest, holding up his hand, “is worth more than mines of gold. With one such drop,” he continued, turning to Ali Hafed, “you could buy many farms like yours; with a handful you could buy a province, and with a mine of diamonds you could purchase a whole kingdom.”
The company parted for the night, and Ali Hafed went to bed, but not to sleep. All night long he tossed restlessly from side to side, thinking, planning, scheming how he could secure some diamonds. The demon of discontent had entered his soul, and the blessings and advantages which he possessed in such abundance seemed as by some malicious magic to have utterly vanished. Although his wife and children loved him as before; although his farm, his orchards, his flocks, and herds were as real and prosperous as they had ever been, yet the last words of the priest, which kept ringing in his ears, turned his content into vague longings and blinded him to all that had hitherto made him happy.
Before dawn next morning the farmer, full of his purpose, was astir. Rousing the priest, he eagerly inquired if he could direct him to a mine of diamonds.
“A mine of diamonds!” echoed the astonished priest. “What do you, who already have so much to be grateful for, want with diamonds?”
“I wish to be rich and place my children on thrones.”
“All you have to do, then,” said the Buddhist, “is to go and search until you find them.”
“But where shall I go?” questioned the infatuated man.
“Go anywhere,” was the vague reply; “north, south, east, or west, —anywhere.”
“But how shall I know the place?” asked the farmer.
“When you find a river running over white sands between high mountain ranges, in these white sands you will find diamonds. There are many such rivers and many mines of diamonds waiting to be discovered. All you have to do is to start out and go somewhere—” and he waved his hand—“away, away!”