The Magic Bath – a Financial Freedom Fairy Story
Stories can be powerful for illustrating the lessons of financial independence. In this series, in each financial freedom fairy story you will meet explore a familiar fairy tale world with remarkable characters and magic. There’s action, and drama, and love, and sometimes a happy ending. Enjoy these financial independence fairy tales.
You can find another Financial Freedom Fairy Story here.
Now, are you sitting comfortably? In that case, let’s begin…
The Magic Bath – a Financial Freedom Fairy Story – by Doug Weller
There was once was a poor dairy farmer.
Every day, the farmer took all day to milk his cows, and every day he collected just enough milk to feed himself and his kind daughter named Patience.
One day, Patience was speaking to a handsome lad who lived at the neighbouring farm. In truth, she was secretly in love with the lad.
The lad pointed out across the valley from where they both lived to cow shed.
“Have you ever noticed that the old widower who lives in that farm does not graze any cows? I think his cow shed is empty,” the handsome lad said. “And yet, he always has enough milk to feed himself and his family.”
Patience looked across the valley and saw that there were no cows in the old widower’s field.
“That doesn’t seem fair. Everyone has to work to feed their families. Why should the old widower be any different?” she asked.
“One day, someone should find out how he does it,” the lad said.
Patience went to find her father, who was hard at work milking the cows in his field, and told him what the handsome lad had said about the old widower
Her father stopped milking for a moment.
“I have heard the old widower uses magic, for there is no other way to have all the milk you need,” her father said. He then turned back to milking his cows.
Unconvinced by what her father had said, Patience decided to sneak into the widow’s cowshed and see whether he truly used magic. She waited until nightfall, and then walked from one side of the valley to the other.
When she reached the old farmers cow shed, she crept inside.
Just as her handsome neighbour had said, there were no cows to be seen. In fact, the cow shed was empty, except for a large contraption in the middle. The contraption reminded the girl of a bath, because it had a tap at the top.
When she stepped closer, she saw that the tap was gushing milk into the bath. The bath itself was filled to the brim with milk.
“What are you doing in my cow shed,” the widower shouted.
Patience turned in fright to see the hideous old widower. She explained honestly that she had wanted to understand how their farm always had milk despite having no cows.
The old widower nodded and pointed at the contraption.
“This is a magic bath,” he said. He then explained that he had won the bath in a fair bet many years before. The bath gave him all the milk his family needed, without him needing to do any work at all.
“I wish my father could have a magic bath. Then he would not have to work another day in his life,” Patience said.
The old widower leaned towards her, and gave her a proposition.
“May I suggest a bargain? I will build you a magic bath, in exchange for your hand in marriage,” he said.
The girl looked at the old widow. She did not want to marry him, but the thought of having all the milk her family needed was too tempting for her.
“I will accept your bargain on one condition,” Patience said.
“And what is your condition?” the old widower asked.
“I will marry you on the day my father sells all his cows.”
The old widower nodded his agreement, and immediately set to work building Patience a magic bath.
Some months later, the old widower arrived at her father’s farm. A horse-drawn cart behind him carried a magic bath, just like the one he had in his cow shed. The old widower helped Patience installl the magic bath in her father’s barn.
“Where is the milk? Is this a trick?” Patience asked, because there was nothing pouring out of the magic bath’s tap.
“Every day, after milking the cows you must pour all of the day’s milk into the bath,” the old widower said. Then he pointed to a spout sticking out from the bottom of the bath. “Use this spout to fill up buckets with only as much milk as your family needs.”
The girl repeated his instructions.
“If you follow these two rules, then soon your father will be able to sell his cows.”
The next day, her father milked the cows as usual, producing one bucket of milk. Patience carried the bucket into the cow shed, and poured the milk into the magic bath, just as the old widower had instructed.
Once the bucket was empty, she put the same bucket beneath the spout and turned it on. Milk ran out from the magic bath and into the bucket. When the bucket was full, the spout ran dry. She looked into the bath and it was empty. There was no more milk that day.
Patience went to see the old widower.
“You have tricked me. I did exactly as you instructed, but we still only have enough milk to drink for one day.”
She explained what had happened in the cow shed and the old widower listened.
“Here is what you must do,” he said. “Tomorrow, your family must work harder, so that you produce more milk that you drink. Only then will your father be able sell his cows.”
Patience explained this to her father, and they agreed that she would help him to milk the cows that day. They worked very hard together, and managed to fill two buckets with milk. Patience then brought the two buckets to the magic bath and poured them inside.
Thenm she held her bucket beneath the spout and turned it on. Milk ran into the bucket. And when the first bucket was filled, the spout still had more milk. She looked into the bath and there was a small pool of milk at the bottom of the magic bath.
The daughter and her father were exhausted after all the day’s milking. Instead of the family drinking just one bucket of milk, they decided to fill the bucket again and drank it. In fact, they drank so much that their stomach’s ached at the end of it.
Patience turned to her father.
“We had enough milk to drink twice as much as before. So now you can sell your cows.”
Her father shook his head.
“Drinking two buckets of milk was excellent, although it made my stomach ache. But we worked so hard to produce the milk, and there is nothing left in the bath. We cannot sell the cows,” he said.
Patience went to the old widow and explained what had happened and the old widow listened.
“Here’s what you must do. Tomorrow, your family must work just as hard as today, but you must only drink the milk you need and no more. Soon, your father will be able to sell his cows.”
The next day, they once again filled two buckets with milk. Patience carried the two buckets to the bath and poured them inside.
Then, she held her bucket beneath the spout and turned it on. Milk ran into the bucket. And when the bucket was filled, the spout still had more milk left to give. She looked into the magic bath, and there was a small pool of milk at the bottom of the bath.
That night, they were careful to only drink one bucket of milk.
“Now, we have milk to spare, so you can sell your cows,” Patience said.
Her father shook his head.
“We drank only the milk we needed, but we will only have enough spare milk to last us one more day. If you or I can’t work tomorrow, the milk will run out. We cannot sell the cows.”
Patience went to the old widower and explained what her father had said and the dairy farmer listened.
“Have you turned on the magic tap?” the old widower asked.
The girl looked at him blankly.
“I may have forgot to mention it. The tap at the top of the bath is a magic tap. If you turn the magic tap on, for every bucket of milk left inside the magic bath, the magic tap will add extra milk.”
Patience was thrilled. She ran to the cow shed and turned on the magic tap. A tiny drip-drip-drip of milk fell from the tap into the bath. It was such a small amount of milk, that Patience realised in would take many, many years for the drips to fill the magic bath.
The next day, Patience and her father worked very hard, and once again managed to fill two buckets with milk. Shebrought the two buckets to the bath and poured them in.
Then, she held her bucket beneath the spout and turned it on. Milk ran into the bucket. And when the first bucket was filled, the spout still had more milk to give. She looked into the bath, and saw there was a slightly larger pool of milk at the bottom of the bath that the day before.
The daughter and her father were tired from all the milking. But limited themselves to one bucket of milk.
Patience turned to her father.
“We have milk to spare, and we have learned not drink more milk than we need. And we have a magic tap. So now you can sell your cows.”
Her father shook his head.
“Living within our means is excellent. But look, the bath is still almost empty and that magic tap of your is hardly helping.”
They both looked at the drip-drip-drip of the magic tap.
“There is so little milk coming from the magic tap, not even one tenth of the milk in the bath came out of the tap today. We cannot sell the cows.”
The girl went to the old widow and explained what her father had said and the old widow listened.
“Have I mentioned the holes in the bath,” the old widow asked.
“What?” Patience asked, starting to lose her patience.
“There are two hole in the bath, besides the spout. The first leaks out a share of every bucket of milk that is poured into the bath. The second takes a share of whatever amount of milk is sat in the bath over night.”
“With all those holes, I’m amazed we have any milk left in the bath at all,” Patience replied. “Can’t we just block up the two holes?”
“A nice idea, but then the magic tap would stop working also,” the old widower said.
The girl became angry at all the old widower’s rules.
“But how is that the magic bath in your cow shed is full to the brim if you have not blocked up all those holes? What did you do that we are not doing?” she asked.
The old widower sighed.
“Every day, I worked just as hard as you to milk the cows. My family only drank what we needed, and I kept the magic tap open. The only difference between you and me is that I kept doing this for several years.”
Patience returned to her father and explained.
“It sounds as if we will need much patience,” her father said. And then he added, “I am lucky to have you as my daughter.”
The seasons came and went, and the father and daughter continued to work hard milking the cows. Every day, they ensured they only drank what they needed, and they made sure to keep the magic tap open.
They noticed that, as time passed, the amount of milk in the magic bath increased. And the milk did not sour because this was a magic bath after all. Although they knew some milk drained away because of the two holes in the bath, this was less than the milk pouring in through the magic tap. Every day, they saw that the drip-drip-drip of the magic tap had grown stronger and faster. As a result, the magic bath became fuller and fuller every day.
One day, Patience went to pour in two buckets of milk, and saw that the magic tap was gushing milk and the bath was at last full to the brim.
She ran to her father and explained. Excited he went to the bath and saw that what his daughter had said was true.
“Now can we sell the cows?” Patience asked.
Before her father could answer the old widower appeared at the door. He saw the full bath of milk and the milk flowing from the magic tap.
“You have worked hard to make more milk than you drink can drink, then you have drunk only what you need, and you have turned on the magic tap. You can now sell your cows and never work again.”
The father and daughter both thanked the old widower. But he held up his hand for silence.
“There is one more rule for you both to understand. And listen well. You must continue to only drink the milk you need, or you cannot sell the cows. Because if you drink more than your share, the magic bath will once again run dry.”
Patience and her father nodded and agreed they would only spend what they needed in the future.
“Now, remember our bargain, Patience. I built this magic bath for you in exchange for your hand in marriage.”
“But, only once we have sold our cows,” Patience said.
The old widower pointed to the magic bath.
“You will never be short of milk again. There is no need to do a day more’s milking. So now you must sell the cows,” he said.
Her father agreed. “Yes, Patience. I do not want to work another day. And I do not need to, because we have all the milk we will ever need.
“We could sell the cows now, father. You are right. But I have had a better idea.”
Patience explained that, rather than sell the cows, her father could loan the cows to the handsome lad on the neighbouring farm. In that way, he will have more milk to drink and sell, and there is no need to ever sell the cows.”
The old widower was furious.
“But that’s no fair. You promised to marry me,” he complained. “How could a girl like you trick me like this?”
“No good man would offer to trad a magic bath for the ownership of another human being. I am not property to be traded.” Patience said firmly.
With that, the old widower shook his head and left.
And Patience and her father lived happily ever after, never having to work another day in their lives.
Financial Freedom Fairy Story – Coda
The Magic Bath fairy story is a metaphor for financial independence. If you follow all the elements of this story, it explains the path to financial freedom
Milking the cows represents traditional work. You can work everyday and have nothing to show for it if you drink all of the milk or money that you earn.
When you have make more milk or money than you consume, you can keep the rest in a magic bath. Also known as saving and investing.
When you invest your money, you earn dividends and make capital gains. Exactly like the magic tap, these gains increase your amount of milk, and the more milk you have, the more comes out of the magic tap. In the same way, the more you invest, the more your investments will compound and grow.
But, there are holes in investment, just like in the magic bath. The first hole is inflation. The longer you hold on to milk or money, the less it is worth because of inflation. The second hole is transaction fees, commissions and taxes. Every time you pay money to others, the less money is left for you.
Your magic tap, or return on investment, needs to be larger than the money you lose from inflation and taxes. If you are successful, you will reach a point where you have enough milk or money, so that the magic tap pays for all your expenses, and covers the costs of inflation and transaction fees, commissions and taxes.
You don’t need an old widower to build you a magic bath. They are available to anybody in the form of low cost, index investments. If you invest more than you earn in a sensible place, the magic tap will flow with dividends and capital gains, and the magic bath will fill more and more. This is you path to financial independence and freedom.
And, of course, like in the story of the Magic Bath, you also need a little Patience.
Want to read another Financial Freedom Fairy Story?
Each Financial Freedom Fairy Story is written to teach lessons about mastering your money in a fun way. Sometimes, reading dry financial advice can be a little dull, or too complicated at first glance. These fairy stories aim to refresh the parts that other types of money advice miss.
You can read another Financial Freedom Fairy Story here. Why not start with The Young Man with Red Hair – a financial freedom fairy story.
And while you’re here – why not learn more about the building blocks of financial freedom?
You could also read why Medium thinks Financial Freedom is not a fairy tale.
I hope you enjoy these Financial Freedom Fairy Tales. You can let me know your thoughts in the comments below. My plan is to keep writing these Financial Freedom Fairy Tales – so if you find them useful, or you think they could be improved, let me know.