Tales: What is the Difference?

One day a certain king wished to consult with his ministers about a plan to invade a neighbouring country, and he decided to go for a walk with them in the wide, green parkland that surrounded his palace. It was very pleasant there, with beautiful pools hidden amidst the tall trees, and birds calling from every branch.  As they walked, a flock of attendants followed, to see to any need.

After a time, the king and his party came upon a beggar, sitting against a large stone. The beggar was clad only in rags, and had a bowl in front of him to collect anything that was offered, although at the moment it was empty. The king looked at the beggar as he passed, and nodded his head in a dignified greeting. In reply the beggar boldly said, “Good day, Majesty,” and then asked, “Would your majesty permit a question?”

The king smiled knowingly at his attendants, thinking that the beggar was going to ask him for some favour or gift. “Yes,” he said, “certainly.”

The beggar said, “What is the difference between you and me?”

The king looked at himself, at the fine silk robes he was wearing, and at all his richly clothed ministers, and then at the poor beggar in rags sitting before him, and he could not suppress a smile. “The difference between us?” said the king. “The difference is that you are poor–“ and here he gestured to one attendant, who opened a purse full of coins. “And I,” said the king, putting a gold coin in the beggar’s bowl, “am rich.”

The beggar glanced down at the coin, and then, looking up at the king, shook his head. “Exactly the opposite,” he said. “You need an entire kingdom to be a king, with all the gold and palaces and jewels, and if someone takes it away from you, you will be a king no longer. And even your whole kingdom is not enough for you – you are thinking you need to take the land of your neighbor as well. Whereas I,” and the beggar turned the bowl over, dropping the king’s gold coin in the dust, “need nothing to be what I am. Your need is greater than mine. I am richer than you.”

3 Replies to “Tales: What is the Difference?”

    • Nawab Pasnak Post author

      Dear Nadira,
      The story does not mention that, but one could ask: if I were the king and received such a lesson, how would I react? In that way, the story comes to life.
      Sending love,

  1. Juan Amin Betancur

    Ohhh! All small and foolish pretension of our ego thinking our selves are as ‘kings’, is swept away by the shocking answer of the beggar in that vivid and wonderful last paragraph…thank you dear murshid Nawab!


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