The Magic Jar


It is said that once upon a time a woodseller went to a forest from the city in order to search for fire wood. By chance that day four fairies were resting in he forest. They had placed before them a magic jar. When they needed anything such as silver, gold, meats and all kinds of food and drinks, they dipped their hands into the jar and pulled it out. They were enjoying themselves when suddenly the woodseller walked by them. They invited him to join them.

The woodseller spent several days with them forgetting all about his wife and children. A few days later he came to himself and said to them: “I am a woodseller. Unless I take back some wood and kindle a fire in my kitchen my wife and children cannot eat. I realize now that I’ve spent several days here without knowing how they are getting along. With your permission I would like to return and provide some means of livelihood for them”.

The fairies said: “Of course you may return. If you need anything that we can give you, ask for it so that we may send you back home with something you desire”.

The woodseller said: “If I ask you for anything will you give it to me?” They replied that they would.

“Then give me this jar which you have in front of you”, replied the woodseller.

The fairies stated: “There is no scarcity of jars like this for us. We can make a hundred of them in an hour. But this jar is very delicate and you may not be able to take proper care of it. A slight damage will break it, and if that should happen it can never be repaired”.

The woodseller said: “I will take the best possible care of it and will handle it with the greatest caution”.

They gave him the magic jar and the woodseller took it home with him. Through the miraculous power of the jar he acquired all kinds of household effects, assembled elegant furnishings, and began to live a life of luxury. His worldly possessions increased until his house became full of so many valuable possessions that it could barely hold them.

The woodseller was a stupid man so his wealth was quickly dissipated. In a short time he became destitute.

O Nakhshabi, do not change the mode of your existence.
What difference there is between a mountain and a mote?
Worldly riches cause many to become haughty and proud
And like Qarun their sudden wealth inspires them to gloat.

One day the woodseller gave a big banquet and invited his relatives and friends. Then he brought in the magic jar. Every time he put his hand into it he pulled out whatever he wanted. The people present were surprised and amazed.

“This is not a jar”, they said, “it is an invisible sea! This is not a vessel, it is an indubitable treasury!”

When the woodseller became intoxicated, he made an effort to dance. He put the jar on his shoulder and started to sally around. Every time he touched the jar on his shoulder he said: “O jar, you are the fountain of my wealth and the means of my magnificence. You have released me from the bonds of poverty. I owe all my affluence and splendour to you. All my happiness and joy is due to your existence”.

As he was saying these ludicrous words, his foot slipped and the jar fell from his shoulder and broke into a thousand pieces. Whatever he had accumulated by means of the magic jar disappeared. His rejoicing turned into misery and the happiness of this ill-fated man turned into sadness.