Exchanging Turquoise for Happiness
Dangphu Dingphu there lived an old man called Meme Haylay
Haylay in a village in Bhutan. One day Meme Haylay was digging a
meadow when he found a large round yu, a turquoise. He stopped
digging and went home, carrying the stone.
On the way, he met a man with a horse who asked him, “Where are
you going, Meme Haylay?”
The old man replied, “Meme’s fortune is burning today. As I was
digging a meadow, I found this turquoise.” Before the horseman could
even see the jewel, Meme Haylay proposed, “Will you exchange your
horse with the stone?”
The horseman was speechless, for who in the world would barter a
turquoise with a horse? Meme Haylay put down his basket and
showed the jewel. The horseman was only happy for the poor old
“Will you exchange your horse with it?” Meme Haylay asked again.
“Don’t joke, Meme Haylay! Your yu is priceless, whereas my horse
“Priceless or worthless, you talk too much. If you’re for the trade,
take this stone and hand over the horse’s rope to me,” Meme Haylay
said, looking stern.
The horseman lost no time in passing the rope to Meme Haylay and
went his way with the stone. He felt like the happiest man in the
world. Meme Haylay went his way, also feeling happy. In fact, he felt
happier than the horseman.
On the way, he met a man with an ox and exchanged the horse with
the ox. He then bartered the ox with a sheep, only to exchange the
sheep with a goat. He took the goat until he traded it with a rooster.
In every transaction, Meme Haylay thought he was better off, while all
his barter partners considered him a fool.
As he went home, carrying the rooster under his left arm, he heard
a song from some distance. The closer the music came, the more
joyous he became. Tears of happiness welled Meme Haylay’s eyes as
“I feel so happy from merely hearing the song. How happier I
would feel if I knew how to sing it myself,” he thought.
Suddenly he came face to face with the singer himself.
The song man asked, “Where are you going?”
The old man smiled. “Today, Meme’s fortune is burning. As I was
digging a meadow, I found a turquoise. I exchanged it for a horse, the
horse for an ox, the ox for a sheep, the sheep for a goat, and the goat
for this rooster. Take this rooster and teach me how to sing.”
The song man did not believe his ears. He thought it was unlikely
for a poor man to find a turquoise. Only the richest, powerful,
meritorious, or luckiest persons would ever find such jewels. And, he
thought, supposing this poor old man was lucky, even a fool would not
exchange it for a horse, the horse for an ox, the ox for a sheep, the
sheep for a goat, and the goat for a rooster. One mistake would have
served a lesson even to a fool person.
However, the song man was finally convinced that Meme Haylay
was serious about his trade. So he taught him his song. After parting
with his rooster and the song man, Meme Haylay went home singing
the song. Meme Haylay Haylay felt he was the happiest person in the
world, the richest person in the world, and the most successful trader
in the world.