Beth was a very resourceful and conservative mouse. She knew that winter was coming and that there would soon be a dearth of food. So she decided to make gathering food for winter her primary job. Gathering food was a grueling and mundane activity, but Beth made a deliberate effort because she knew that it was important. She allotted herself a few hours every day to collect beans. By winter, she had collected a massive pile and hid them in a cache.
Beth had a sister named Mary. Mary lacked ambition. She had fanciful ideas about how she would survive winter. She thought that food would just come to her and that she could work at her own convenience. She opted to spend the days playing and dancing, instead of gathering beans. When the final hours of autumn elapsed, Mary had only a paltry amount of food stored away.
Mary realized that her food supply was too small to last through winter. She visited her sister. Mary said, “Beth, I am in a dire situation. I didn’t gather enough food for winter. Will you let me share your beans? Please have some empathy for your sister!”
Beth thought for a moment. Then she replied, “Mary, I am truly sorry for you. But I will not give you any of my beans. Instead, I will let you have my empty bag. You can still work hard and gather enough food for the winter. It will be tedious, but you will learn the value of hard work.”
Beth’s words appalled Mary. Mary cried with outrage, “There is too much work! I won’t have any time to dance or play!”
Beth said, “It is crucial that you gather enough food. You must have sustenance before you have fun. Go now, and rectify your situation.”
Mary griped some more, but she knew that her sister was right. She took the bag and went to work gathering her own beans for the winter.