The unluckiest man in the world

Once upon a time, or before time, or after time or when time began there was a man who never had any luck.

Things always went wrong for him. He believed he was the unluckiest man in the world. He told himself he was the unluckiest man in the world. He probably was the unluckiest man in the world. For instance, if he ever had any money he would soon lose it, usually through the hole in his pocket.

One day, as he sat by the roadside telling himself how unlucky he was, looking at the world as it passed him by, watching everyone else having fun and enjoying their luck, he had an idea.

Actually his angel sent him an idea but he didn't know he had an angel, he didn't know that everyone has an angel, and sometimes even two.

Anyhow his angel put this idea into his head, 'go and see God and ask him where I can find my luck and my good fortune ' so he said to himself, 'aha I've got an idea, why don't I go and see God and ask Him where to find my luck and my fortune?'

It was a lovely sunny day, just right for going on a journey so the man thought about it for a while, and then sat and pondered and then mused to himself and just as it started to rain he decided to set off 'just my luck' he said to himself.

Well, he set off across country, got wet crossing rivers, took the longest, darkest way through the forest and then tired and weary he sat down to rest on what looked like a scraggy little bump on the ground. In fact the scraggy little bump was a wolf. The man was so caught up with his journey he simply didn't notice.

'Oh', whined the wolf, 'mind where you're doing'.

'Oh hello' said the man getting quite a shock, 'I didn't see you there. Do you know who I am?'

'No' said the wolf, 'of course not, I've never seen you before.'

'I'm the unluckiest man in the world and I'm on a journey to see God to ask him where I can find my luck and my fortune' said the man puffing out his chest.

'Oh', the wolf became thoughtful, 'that could be interesting, will you ask him something for me?'

'Yes, I will', answered the man.

'Well look at me all scrangy and thin and so hungry, all my hair's falling out and what's left is dull and I'm so thin and weak I can hardly walk, not like the other wolves all strong and sleek, please ask God what I should do to get strong and sleek like them and run and have fun and join the pack.' And the wolf hang his head in sadness and misery, and a tear rolled down his nose.

The man looked at the wolf and indeed it was as he said, the wolf was very thin and he hardly had any hair left and he looked very sorry for himself 'all right' said the man, and he went on his way.

One day as the man was passing through a lovely rich forest full of sturdy green leaved trees some fluff got up his nose and he sneezed loudly 'atishoo'. 'Hey look out' said a deep mournful voice, 'now look what you've done, you've blown my last two leaves away'

The man looked and looked and saw that he was under a tree with not a single leaf on a single branch and looking very poorly indeed.

The tree continued, 'this morning I had five leaves left, then the breeze came and blew away three and now your sneeze has blown the last two away. What am I to do? I'm the sorriest tree in the forest, everyone else has a fine head of leaves, thick and rustly and all the birds come to see them. And animals shelter under their branches at night and when it rains, now I've go no leaves left and no-one will come to see me, not even the caterpillars, oh what am I to do?'

'I'm the unluckiest man in the world' said the man, far too full of himself to really notice what his sneeze had done' and I'm off to find God to ask him where I can find my luck and my fortune.'

'Oh will you ask him something for me, too?' the tree pleaded pitifully. 'All right' said the man, who wasn't a bad sort really and wanted to be useful.


'Ask him how I can get well grow strong and get a good head of leaves like the other trees so that the birds and the animals will come to me and I can help them and shelter tham and they can keep me company.'

'All right' said the man, and he went on his way.

The man travelled on and then one day, going over a hill, he came to a beautiful house, with a sparkling stream and an orchard full of apples and a barn full of hay and a garden full of lovely flowers, by the gate was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen and she looked so sad, the saddest sad that ever has been.

'Hello' said the man and she looked sadly 'I'm the unluckiest man in the world and I'm off to see God to ask him where I can find my luck and my fortune I'm sure he'll know, and be able to tell me'

The beautiful woman's beautiful eyes filled with tears and she said 'I'm so unhappy, I have everything any one would want, a lovely house, a lovely garden, wardrobes full of the loveliest clothes, everything my heart desires yet I'm the unhappiest of people - will you ask God something for me, please ask him how I can be happy, I'm so sad?'

'All right' said the man, and he went on his way.

The man travelled on and he travelled on and he travelled on and then all at once there was nowhere else to go and he could go no further. He had come to the end of the world. He looked up and there was a huge cloud which came and surrounded him until he was quite lost to himself and strangely found to himself all at the same time.

'Are you looking for me?' said a grand and loving voice from somewhere or everywhere that filled the man with sound and hope 'oh yes' said the man, and he explained his troubles to God. 'I am the unluckiest man in the world and I've come to ask you please, will you tell me where I can find my luck and my fortune?

'It's very simple', said God very kindly, 'your luck is waiting for you, it's where you find it, and what you make of it is up to you.'

'Oh thank you' said the man and he turned to go.

'Ahmm' God gave a cough, ' isn't there something else you have to ask me before you go?'

'Oh yes' said the man, 'of course', and he asked God the questions that the wolf the tree and the maid had charged him with and God gave him the answers.

'Now be on your way' said God 'and remember, your luck is waiting for you.'

The man went back on his journey much happier now than before, my luck is waiting for me he said to himself, oh good, and he came to the place where the beautiful maid had her beautiful house, ' hello' he said I've seen God and he told me my luck is waiting for me, isn't that wonderful?'

'Wonderful' said the maiden 'Did he say anything about me?' she looked at the man with her beautiful sad eyes, 'Let me think' said the man 'Oh yes, he said that the only reason you are so sad is that you are lonely and have no one to share with. When you find someone to share all your lovely things and your life with then you'll be happy.'

'How silly of me' said the maiden, 'of course'. Then she had an idea and said to the man 'will you stay with me and share all my life and things with me oh please do?'

The man looked at the maiden , she certainly was the loveliest person he had ever seen, and she would be wonderful to share his life with and they would have everything they could ever want. His heart began to open and his heart began to fill and then he had a thought and he chose that instead. 'I'd like to' he said but I'm really far too busy to stay here, I'm on my way to find my luck and my fortune, it's waiting for me and I have to be on my way at once.'

And with that he left the lovely maid in her lovely house with the lovely orchard and the lovely garden and he went on his way.

Soon he came to the forest where he had met the tree with no leaves and as chance would have it he sat down next to its trunk to rest. 'Hello' said the tree who recognised him at once, 'did you talk to God'. 'I did' said the man 'and he told me my luck is waiting for me, isn't that wonderful. I'm on my way to find it now' and with that he got up to go.

'Did he say anything about me?', asked the tree tentatively.

'Oh yes' said the man, 'I remember it now, God said that the reason that your boughs are so weak and droopy and you have no leaves is because you are growing on top of a great big chest of treasure which is stopping your roots from traveling deep enough to get the nourishment you need from the earth, all you need to do is dig up the treasure chest and soon you will be fresh and full and green and strong like all the other trees in the forest.'

'Oh' said the tree 'is that all? I thought my roots felt uncomfortable, but I can't get the treasure chest out by myself. Please will you dig up the chest for me and help my roots to grow so I can be strong and green and a shelter to all my friends. Such a chest is of no use to me and perhaps you could take it away for me, too?'

'I'd like to help you' said the man, 'but I'm really far too busy to get digging in the earth and carrying a great big chest would only slow me down. My luck and my fortune are waiting for me and I have to get going to find them, goodbye.' And with that he left the tree in the forest and went on his way and the forest with the tree that had no leaves was soon far behind.

He travelled and travelled and he told himself that his luck was waiting for him and that he was sure to find it because that's what God had said and everywhere he went he looked and he looked and he looked and he looked really hard but he didn't find anything that looked like what he thought his luck would look like if he saw it.

Eventually he came to the poor thin wolf lying by the path, and as he was tired by this time he sat down when he saw him and told him about how he had found God and God had told him his luck was waiting for him and how he was on his way to look for it.

'What did he say about me?', asked the wolf, 'you did ask my question didn't you?'

'Oh yes' said the man, 'let me think, ah yes, he said the reason that your coat is so thin, and dull, and you are too weak to run and hunt and enjoy life like the other wolves is that you are hungry and what you have to do is gobble up the first real fool that comes your way.'


And so that's just what he did.


Origin unknown ~ adapted by Brian Hillman