A Man Without Avarice
In the Halls of the Immortals, where the virtuous and brave dwell after their time spent on the mortal coil was done, there was great consternation. There were no more recruits from Earth, not in the last hundred years.
A conclave was called and the situation on the Earth was viewed, and reviewed. The problem was immediately apparent; greed and materialism had taken hold in every part of the globe. Nobody did anything anymore unless it produced material gain for themselves or, blocked their competitor from attaining an advantage.
One would assume that all this preoccupation with wealth would lead to a cornucopia of abundance, however quite the opposite was true. People, afraid of theft or jealousy, hid their possessions while the rest of the populace lived in abject poverty. Those who could not contribute to the economic engine or whose lives could not be gainfully exploited were cast aside with no further consideration. They were of no value, and therefore of no concern.
The Immortals, however, could not believe that humanity had deteriorated so far and chose to believe there was some semblance of virtue still in existence. Surely there was someone on Earth who had not been tainted by the rot of materialism. Keeping alight this hope they resolved to send an emissary to the mortal realm to find this exceptional being, and they commissioned a discerning member Briannhon, who could turn base rock into fine gold nuggets with his touch.
Dispatched to the Earthly realm, Briannhon wandered the four corners of the globe, repeatedly using the same method to test those candidates who seemed most likely to rise above their base instincts.
Presented with a likely applicant, the Immortal tested him. He would first turn a small pebble into a large gold nugget and offer it to him.
Most people quickly picked up the nugget and walked away. If they were a bit wealthier they examined the nugget then pocketed it and asked for more. For those who held out for more, Briannhon then took a larger rock and turned that one into an even larger ingot of gold.
The greed however was never satiated, they still asked for more and when, being disappointed in them, he did not deliver, they shrugged and went away with curses on their lips.
Briannhon continued testing person after person, growing more disillusioned as time wore on.
Finally he reached a small village on the edge of human habitation but even there, far removed from cultural influences, they still exhibited the same greedy and materialistic traits.
Then one day he heard of a person who was commonly regarded as living totally outside of the norms of society, a man who had no regard for anyone or anything in the village. His mother had shown up one night out of nowhere, gave him birth, and then summarily died. Poor peasant looking to train him as a goat herder took him in and let him live and be nursed in the goat shed. When the orphan showed no promise the peasant cut his losses and cast him into the streets to fend for himself. But with his will to survive, he persisted, endured untold hardships and humiliation, often eating the garbage people tossed at him for amusement’s sake. As he had never been given a name, people called him “The Idiot”.
The Idiot was sifting through the latest deposit of waste at the garbage dump on the edge of the village. Briannon called out to The Idiot and summarily elucidated his objective of finding the right kind of person and after a test for which he would be empowered to make this worthy individual rich beyond imaginings.
“Are you interested? “, he then asked.
The Idiot had listened intently but pretended not to care.
When the Immortal turned a pebble into a golden nugget as a demonstration, The Idiot appeared to be unimpressed and continued in his search through the rubbish.
Surprised, Briannon turned a larger stone into a fine golden ingot as an enticement. The Idiot turned his head to see, then turned it right back again quite uninterested.
Briannon was encouraged to see this response.
Finally the Immortal turned the entire heap of trash surrounding them into fine minted ingots of gold, piled up one on top of another but all his efforts earned him was another scowl from The Idiot.