“Excuse me, sir,” he said hesitantly.
The old man lifted his eyes. Timidly, with a courteous bow and a voice of desperation, the young man said, “I have come seeing your help … sir.” After a short pause, he continued, “I have dreams that I believe I can achieve, but no one thinks I have the ability to reach them. People see little value in me.”
The old man continued his reading. After a while, he said, “Before I can give you any counsel, I need your help. Are you willing?”
Somewhat disappointed for having his own needs ignored, the young man nevertheless responded, “I will try, sir.”
The wise man stood up. Stretching himself a bit, he said, “I may need to pay a large debt in the future, for which I will need money. Here is my gold ring. Take it to the market and find out how much I can get for it, but don’t settle for anything less than five gold coins. There is my horse. Go!”
The young man held onto the ring tightly and upon reaching the market place, went from stall to stall, offering it in exchange for cash. The fruit seller ignored him. The clothes merchant told him that he was not interested. The farmer selling chickens continued to bargain with a customer and waved him away.
Finally, the young man reached the pig seller’s stall. After examining the ring for a while in his dirty hand, he said with a covetous smirk, “Tell the owner that I man be willing to give him five bronze coins for this.”
“I fulfilled your assignment, sir,” said the young man upon his return. “No one in the market is willing to give five gold coins for your beautiful ring.”
“That’s fine,” responded the wise man. Now we know how little the market people value this ring. Go to the jeweler in town and show it to him.”
When the jeweler saw the gold ring, he quickly stood up and used a silk handkerchief to hold it carefully. Bring it under a lamp, he examined it in detail with a magnifying glass. “A masterpiece,” he said softly. “If the owner if the ring is in hurry, I will buy it for 10 gold coins myself. But if he gives me time to bring out all its beauty, I shall find a wealthy customer willing to pay at least 20 gold coins for it.”
The wise man listened attentively to the report the happy young man brought back and then told him, “Don’t let the ignorant tell you the value of something they know nothing about. Listen only to the appraisal of the skilled specialist, the one who can recognize the true value of a master artist’s work.”
And with a smile, the wise man placed the golden ring back on his finger and waved the young man good-bye.