One day a man was traveling on horseback through a strange country. It was almost night. A heavy thunderstorm was coming up. He looked around for shelter. There were two houses in sight; one a beautiful white house on top of a high hill, the other a little cottage at the end of a lane.
Because the storm was very near, he decided to seek shelter at the nearest house. So he put spurs to his horse and rode quickly to the cottage at the end of the lane. As he approached the house, he was almost sorry he had come. The yard was strewn with broken toys, boards, and litter. The house needed paint, and some of the windows were broken and stuffed with rags. But, worst of all, he heard the sound of quarreling within the house. As he knocked, a cross-looking man opened the door and said in a gruff voice, "What do you want?"
"You see," said the traveler, "I have been caught in this bad storm. May I stay here overnight?"
"Why don't you go to the big house on the top of the hill? They have everything. We are poor," said the man.
"The storm came up so quickly, and the white house was so far away that I decided to try here first," said the traveler.
"Well, now that you are here and it is raining hard, you may stay," said the man of the house.
That evening the traveler noticed how unhappy and how really poor they were. He wished he could help them. The next morning the storm had cleared away. The family went to the door to bid their guest good-bye. Just as he was about to ride away he said, "There is a treasure hidden in your house. If you can find it you will be happier, healthier, and richer than your neighbor who lives in the white house on top of the hill."