http://revach.net/article.php?id=4287

Section: Stories   Category: Mashal
Dubno Maggid: A House On The River
In a small town, there lived an informer.  He would receive money from the local ruler to report to him daily about all the things the locals were hiding from him.  This man was hated among the community but the rewards he reaped made it worth his while.  The local townspeople did everything in their power to isolate the pariah and make life as difficult as possible for him.

One day he had enough and he told the local ruler that he would leave town for a neighboring town where the people don't know him and he could live in peace.  The ruler was very sad to lose his valuable asset yet thanked him for his years of loyal service.  He even wrote a letter to the ruler of the neighboring town singing his praises and advising him to take full advantage of his wonderful service.

At the same time the townspeople were thrilled to finally rid themselves of this cancer in their midst and they too sent letters to their friends and family in the new town warning them about this evil and greedy informer.

When he arrived in the new town in the dead of winter with snow piled up all over the streets, he wanted to buy a house, but as soon as he knocked on a door the door was slammed in his face.  With no choice he went to local ruler who gave him a warm welcome.  When he told him his plight the local ruler told him that he cannot force anyone to sell him a home but any land he could find would be his to keep.

After searching all over town, he came up with nothing.  However just as he was about to give up, on the edge of town he saw a large beautiful property which he claimed as his own.  He called in the finest builders and contractors to build him a beautiful mansion. 

He stood there each day supervising the work and watching his mansion quickly rising from the ground.  Strangely, whenever one of the towns people passed the site they would smile at him.  He couldn't understand why since they all hated him.  Whenever he asked them they wouldn't answer and just kept on smiling.

Finally the mansion was complete and it was magnificent.  Now the people will stop laughing he thought.  However they didn't and when the next person walked by he grabbed in and took him into his house threatening not to let him go until he told him what the big joke was.  Without any choice the man told him, "You built your house on the frozen lake.  In a few weeks when in get warmer, the ice will crack and your beautiful home will fall to the bottom of the river."

This is a Mashal from the Dubno Maggid.  The moral of the story is that you can build magnificent structures with your Torah and Mitzvos.  But if you build it on frozen ice it won't last very long.  The ice will thaw and down will go all your efforts and all your work.  You must build only on the solid ground of Emuna, Middos, and L'Shem Shamayim.  If you build it on ego, reward, and honor don't expect it to withstand the heat.