The Fence of Laurels
There once was a very rich man, Sir Laurels, who owned much land. Upon this land he had a great house with many servants. People envied him for his wealth and powerful status in society. He worked hard to accomplish his riches. His bountiful life was not handed to him because of who he was in life. He earned his way honestly. Having accomplished great things and acquired great wealth, he felt restless. He felt restless because he had reached the stars and there was no where else to reach towards.
One day, he decided he needed a fence around his property. A stone fence would make his property worth more and also it would make it very attractive. He hired laborers to build the fence. Realizing that they would work better if he paid them handsomely, he did. He was not stingy with this wealth. A good day’s work deserved a good day’s wages, he felt. Pay a man little and little he will work, but pay a man rightly and he will work accordingly. So, he thought.
Soon the stone fence began to be built around his property. The foreman he hired gave reports of the progress on the fence each day. Sometimes, Sir Laurel would ride among the workers to see his fence. He admired the fence and complimented his foreman for doing a great job. He then returned to his great house and boasted of how hard they were working on his stone fence. He became proud of his fence even though it was costing him a small fortune. After all, he did have a great amount of land.
Friends and family visited from time to time and all he spoke about was his fantastic fence. People began to murmur about it throughout the villages. Some wondered where they were getting so much stone for building a fence of that size. Some felt he should be saving his money or working to gain more wealth rather than squandering it on a silly fence. He refused to listen to them. He thought often of his accomplishments and gains in life and felt very strongly about this fence to make his property appear even greater.
After a long time, the foreman came to tell him the fence was nearing completion. He was so excited that he had to go see it at once. He rode his best stallion to the edge of his property to see his fence. When he arrived, the fence was more than he had ever hoped for in grandeur and beauty. He proudly sat upon his horse admiring it.
“You have done well, my good man!” Sir Laurel told his foreman.
“Thank you. I am pleased you like it,” the foreman replied.
“Tell me something, though. It has been asked of me about where you have found so much stone to build a fence so wonderful. Would you tell me where you have been getting the stone to build my fence?” Sir Laurel asked the foreman.
“I am not sure, actually, where the men have been getting the stone. I check their progress from time to time and all looks well. They are very hard workers, indeed,” he said proudly.
“Yes, they are at that. But, I feel I should have an answer to those who keep questioning about the source of the stone,” Sir Laurel persisted.
“Very well, we can asked one of the workers,” the foreman answered.
“You there! Tell us where you have gotten the stone for building this fence,” yelled the foreman at one of the workers.
“From that man there,” he replied while pointing to a man further down the fence line.
Sir Laurel and the foreman rode towards the man pointed out. Again, he asked the question. And again he received the same answer indicating a man further down the fence line. After several inquiries and finally arriving to the end of the workers, they needed not to ask further. They discovered where the men were getting the stones to build the fence.
They sat silently on their horses watching as men removed stones from the end of the fence and carried them to the next worker to be transported to the construction of the other end of the fence. They worked diligently and hard, but what were they accomplishing? No new stones were being added to the fence. Only the old stones were being moved about to appear as new stones on the fence. Sir Laurel sat upon his Fence of Laurels and wept.