The story 'Shepherd's Treasure' is a famous Iranian folk tale. The story highlights good virtues, like wisdom, integrity, and humility. An Iranian shepherd is the protagonist of the story. This story is woven around the shepherd and his virtues. The shepherd lived in a village. He did not even have his own house due to his poor situation. Throughout his life, he remained uneducated. As there were only a few schools in his village, he did not have an option to go to school. So, as a result of it, he did not know to read and write.
Though the poor shepherd was uneducated, who did not even know how to read and write, he looked intelligent and easily approachable. The shepherd became a friendly person to the people, and so, they approach him whenever there is a problem. The shepherd understands their problems and sorrows and gives them a solution accordingly. This makes people deal with their problems with courage and common sense. This attracted many people. People came from various places to get his advice. His friendly nature and intelligence gained him more popularity. Soon his fame reached different parts of the region. At this time, the king happens to hear about the shepherd and his intelligence. He wished to meet him to test his intelligence.
The king decided to meet the shepherd. So, he started his journey towards the shepherd's place. Since the king wanted to check his intelligence, he did not reveal his identity. The king dressed as a shepherd and started to ride on a mule.
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King riding on a mule
One day, the king reached the shepherd's place. The shepherd lived in a cave since he couldn't afford a cottage of his own. When the shepherd had seen the traveller coming towards his cave, he rose to welcome him. The traveller looked tired as he was riding on his own, from a great distance. He took the traveller inside the cave and gave him water to drink. Being a poor person, the shepherd had limited food in his cave. Still, he felt happy in sharing his food with the traveller. The king was greatly moved by his friendly nature towards a stranger like him. The whole night he conversed with him and was greatly amazed by his intelligence while conversing.
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King conversing with the shepherd

The king spent a night as a traveller in the shepherd's cave and decided to leave the next morning though he felt tired. He did not reveal his identity to the shepherd; and thanked him for offering a night's shelter in his cave for a poor traveller like him. The king continued to explain the reason, as, he had a long way to travel, he requested the shepherd to allow him to leave.
The shepherd listened to his words till this time. Then, he looked directly at the eyes of his beloved traveller and replied to him, “Thank you, Your Majesty, for paying me the compliment of a visit.”
When the shepherd addressed the king as 'Majesty', the king was shocked for a while, but he was pleased with the shepherd's intelligence. The king thought to himself about the intelligence of the wise shepherd. He was impressed with the kind, humble, wise qualities of the shepherd. The king wanted people like this wise shepherd to work along with him. So, he appointed the wise shepherd as a Governor of a small district.

The shepherd was rewarded with a governor position due to the good qualities he possesses. Still, his values did not change but remained the same. This new position did not bring any change in his character. Though he gained authority, his humble quality persists inside him. The great qualities he possessed such as wisdom, sympathy, humility, and goodness were loved and honoured by all.
Additionally, the shepherd had another good quality as well. He treated everyone with equality and did not show any difference among people. Soon his good virtues, especially treating people with equality and helping them with his intelligence, had spread throughout the country.
When the fame of the humble and wise shepherd had spread among the people of the country, it affected the governors of other provinces in a negative way. The governors belonging to other provinces had grown jealous of the shepherd's fame. They started to talk badly about the poor, honest shepherd behind him. The other governors even questioned his honesty. They accused him to be saving money for himself, stealing from the tax he collects from the people. The governors pointed out an iron chest he usually carries with him always. They blamed him for having for carrying the iron chest all the time, as, it helps him to hide the treasure collected.

The governors made fun of the shepherd, and adding to the above statements, pointed out that his profession as a shepherd was responsible for his behaviour. They said a shepherd couldn't be expected to behave in a better way.
When the king happens to hear such false stories about the shepherd, narrated by the other governors, he did not listen to it during the initial days. Still, the governors did not leave the king unattended to their false stories in regard with the shepherd's honest.
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Governors complaining to the king

The king couldn't tolerate such false stories regarding the shepherd. He didn't even know how to arrive at a solution for this problem. The king, at last, decided to find out the truth. He found one thing about the shepherd. It was nothing but the iron chest that the shepherd carries with him along always. Having found this to be true, the king wanted to meet him to know about the truth behind. So, as a result of it, the king ordered the shepherd to appear for a meet in the palace.

The new governor appeared in the palace as ordered by the king. Unfortunately, he carried his iron chest even on that day behind him on the camel’s back. Everyone who blamed the shepherd for being dishonest were happy to see him coming along with his iron chest.
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Shepherd reaching the palace
While looking at the shepherd arriving with the iron chest to the palace, the king became angry. He shouted at him, asking, “Why do you always carry that iron chest with youWhat does it contain?”
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The angry king

The new governor smiled for some time. Then he asked his servant to bring in the iron chest. Since the people gathered in that place were more interested to know the hidden thing inside the iron chest, they eagerly awaited it to be unveiled. The governors who complained about the hidden treasure inside the iron chest were more curious to know the secret behind it.

When the shepherd opened the iron chest, everyone, including the king, was surprised and shocked. The reason behind this was that the iron chest did not contain any gold, silver, or jewels. Instead, there was an old blanket inside it. Now the false stories regarding the iron chest came to an end. The governors did not know how to react but felt sad and disappointed. On the other hand, the humble new governor proudly replied to the king, “This, my dear master, is my only treasure. I always carry it with me.
The king was quite surprised about the secret behind the iron chest. He wanted to know the reason behind carrying such an old blanket along with himself always, despite being a governor. So, the king raised the same question to the shepherd. The shepherd answered the king with quiet dignity. He said the blanket was his oldest friend. The shepherd carries his old blanket along, as he believes it would protect him, even if the king takes away his power. Unlike the position he holds and the beautiful cloaks he wears, the blanket is more reliable and permanent.

The king was pleased with the wise shepherd's humility and intelligence. On the other hand, the jealous governors felt ashamed of their actions against the new governor when they heard the reply. Now, everyone, including the other governors, realised the shepherd's noble qualities. Not just the king, but the governors too accepted him as a humble and wise person of the land.

It was the second time that the king rewarded the shepherd for his wisdom and humility. This time, the shepherd was appointed as the governor of a much bigger district on the same day.
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The king's reward