The farmer’s patient care and toil
Are oftener wanting than the soil.
A wealthy ploughman drawing near his end,
Call’d in his sons apart from every friend,
And said, “When of your sire bereft,
The heritage our fathers left
Guard well, nor sell a single field.
A treasure in it is conceal’d:
The place, precisely, I don’t know,
But industry will serve to show.
The harvest past, Time’s forelock take,
And search with plough, and spade, and rake;
Turn over every inch of sod,
Nor leave unsearch’d a single clod.”
The father died. The sons—and not in vain—
Turn’d o’er the soil, and o’er again;
That year their acres bore
More grain than e’er before.
Though hidden money found they none,
Yet had their father wisely done,
To show by such a measure,
That toil itself is treasure.
The Ploughman and His Sons – Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables – Book 5