RICHEST GIFT

Years ago I was trekking in the Himalayas and had made the mistake of converting a large amount of cash into the local currency.

As I progressed through out the villages of the Annapurnas, it soon became apparent that the people were too poor to afford even the simplest supplies they would need to fashion local crafts.

They had nothing.

This meant that I had this ridiculous wad of cash in my pack and was a virtual walking millionaire compared to the local people.

I grew to hate the stuff and it was an embarrassment to have it in my possession amidst such need.

This led to a remarkable experience that affected me deeply and it's memory has never left me.

On this particular day I had become isolated from my fellow trekkers and found myself in a vast valley. As I made my way down, I noticed a young girl of around 13 tending some sheep. Like so many of the children of the amazing Nepalese people, she was very beautiful. I couldn't stop looking at her and she at me.

As I drew level with her she suddenly rushed over to me and, without a word, handed me a flower. Our eyes met for a tiny moment and then she ran away.

The spirit in this angelic child had responded to something she saw in me and her first thought was to find something to give. From the depths of her poverty, there was nothing she had - other than a single flower. The weight of my cash was never heavier than at this moment and I had just received one of the richest gifts I have ever had in my life.

Copyright © 2000 David Heycock