Ravidas was a poor fisherman. He did not have a boat of his own. He worked in the boat of a rich fisherman who lived nearby.
Ravidas lived in the village with his wife. The small income that he managed to earn from his job as a fisherman was just enough for both of them to live by.
Always cheerful and ready to help others, Ravidas was liked by his fellow fishermen.
Sadly, his wife, Anandi was very different. She was always unhappy over over one thing or another. She would constantly grumble about their poor condition and of not being rich.
One day, early in the morning, Ravidas was walking along the sea seashore. He was pondering over his poor condition when he saw a beautiful fish writhing in the sand. The fish was unlike any fish he had seen in his years as a fisherman.
He went near to investigate the strange fish. The fish was remarkably colourful with long beautiful fins. The fish was almost near death. The fish looked at Ravidas and with great difficulty said, “Help me! I am dying”. Ravidas was first startled by a talking fish. But he recovered himself and listened. The fish continued, “I am the king of a kingdom of fishes deep in the ocean. I have been stranded in the seashore as the tide went back. I will die soon. Please help me”.
Ravidas quickly lifted the fish in his hand and carried it to the edge of the sea. As he carried the fish towards the sea the fish smiled at him with gratitude and said, “Friend, I am eternally grateful to you. If you ever need my help or if you have any request, just come to this seashore and call for me. My name is Neel Raj.”
Ravidas gently let the fish down. As soon as his hand touched the water, the fish wriggled out of his palms and into the sea.
In the evening, he narrated this incident to his wife. His wife was shrewd. She told Ravidas that the fish can help them come up in life. “Go to the fish tomorrow morning and ask him for a big house for us”, she said. Ravidas did as he was told. He went to the seashore and called for the fish king. Neel Raj appeared. Ravidas told him what he wanted. The Fish King used his magical powers. And presto! There was a house.
Ravidas’ wife was happy. She had a beautiful house now. She was busy showing it off to her neighbours. But soon she grew tired of the house in a few months. She wanted something bigger. She soon went back to her old grumbling. “Go to your fish friend and ask him for a palace and a kingdom”, she told her husband.
Unable to bear her taunts, Ravidas went to the sea and told the King fish, Neel Raj about his wife’s desire. The Fish King promptly fulfilled his request.
When Ravidas returned to his home, he found it missing. It its place was a beautiful palace. Anandi was happy. But this happiness would last only for a short while
Anandi wanted more. “How wonderful would it be if I could be the queen of the sea! I would be able to have all the fishes under my dominion. “We would not need to go out fishing any more”, she thought.
She asked Ravidas to approach the Fish King Neel Raj and ask him to make her the queen of the sea. Ravidas was hesitant. But he was too weak-minded to stand up to his wife’s demands. He went to the sea as before and called out to Neel Raj. The Fish King appeared as always. Ravidas told him of his wife’s demand.
The Fish King Neel Raj looked at Ravidas with a mix of sadness and displeasure. “Friend”, he said, “It seems you have a very greedy wife. Nothing I give will satisfy her. What you need is the ability to earn by hard work. I am taking back whatever I gave you.” Ravidas was shocked. The fish continued, “Friend, I will however give you a new boat with which you can fish in the sea and earn your living. Wealth without work can never satisfy.” He looked at Ravidas. Ravidas was ashamed of himself and of his wife. Deep in his heart, he knew that whatever the fish said was true.
He returned to his village a wiser man. The palace and his wealth were gone. Instead, he found a new boat in front of his simple house. His wife was sullen for a few days. Ravidas worked hard and fished in his new boat. Soon he came up in life with his hard earned money. His wife, too, came to her senses and understood the significance of hard work.
Children, this story teaches us to be content and thankful for what we have. Instead of grumbling about our difficulties, we should try to patiently overcome them with hard work and come up in life.