Willy, the merchant, had crossed the ocean and had arrived in a far away continent, where he had succeeded to make a small fortune by hard work and his own personal ability. When, a few years later, he returned home to his own country, he found on arriving at the port that all his relatives were at a nearby villa where there was a large party.
He was in such a happy mood and in the joy of the moment, he did not even bother changing his grey flannel suit which had become a little worn during the trip home.
When he entered the brilliantly lit room his relatives and friends gave him a rather cold welcome because they had noticed his modest suit and immediately imagined that he had come back a poor man.
A young Negro who happened to be accompanying him was very irritated at this and said to Willy: "What a wonderful reception you have received from these people. They have not even the decency to shake your hand after all these years that you have been away from home."
"Just wait and see!" whispered Willy, "they will soon change their looks!" Saying this he slipped a precious ring on his finger. All of a sudden the faces of all those present lit up and immediately Willy was surrounded by so many people that he didn't know what to do. A man shook his hand, a cousin threw his arms around him, and he had so many invitations from the people present that he thought that he would be unable to make any other appointments for several years.
"Has this beautiful, precious ring of yours the power of enchanting people?" asked the Negro.
"Oh, no!" replied Willy, "they se in this glittering ring something that makes them think I am rich, and, unfortunately, they place wealth above everything else."
"What blind people!" exclaimed the Negro. "It is not the ring that has drawn you to them but their desire for riches. Is it possible to appreciate more a piece of yellow metal surrounded by little stones than the goodness of my Lord?... And indeed how foolish are people who place their trust in riches rather than in virtues!"
Oh, let us still the secret joy partake,
To follow virtue for virtue's sake.