Tales : God provides

There is a tale told in India that once upon a time a certain king had the custom of giving alms each day to two beggars who would come to stand outside his palace. When he did so, the elder of the two would say devoutly, “God provides!” while the younger beggar would always say, “The king provides!”

After a time, the king began to feel dissatisfied with the older beggar. “The younger beggar is right,” the king thought. “It is I who provide! I am going to teach this older beggar to speak more correctly.”

The next day, the king gave them their usual alms, and then instructed them to walk along a little-used road near the palace, telling them that the one who provided wished to bestow a special gift on them. He made sure that the younger beggar, who always said that the king provides, would go first, for the king had left a purse of gold lying on the road.

The two beggars walked along the quiet road, wondering why they had been sent this way, but it was very pleasant and peaceful, and as they went the one in front even closed his eyes, appreciating the fine air and the stillness. As a result, it was the one behind who saw the purse, and when he picked it up and saw what it contained, he said, `’God provides!”

The next day the king asked them about their walk along the road, and the younger beggar said that the king had not provided anything during the walk, but the older said that God had provided a purse of gold! The king was disappointed that his plan had failed. “But I will not be defeated,” he thought. “I want that old beggar to know that it is I who am his benefactor.”

The following morning, the king gave the older beggar an onion, and to the younger beggar he gave a pumpkin in which he had secretly hidden many silver coins. As this beggar left the palace, he met a vegetable seller, to whom he happily sold the pumpkin for a few pennies.

When the king later asked about the pumpkin, the beggar said that he had sold it and in that way the king had provided him with a few pennies. “The king provides!” he declared. But the other beggar said that the vegetable seller had not been able to sell the pumpkin, and at the end of the day had given it to him – and when he cut it open, he found a treasure of silver. “Truly, God provides!” he said devoutly.

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