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An ancient legend told about a monk who found a precious stone, a precious jewel, in fact, and then quietly kept it in his bag. A short time later, however, he met a traveler, who said he was hungry and asked the monk if he would share some of the provisions. When the monk opened his bag, the traveler saw the precious stone and, on an impulse, asked the monk if he could have it. Amazingly, without much thought, the monk gave the traveler the stone.


The traveler departed quickly, overjoyed with his new possession. However, a few days later, he came searching for the monk again. (The monk was, of course, was both curious to see the traveler again, wondering what might have happened to the precious jewel, and frowning at what else the traveler would want.) Surprisingly, the traveler returned the stone to the monk and asked for something else. The monk gasped and shook his head in disbelief. What else would he have that the traveler would be interested to have? Finally the traveler said, "Please give me that which enabled you to give me this precious stone!" (James W. Moore, Some Things Are Too Good Not to Be True, Dimensions, 1994, p. 101)

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