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The Rich man and the Poor Man

Many years ago in the town of Shahpur lived a poor man, Rajprasad.  Rajprasad was born in a poor family.  He worked as a sweeper in a small shop. In the evenings, he would sell vegetables going from house to house. 

Still, he could barely make ends meet.   He never had enough to give his wife and children a comfortable life. 

One day, in the evening, Rajprasad was selling vegetables.  He had had a hard day. .  Business was not particularly good. 

Ad a distance, Rajprasad saw a wedding function. As he drew closer to the venue, he was struck by the scale and grandeur of the celebration.  He had seen grand weddings, but this was something he had never seen before.

The place was decorated with the costliest silk and satin.   The ground beneath  was covered in  expensive  carpets.  The guests were treated as if they were royalty.  A dazzling array of the choicest dishes was set before them.  They were served in vessels and plates made of pure gold.

Rajprasad stood outside, stunned by the opulence and magnificence of the function.   For a moment, he wanted to go inside.  But then, he remembered how shabbily he was dressed.  The watchman at the gate would never allow him inside. 

But, curiosity had the better of him.  A crowd of guests had recently arrived.  They were going inside.  Unnoticed, Rajprasad managed to mingle with the crowd and slip inside. 

A band of musicians were playing. On stage, could be seen the bride and the groom.  Decked in elaborate finery, the handsome couple were the centre of all eyes. 

For a moment, Rajprasad could not believe were he was.  A short while later, they were led to a dining hall.  The feast contained countless items of all tastes and cuisines.  Rajprasad was served in a golden plate like other guests.  He could not believe that he was eating out a plate made of pure gold.  He had never had gold in his house. 

He ate to his heart’s content.  He saw a party of guests leaving the hall.  He quickly mingled with them.  He had to exit unseen just as he entered.

The bride’s father was at the gate thanking the guests for attending the wedding.  He was an elderly man with a kind face.  He shook hands with each of the guests and handed them a parting gift.

When Rajprasad’s turn came, he shook hands with him as well.  Rajprasad thanked him profusely.  No one in life had treated him like this.  Here he was, shaking hands with such a rich man as if he were his equal. 

The bride’s father gave him a parting gift as well.  Rajprasad walked out of the wedding place.  It was dark and he hurriedly walked home.

The next morning, he opened the gift. He could not believe what was inside.  A bowl of pure gold. 

A few days later, Rajprasad sold the golden bowl for a large sum of money.  With that, he set up a shop in the main market of the town. In a few years, his business grew and soon he became rich.  He set up shops in other towns nearby.  He soon became very wealthy. 

He built a big house for himself and his family now lived in comfort. He travelled in a splendid carriage drawn by four horses.  He became a prominent person in the town.

The years rolled on.  One day, while he was travelling through another town on a matter of business, he chanced upon a poor man living in a hut.  Rajprasad was shocked.  It was the rich man who had thrown such a lavish wedding feast and who had gifted the golden bowl to Rajprasad.

Rajprasad got off his horse driven carriage and met the old man.  The old man did not recognize him.  Rajprasad told him of the wedding feast and how the golden bowl he had given had made his what he was now.

He thanked him for his gesture.  The old man then narrated his long slide from prosperity to poverty.  He told Rajprasad how a series of bad decisions and misfortunes in his business brought him to ruin.

Rajprasad was sorry to hear this tale of sadness.  He gave the old man a sum of money.  The next day, he arranged for a new house for the old man.  He took care of the old man for the rest of his life.

Children, this story tells us that nothing is fixed or certain in life.  Those who are rich can become poor and those who are poor can become rich.  Regardless of our position in life, we need to be generous in our dealings with others.  We should also remember all those who helped us and because of whom we are what we are today.

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