Proverb: “A cottage of your own is better than a palace shared with others.”
Parable: Along The Appian Way, between the town of Benevento and Apulia, in the Apennines of Italy, there was a small village. In this village there lived a widow who owned the best well with the sweetest water in the district..Travellers on The Via Appia could drink from this well for the price of a sou left in the “honesty box” at the well-head. The widow, sitting at a window in view of the well, at her sewing or making her meals, could see those who drank from the well and if they left a coin after.
Many men would drink from this well..and with a gesture and a smile to the widow sitting at the window, would tip a sou coin into the box and the widow would smile encouragement to them.
One very hot day in the height of Summer, a beggar-man stopped at the well..he had no money at all to pay for a drink..yet he was very thirsty..he looked to the widow sitting at the window and his sorry state told her the tale..but she was a kindly woman even though quite poor herself..so she nodded her head to the beggar to help himself to drink from her well.
He took a long draught as he was very thirsty, and putting the vessel down, he picked up a piece of soft stone from the road and wrote something on the wall of the well..then nodded his thanks to the widow at the window and went on his way.
Curious as to what the beggar had written, she made her way to the well and there read the following words..:
“In thine eyes,
A spirit fine.
In your gift,
A loving kind.”
The widow was so touched by these words, she rushed down the Via Appia to offer the beggar man a place at her table, food on his plate..and a bed for the night..and in the morning he worked his keep and by all accounts, is still in the company of that widow.