Once upon a time, there was a king. He had no heir. He arranged for an announcement.
“ Hear! Hear! Hear!!!… Our country needs a heir to be the next King. There will be an interview at the palace on the full moon. All young lads can choose to attend. Hear! Hear!! Hear!!! ’’
Young men all around the country were eager to attend the interview.
There was a hamlet on the border of the country. The news reached Robert who lived there. He also wanted to attend. But he did not have the right attire to enter into the palace. Not even the food items needed for that long journey.
‘Let me work hard. I will buy the suitable attire and prepare food for the journey.” Robert. So he worked hard and earned what he wished.
One fine morning, Robert started his journey towards the palace. People along the way kept talking about the interview to choose the prince.
Outside the palace, Robert saw a beggar with a pale face.
The beggar asked for alms. He looked at Robert and said, “Sir, It’s so cold. See I am shivering. Feed me with something. I am so hungry.”
Robert said to himself, ’I have only one good dress. What if I give this to him? I can't attend the interview.'
Robert walked a little farther and looked back. On a second thought, looking at the sorry plight of the beggar, Robert gave him the new attire that he bought for the interview.
The beggar bowed and wished him good luck. From nowhere a bull came running towards them. It was going to hurt him and the beggar. Robert grabbed its horns and restrained them. He saved his life and the beggar’s. Again the beggar thanked Robert for his act of valour.
The beggar asked, “Young man, where are you going?’.
Robert replied, “Sir, I wanted to attend the interview for the new prince. But, it is embarrassing now to go the palace with this old dress. So, I will go back to my village.'
The palace footman who came through that way said,” Young man! Don't worry. We have the order to let anyone enter for the interview. You can enter.”
So Robert went inside the palace. The beggar was watching him go into the palace.
The Palace Court.
The court was filled with ministers, generals, poets, footmen, young people who had come for interviews, and the general public.
Robert was embarrassed to stand in that room. As soon as the King entered the court he summoned for Robert to come near his throne. Robert was afraid for the punishment to be so messy. Embarrassed, he moved towards the king's throne.
The king announced,” Lords and Country men! I was standing outside the palace in the guise of a beggar. Robert offered me food and cloth. He saved my life from the rushing bull. It is my wish to select him as my successor. But the proper interview can go ahead. Let’s see if Robert wins it.
The Minister interviewed many young lads. But no one gave satisfying answers to the questions asked.
Eventually Robert and another young man stood for the interview.
Minister asked them questions.
“Young men! Which flower is the best flower?”
“Lotus is the best flower. It will lengthen and decrease as the water level rises” the young man answered.
“No. Cotton flower is the best flower. It makes men decent.” Robert answered.
“The second question. Which is the best light?”
“Sun light. It gives life.” the young man answered.
“No. Eye sight is the best light. It helps you see. Even that sunlight.” Robert answered.
“The third question. Which is the best weapon?”
“Sharp sword. It kills enemies.” the young man answered.
“No. Logical and rational mind is the best weapon. It makes people realise what’s good and what’s bad.” Robert answered.
The king said, “ Robert is my heir. As they say, there is no sorrow for the brave. A leader needs compassion, bravery and insight. Thiruvalluvar has said, “ Charity brings fame. That is the soul of life.
Robert became the king later and ruled the country with compassion, valour and wisdom.
Learning: Knowledge, Courage, Compassion, Hard work, Leadership
Author: John B. Parisutham