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The Rupee Tree

2006-07-14 00:14

  At Aat-Pat Nagar there lived a Brahmin. One day he went to the king to ask for alms. The king offered him one hundred rupees as alms. But the Brahmin refused to take them and said, “I don't want one hundred rupees. Just give me anything, even a paisa, which you have earned by hard work.”

  The king was surprised. He could give nothing, as there was nothing he had earned by hard work. So he asked the Brahmin to come after two days.

  Next day, the king got up early in the morning, removed his royal robes, put on old, torn garments, and went to a nearby village. There he met the chief of a labour-gang working on the road and asked him if he could give him some work.

  The chief asked, “What work can you do? Can you dig the earth?”

  “Yes, ” the king replied.

  “Alright, then take this pickaxe and dig a pit there and bring some earth for the road.”

  The king picked up the axe and started digging. But as he was not used to doing any hard work, very soon he started feeling tired and he could hardly hold the axe, as there were sores on his palms.

  The chief saw his misery and said, “Look here, it seems you cannot dig any more. You are sweating.”

  And throwing a coin towards him, he asked the king to take it and go away. The king picked up the coin and walked home.

  Next day the king came to the royal court dressed in fine clothes, with the coin in his pocket and gave it to him saying, “This I have earned with hard work.”

  What did the Brahmin do? He just planted the coin in a bed of Tulsi plants near the well in his backyard. The coin soon sprouted and grew into a mighty tree, with its roots striking deep in the well. The tree was in no time covered with rupee coins.

  One day the king's men, on a round of collecting flowers for Puja in the royal household, saw the rupee-laden tree.

  They reported to the king, “Your garden is nothing! The Brahmin has a tree in his backyard which bears shining silver rupees!”

  The king was greatly astonished. He ordered his army to uproot the tree and bring it to him. But the Brahmin would not allow the men even to touch the tree.

  He said, “Let the king himself come and take the tree away if he wants.”

  When the king came and wanted to uproot the tree, the Brahmin asked him, “well, king do you remember what you had given me? Just a coin, but because you had earned it with hard work, it grew into a mighty tree. So the tree is yours. But remember that in fact you gave me only one coin. But if it pleases you, you can take away whatever you gave me.”

  The king felt humbled and went his way.

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