There was once a very kind hearted gardener who worked all day long in his garden and he gave all the money he earned to the poor. The gardener spent a long time in this way and God helped him in everything for his kindness.
But one day the devil came to the gardener and started to tempt him:`Why do you give all your money to the poor and don`t save any of them for later? You will grow old too. And what will you do if a disease comes over you?
At the beginning the gardener didn`t take into account all those words because he knew God helped him in everything. But as the days went by and thinking more and more about those words he decided to save a coin for later.
After not so long he hid another golden coin. And he went on until he filled a jar with golden coins and he buried it in the garden.
Nobody understood what happened with him. All of them noticed that he had changed very much.
The poor who before used to come and got from him the vegetables from the garden now were sent away in anger. The gardener sold all his merchandise at the market and he hid his money in the jar.
Seeing the stinginess which possessed the gardener, God turned His face from him and didn`t help him anymore. And one day working in the garden and thinking about the jar filled with money the gardener stepped in a rake and hurt his leg to the bone.
He called many doctors but with no avail cause his leg was more and more swollen and began to decay.
He spent in this way all his money from the jar with the doctors
Remaining still sick and penniless decided to call one more doctor and for the last coin he had to ask him to cut his leg. During night the gardener fell to sleep sad and in his dreamed showed up an angel of God and told him: `Where is your money, gardener? Why don`t you get back healthy with its help as you hoped? Know from now on that money is of no great avail and the merciful man has God as his helper. I was sent to you to help you cause God remembered the time when you shared your fortune with the poor and you were kind with everyone. The angel touched the leg of the gardener and he recovered his health.
When the doctor came in the morning he found the gardener working in his garden. Everyone marveled at what happened but especially the poor were glad that he had recovered. From day on the gardener began to be again merciful as before and everything he earned he shared to the poor.
Excerpt from Little Patericon. Retold and illustrated for children by father Savatie Baștovoi, Cathisma Publishing House.