One rich man had a fine blooded stallion. Another had a pure black bull that was almost man-high at the shoulders. Another a sleek prize coursing dog, another a leopard, another a storied falcon. But the richest man of all had none of these things. What he showed off to guests was a swampy, shallow inlet laid out in rows of oysters. They were mud-colored and of no great size.

The visitor tried to put it tactfully. “If one may ask, the oysters, ah, perhaps they are good eating?”

The host smiled. “Wait a bit, the tide is starting to come in.” As the new water eddied into the inlet, the shells cracked up and open just a little and the stooping, peering visitor was startled. “There’s something white in there!”

“Yes,” the host said. “Pearls.”

You are of no particular worth or merit. But to God your gratitude is a pearl.

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