People in Rajasthan believe that one will not get the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi unless they are destined to receive a good fortune. One Rajasthani folk story demonstrates this to perfection.
Once upon a time, there lived a king in Rajasthan. The king was generous only to those who made him happy. He went out of his way to shower them with luxurious gifts.
Among his loyal followers was a beggar who sought alms near the city gate. He waited there all day with his bowl, watching people go in and out of the city.
One evening, a threatening storm devastated the city, leaving a haze of dust. The beggar spotted two men walking awkwardly, wearing the dress that peasants wore at the time in Rajasthan. The beggar followed them and discovered that the two men were new in town. They were staying at a cheap lodge in the city.
The beggar met the king and informed him about the two strangers. While the king didn’t pay much attention to the beggar’s words, he asked his minister to find out who the two men were. The men were imprisoned when it was learned that they were Mughal spies.
One day, the king went out to hunt deer and wild boars in the nearby woods. Though he frowned when he saw the beggar walking with his staff in front of the king’s elephant, he chose not to object. The beggar went on to hunt a deer and a boar and presented them to the king. The king accepted his gifts and returned to his palace.
A few days later, the king suddenly recalled that he hadn’t given any gift to the beggar. So, he took a big coconut, filled it with precious gems, and sealed it He then summoned the beggar and gave him the coconut.
The beggar had no idea that the coconut was filled with gems. Unhappy with a mere coconut as a gift, the beggar gave it to a horse-rider in exchange for some money. The horse-rider went to the palace and gifted it to the king.
The following day, the king sent for the beggar again and gifted him the coconut. Once again, the beggar sold the coconut for a golden coin to the queen, who happened to pass by the city gates at the time. Wondering why the coconut looked so big and beautiful, she took it to the king.
The king felt disappointed because the beggar had failed to find the wealth inside the coconut; he had failed to get Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings.
For the third time, the king summoned the beggar to the court and handed him the coconut. While the king was excited to give the coconut, the beggar was reluctant to receive it.
The coconut changed hands for a while until it fell down and broke into two. Precious gems spilled out of it. The beggar was stunned to see them. The king was happy that Goddess Lakshmi had finally blessed the beggar. He asked the beggar to take home his newfound wealth and live the rest of his days in peace.
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Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about her.
Folk tale adopted and abridged from Internet Archive.