The sun had partially disappeared behind the pyramids and crimson-coloured clouds illuminated the sky with a breath-taking glow, making the desert beneath unusually more mystical than normal.
Standing there, in awe of the landscape, was an investment banker, who was on holiday in Egypt to see the Pyramids of Giza for the very first time.
He took out his phone before the opportunity was lost and began snapping away at the scenery.
Anxious to capture a better angle, and with time running out, he took several steps to the side before accidentally tripping on a small object and falling flat on his face.
Grateful to have been cushioned by sand he turned to find a shiny piece of metal protruding from the sand.
He wiped the sand off his face and pushed himself back up to standing position. Curious, he approached the object and knelt down beside it. He brushed some sand away. A lamp? That’s odd.
He picked it up and rubbed the dust off it, unaware of the consequences. Without warning, the metal object began to shake, at first mildly but then quickly growing in intensity until it fell from his hand. The banker jumped back and looked to his left and then right, hoping to gain comfort from the presence of another soul. None was in sight.
The next thing he knew, a cloud of thick white smoke shot out from the lamp like an volcanic eruption. And from it, as if by some miracle, an individual began to appear out of thin air. When the smoke dissipated, a turbaned genie appeared.
“Holy cow,” muttered the banker, thinking he ought to get this on camera but just as quickly dismissing the idea lest such a move elicits a dangerous reaction.
“My name is Abdullah,” said the genie. “You have awakened me and are therefore entitled to three wishes. So, what will they be?”
Astonishment slowly gave way to delight. Without hesitation, the financier began to draw a mental list, assigning importance to each and dismissing those that brought too little gain or benefit.
Once ready, he recited his wishes.
“For my first wish, I would like to become the wealthiest man on earth.”
The banker could not contain himself. On any given day, the mere thought of money was enough to make him smile. But this request was simply electrifying. The corners of his mouth slid upwards and his eyes grew wide.
“Your wish is my command,” said the genie, whose words were followed by the sound of thunder. “It is fulfilled.”
“For my second wish, I would like to be loved by all.”
“Your wish is my command,” said the genie, whose words were, again, followed by the sound of thunder. “It is fulfilled.”
“And for my third wish, I would like to become very healthy in mind, body and soul.”
“Your wish is my command,” said the genie before a final sound of thunder. “It is fulfilled.”
The investment banker returned home to New York excited to lead his new and much improved life.
But within a few days he flew right back to Egypt to the exact same spot where he left the genie lamp.
He rubbed the lamp and summoned the magical spirit.
“I see that you are back,” said the genie. “I’m afraid you do not get anymore wishes. The scriptures allow three to a person only.”
“You lied to me,” said the investment banker, boiling with rage. “I have nothing left.”
“I do not lie,” said the genie.
“Then explain yourself,” said the banker. “At once.”
“You wished to become the richest man on earth and I did just that.”
“I have no money in my bank accounts.”
“Your second wish was to be the most loved person. For that, I gave away all your possessions to those in need.”
Baffled by what he viewed as the greatest reversal of fortune imaginable, and on the verge of tears, the investment banker mustered the strength to continue. “I lost … my job. Lost … my fiancée. My apartment.”
“Your pursuit of money had made you ill. Your fiancée was with you because of your possession of it and the expectation that more, much more, would come. You worked in a bank to make her happy. It was not conducive to a healthy mind, body and soul. As for your penthouse, it had taken unreasonable material importance.”
“How does this make me healthy now?”
“Your mind is no longer under pressure to make money. Your body will no longer be bound to a chair from early morning til late at night. Free from material possessions, your soul is finally ready to explore.”