The province of Warangal was ruled by a benevolent king. His magnanimity meant that his popularity spread far and wide. Two beggars regularly came to him asking for alms. One of them was a young man while the other was an aged woman. After being compensated, the young man would say, “the King provides”, while the old woman said, “God provides.” Irritated by the old lady’s thankless attitude, the king decided to teach her a lesson.
The next day, when the two showed up at the palace, the king asked them to walk through an abandoned alley. The young man was the first to go. Thinking that the king wanted them to enjoy the scenic beauty around the road, he walked slowly. He looked around and savored the sight of the exquisitely built buildings along the way. However, in his attempt to enjoy the stroll, he failed to notice the red velvety pouch that lay on the sidewalk.
It was now the old woman’s turn. Her hunchback forced her to walk with her eyes on the path. Her handicap prevented her from looking in any other direction. She had barely walked a few meters when she came across a red pouch on the sidewalk. She picked it up and, to her utter surprise, she found it to be filled with gold coins. The elderly woman thanked God and went back home, feeling happy.
The next morning, the king asked the young man if he had found something strange during his saunter. The young man keenly replied that he had never quite noticed how beautifully the roads in the kingdom had been built. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the king for giving him that unique opportunity. When it was the aged woman’s turn to answer the same question, she replied that God had blessed her with a bag of gold coins.
Annoyed, the king summoned the young man and gifted him a big round pumpkin filled with gems. The man thanked the king and left for his home. On his way back, the big, round pumpkin caught the eye of a vegetable merchant. The merchant expressed his desire to buy the pumpkin and the naïve, young man, unaware of the treasures that the pumpkin contained, happily sold it to the merchant for a few monkeys.
The merchant then came across the old woman, who lay asleep on the sidewalk, clenching her stomach. Pitying the poor lady, he gave the pumpkin to her and went his own way. The old woman thanked God and cut open the pumpkin to relish it. She was, however, surprised to find the pumpkin filled with gems and gold coins. Her rags-to-riches story spread like wildfire and soon reached the ears of the king, who let out a sigh, having learned his lesson.
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Ananya both loves to read and reinterpret folk tales from different parts of the country. Feel free to email her at email@example.com if you would like to know more about her.
Folk tale adopted and abridged from KidsGen.