One night Sultan Mahmud rode out alone and saw a man sifting earth, looking for gold. Around him were heaps of earth that he had already sifted.
Mahmud approached quietly, threw a golden bracelet among the heaps of earth, and then rode away.
The next night, Mahmud came back, and the man was still there, sifting.
"Surely the gold you found last night would suffice you for many years!" Mahmud said. "Why are you still sifting?"
"I found a dazzling golden bracelet!" the man replied. "Finding such treasure makes me even more eager to keep sifting. Now I'll never stop!"
Inspired by: The Conference of the Birds by Farid Ud-Din Attar, translated by S. C. Nott
Notes: This is in section 38: Mahmud and the Seeker after Gold. You can read more about Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni at Wikipedia. Attar does not tell the story as a rebuke of the man; instead, the man is an admirable seeker: "Be like this man and search until the door is opened to you."