On my hike down memory lane, I stumbled across this gem………

Tractor or Detractor!

Without TV or any modern technology such as is available today, my dad used to entertain us by telling stories as we sat around the fire at night. Beautiful times, and a great life.

One of his tales was that of two neighbouring farmers, one named Rich Farmer, the other named Poor Farmer.

Now, as it happened one day, right in the middle of ploughing, which is such a necessary time on the farm, the Poor Farmer’s tractor spluttered to a sad standstill, so Poor climbed down from his rickety seat and started poking around the engine. He checked the valves, the pistons, the spark plugs and even the carburettor. Not a thing he did could revive the old lady.

So, he sat for a while, dejected and worried. Without being able to plough, the whole season would be lost. Without a tractor, there would be no stumping, no new lands prepared, no seed-sewing, and no crop to harvest.

He wiped his brow and sent up a heartfelt prayer.  He waited for divine intervention, but in the oppressive heat, he could not see any answer to his prayer.  Then a little idea sneaked into his mind. “Hey?’ What about Rich Farmer?”

Rich Farmer had been bragging about having all his lands already ploughed, and waiting for seeding. Hmm, he had a brand-new tractor, a John Deere, all sparkly and shiny, and mighty.

Poor, thought about it some more. It was a good idea. He and his neighbour were pretty good friends. They had shared a few beers at the local pub, telling each other stories of failed crops, mealie bug infestations and dreadful droughts. They had even partied together at New Year’s Eve shindigs.

Yep, Rich was of pretty good stock and would probably be happy to help out. He would understand his neighbour’s predicament.

Confident and happy, Poor set off for his friend’s farm. Yes, he thought, friends and neighbours did make one ‘the richest man in Town’. Life was pretty good, after all.

Getting closer to Rich’s farm, he had a sudden unwelcome thought. Because the tractor was so new and so expensive, maybe his friend would not want to lend it out. Perhaps he had paid just too much. Poor thought about this.

Now he, himself, would not do it. He would have worked hard, long hours to afford such a great tractor, and he would have treasured it. No one would have been allowed to touch it.

No, it would have been his, and his alone.  So, perhaps Rich felt the same way about that magnificent John Deere. Maybe he would be annoyed or even offended, by request.

Poor’s good mood began to diminish. Yeah, Rich had never had to battle for anything in his life. He had never known sleepless nights because he was so worried. Never had to go hat n hand to the bank and never had he ever been turned down either.

The more he thought about it, the more dejected Poor became. Then he began feeling a bit hard done by and angry. Angry that he was so unsuccessful and angry that by contrast, his neighbours had so much.

He began resenting his neighbour’s beautiful wife, his bright kids and even his prize-winning bull.  The more he thought about it, the more he hated everything that Rich stood for.

Eventually, he reached Rich’s door, but by this time had worked himself up to fever pitch. He knocked imperiously, hammering loudly and stood there scowling. When Rich finally opened the door, Poor stared him in the eye, then spat out angrily, “and you can keep your bloody tractor. Stick it where the sun doesn’t shine! I don’t care, I’ll manage on my own!” and with an angry nod, turned and stormed off.

Rich could only stand and scratch his head in bewilderment as he watched his neighbour storm off in a furious huff… sans humour, sans dignity, and worst of all, sans tractor.

Never overthink anything, and always trust your prayers.


  1. XFinally found your blog, and was excited to read it. Great story. Lots to learn.


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