It is mentioned in some books that once ‘Isa was busy admonishing people along with some of his the Disciples touring the land. He was passing from one place to another so that he may guide those who were worthy and deliver them from their state of misguidance.
When they arrived near a city they saw a treasure that tempted the Disciples who requested ‘Isa to permit them to preserve it so that it might not be lost in the forest. ‘Isa told them that that treasure would not give them anything except sorrow and trouble. “In fact I am traveling to find a treasure which will not cause any trouble or sorrow. So remain here until I come back.” They told ‘Isa that the city folk are very bad; they kill whosoever goes there. ‘Isa said, they kill only those who look at their wealth and property with passion but I care the least for their belongings.” Anyway, ‘Isa entered that town and began to observe everything thoughtfully.
Suddenly he saw a dilapidated old house that was the smallest and most unattractive. He said to himself: treasure is always in the wilderness. If there can be anybody worthy of guidance he ought to be in this poor house. He knocked at the door that was opened by an old woman. She inquired as to who he was. ‘Isa replied that he was a traveler newly arrived in her town and that he intended to stay overnight in her house as it was dark. She said it was the order of their king not to allow any outsider into our home but since the appearance of your face is so gentle, I cannot dare to ignore a guest like you. “Bismillah” (Most Welcome-come in). And lo!
On the one hand, the shining sun set in the west and on the other the moonlike messenger shone in the dark house of the poor old lady, turning it into a garden of paradise. The owner of this dilapidated house was a hardworking woodcutter who had died leaving behind this old widow and his orphan son. The son was also working painstakingly to make both ends meet with a little income. At night, that boy returned home. The mother told him that an honorable guest had arrived in their home and that whatever he brought ought to be spent in feeding him. The boy submitted some dried bread (loaves), which he had brought before the guest. ‘Isa ate it and then began talking and with his Prophetic intelligence learned about the good and modest manners etc. of the boy but he also noticed a sign of great grief lurking in his heart. The more he tried to find out the cause of the hidden sorrow the more that boy tried to conceal it.
At last, the boy went to his mother and informed her that the guest is insisting very much to know my inner trouble and promises to remove it as far as possible. Should I reveal my uneasiness to him? The mother told her son that the shining and radiant face of the honorable guest tells me that he is worthy of telling everything to him and he looks like he is able to remove everybody’s troubles. So do not keep anything hidden from him and also do not ignore his apparent qualification. So the boy returned to ‘Isa and told him that his father was a woodcutter; that when he expired his mother asked him to follow his late father’s occupation. “Our king has an extremely beautiful and intelligent daughter whose hand in marriage has been asked for by many kings but she has not accepted anybody’s offer. The princess resides in a very big and spacious palace. Once when I was passing by that palace, my eyesight fell on that princess and ever since I admire her ceaselessly. I have not informed anyone except my mother about this inner uneasiness of my heart. It was this grief which you detected though I never wanted to reveal it to anybody.”
‘Isa asked the boy whether he should obtain that girl for him. The boy replied that it was an impossible task and that it was really astonishing that a great man like him should make a mockery of him despite seeing his poverty! ‘Isa said, I have never made a joke. Mockery is a deed of the ignorant. Had I been unable to fulfill this task I would have never spoken like this. If you desire, I can make that girl come to you the next night. The boy went to his mother and narrated the conversation to her. She replied, “I have no doubt that that great man will do whatever he says so do not leave his side.” In short, ‘Isa engaged himself in long prayers and the boy passed the night turning in his bed.
Next morning ‘Isa called the boy and asked him to go to the gate of the royal palace and when the courtiers arrived to tell them that you had come to ask from the king the hand of his daughter. Then at once report to me what takes place. Accordingly the boy stood at the gate of the royal court and acted as directed by ‘Isa. The courtiers were very surprised and when they reached the court they narrated the event as if it was a joke. The king also laughed a lot and called that boy into his court. When he saw the boy he at once noticed that though his clothes were worn and torn the radiance on his face indicated his inner nobility and purity of heart. Moreover, during his talk with the boy the king did not observe anything to indicate his foolishness or madness. This astonished the king very much and he, with an intention of taking his test, asked the boy that if he was prepared to pay the dowry for his daughter if he would give her to him in marriage and that for the dowry he should bring a big tray full of precious pebbles of ruby and that each pebble should weigh not less than a hundred misqal. The boy asked the king to give him some time.
Then he came to ‘Isa and narrated everything to him. ‘Isa exclaimed that it was no problem. Then he called for a tray and sent the boy in the ruins and began to pray to Allah. Consequently all the lumps of clay lying there turned into valuable rubies. Then he told the boy to fill up the tray and carry it to the king. When the boy went back to the court of the king and removed the cover cloth from the tray the eyes of all were dazzled and all were spellbound. With a view to try him some more, the king said one tray was not enough and that he wanted ten trays full of various kinds of precious stones (jewels).
Returning to ‘Isa the boy conveyed this to him. He called for ten trays and got them filled with jewelry which none had seen before in the world. The boy took them to the king where all were again extremely surprised. Then the king took the boy aside in isolation and told him that he certainly did not possess such power himself nor could he ever have courage enough to ask for the hand of the princess and asked him to reveal who was behind all this miraculous happenings. When the boy told the facts to the king he said that the man behind all that could be none other than ‘Isa bin Maryam . He then asked the boy to bring ‘Isa with him so that he himself might give the hand of his daughter in his (the boy’s) hand.
Finally ‘Isa went to the royal palace and performed the marriage of the princess with that boy. The boy was clothed in fine dress with full decorations and the king himself took him into his palace and entrusted his daughter (the princess) to him. Next morning when the king called the boy and talked with him he found him full of wisdom. Since the king had no other issue except the girl he made that boy his heir-apparent. According to royal commandment, all the emirs accepted obedience to the boy and then the king seated him on his royal throne.
Next night the king fell ill and passed away from this world. The boy took the reins of the government in his hands and obtained control of all the treasures and wealth of the late king. During all this time ‘Isa had stayed in the house of that old lady. At the time of sunset on the fourth day ‘Isa went to that boy to bid him goodbye. The boy alighted from the throne and clung to ‘Isa and said, O my wise and learned guide! Your right on this poor and weak person is so much that even its thousandth part cannot be compensated by way of thanksgiving even if he would remain in your service until eternity. But, he said, a doubt has arisen in my heart due to which I remain worrying throughout the night and cannot take benefit of the luxury “provided by you so generously and if you will not solve my confusion I will not be able to take any benefit from your gifts,”
‘Isa inquired as to what thought was harassing him. He said “the problem is that I am unable to understand when you have such a great ability to lift me up from the vales of poverty and place me on top of the mountain of worldly wealth how is it that you yourself are content with worn and torn clothes and are toiling without any servant or any transport facility or assistance?” ‘Isa asked the boy that when his desire had already been fulfilled why he should bother about his (‘Isa’s) condition. The boy submitted, “O my virtuous and pious guardian! I will not gain anything from your gifts if you will not remove this confusion from my mind and I will get no benefit from anything.”
Isa then told him, “O my son, The pleasures of this temporary and transient world can be of any value only in the eyes of a person who is unaware of the permanent delight of the everlasting life in the Hereafter (after death). The very person who until a few days ago enjoyed sitting on this throne and who took pride in having worldly power is now lying beneath the earth underground and no hearts entertain his thoughts any more. This is enough to realize that the wealth which ends in dishonor and a delight that turns into pain is useless. The pleasure of the friends of Truth is in attaining nearness to Allah and realizing His Might and Grace. The earth and transient enjoyments are nothing compared to the never-ending sweetness of the Hereafter.
Hearing these words of the ‘Isa the boy once again clung to his feet and said that he fully understood what he said and you have so kindly opened the knot that was troubling my mind. But then another knot which is more complicated has come up now before me.” ‘Isa asked what it was. The boy said that the greater confusion was that he could not comprehend as to how he (‘Isa) could go away from whom he loved and would not do to him what his (the latter’s) welfare demanded. When your honor arrived at our house abruptly and spread the shade of your bliss on us it is unfair that you should prove stingy in bestowing on us the bounty, which is main, and permanent and that you would deprive me of the eternal kingdom by gifting me the worldly empire.
Then ‘Isa replied, “I have taken a test of your mind and heart in this way and I wanted to know whether or not you are worthy of the really high ranks and whether or not you were able to give up the transient joys in order to attain the eternal ones. Now if you leave this royal grandeur you will earn a greater heavenly reward and prove to be a completion of argument for those in whose case the false worldly treasures are blocking the attainment of the perfect bliss.”
As soon as the boy heard these words he threw away his silken robes and decorations and giving up his superficial empire, began to tread the path leading to eternal success. ‘Isa brought him to his the Disciples and told them that the treasure which was in my mind was this orphaned jewel whom I had lifted, within three days, from wood-cutting to world-ruling and yet he kicked off all that and is prepared to follow me. On the other hand it is you, who, despite years of company with me, became mad after the sorrowful treasure and left me. It is said that the dead boy whom ‘Isa made alive was this very son of a poor old lady. He became one of the great religious leaders and many got guidance through him.