A wealthy nobleman was once touring his estate and came upon a peasant pitching hay. The nobleman was fascinated by the sight: flowing motions of the peasant’s arms and shoulders and the graceful sweep of the pitchfork through the air. He so greatly enjoyed the spectacle that he struck a deal with the peasant: he would give him a gold coin every day if the peasant agreed to come to the mansion and display his hay-pitching technique in the nobleman’s drawing room.
The next day, the peasant arrived at the mansion, hardly concealing his glee at his new line of “work.” After swinging his empty pitchfork for an hour, he collected his gold coin—many times his usual reward for a week of backbreaking labor. But by the following day, his enthusiasm had somewhat waned. Before the week was out, he announced that he was quitting his commission.
“I don’t understand,” puzzled the nobleman. “Why would you rather swing heavy loads outdoors in the winter cold and the summer heat, when you can perform an effortless task in the comfort of my home and earn many times your usual wages?”
“But master,” said the man, “I’m not doing anything…”
By Yanki Tauber