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The Magic Moneybag

Published January 15, 2007
Countries: None
Age Levels: 9 and up

Many years ago, a man and his wife lived in a small thatched hut on a very small piece of land.  They were poor and barely had enough to live.  Every day they both went into the woods together to cut two bundles of firewood.  They kept one burn for cooking and for heating their small home.  They carried the other on their backs to the market to sell in order to buy other things they needed to live.

One day they came back from the woods carrying firewood as usual.  They put one bundle in the kitchen and the second outside.  But, the next morning, the wood outside was gone.

They had to sell the wood they had kept for themselves.  This meant they had no wood to heat their home that night and no wood to cook with.

The next day they again cut two bundles of firewood. But, again found the bundle of wood outside had disappeared.  This happened each day for four days in a row.

The husband got an idea.  On the fifth day, he hollowed out the bundle of wood and climbed inside.  He was determined to find out who or what was takling his firewood.  About midnight, a rope came down from the sky and attached itself to the bundle of wood and lifted it into the sky with the woodcutter still inside it.

When the bundle of wood quit moving, the old man climbed out of the bundle to find himself up in the clouds.  There he saw a white haired old man coming towards him.  The white haired man untied the bundle of wood and was surprised to see the man inside.  The old man asked, "Other people only cut one bundle of wood each day.  Why do you cut two?"

"The woodcutter explained, "My wife and I are very poor.  We cut one bundle to sell and the other to heat our home and cook our food."

The old man laughed and said, "I already knew the answer.  I have been watching you from here in the clouds for a long time.  You are kind to people and animals.  You treat everyone with love and kindness, and you work hard to live.  Because you are such a good couple, I will give you a special treasure - a magic moneybag."

Then the white haired man man picked up a bag and handed it to the husband.  Every day, you can take one silver coin from the bag.  The coin will be enough for your needs, and you will have a little left over to put buy bigger things you want over time.  Take no more than one coin each day, and good fortune will be yours for years to come.

The man took the bag and turned it inside out, but there was no money in it.  Still, he thanked the old man and walked back to the rope that brought him to the clouds.  He took hold of the rope, and the white haired man lowered him back to the ground.

Once home, he gave the moneybag to his wife and told her the story.  She was very excited.  She put her hand in the empty bag and pulled out a silver coin.  The coin was enough to buy what they needed to live and have a little left over.  Between the money from the bag and the money from the sale of the wood, they began to save money and think about what they wanted to spend it on.  

Days went by, and the couple's savings grew.  Each day, the husband became more impatient.  "Let's buy an ox," he suggested.  The wife didn't agree. 

A few days later, the he suggested, "How about buying a few acres of land?"  His wife didn't agree with that either.

A few days later, he said let's build a new house.  While the wife wanted to save longer and have enough before buying anything new, she agreed to building a house that was a little larger than the thatched hut they lived in.  But, the husband insisted on building a large brick house.  All he could think about was spending all the money they had saved.  After all, he thought, there will be more money later.

No matter how she tried, the wife could not convince her husband to save for the future, and she went along with his wishes. 

He spent money on bricks, tiles and timber.  Then he hired workers and decided to stay home and supervise the work.  He no longer went into the woods to cut wood to sell.  Building the brick house was very expensive, and the work went slowly.  The savings began to disappear rapidly.

The husband wanted everything NOW - not later.  He didn't understand why he only could take one coin out of the bag every day.  Without telling his wife, he took the bag and reached his hand inside.  He took out a second coin, then a third, then a fourth.  He had totally disobeyed the warning given to him by the white haired man.

He reached in a fifth time and pulled out an empty hand.  Not only that, but the coins in front of him disappeared.  What's more, the brick house he was building also disappeared.  He found himself standing once again in his small thatch hut.  His greed had caused him to lose everything.

The husband felt very sad, especially when he had to explain what happened to his wife.  But, she still loved him and suggested they go to the mountain to cut firewood as we did before.  It's better to depend on hard work to earn a living instead of miracles."


Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 3000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs.