This was a story which I had read many years ago, as a kid but the moral of the story still stands good. It is a very simple story that was meant to be read by children and enjoyed. I am telling you this story, with slightly different characters and location, so as to give it a global appeal. Once upon a time, very long ago, there lived a young man who though industrious and hard working could not find enough money to start a business of his own. So everyday he toiled hard, working in a shop from morning to evening and earning just enough to make both ends meet. One day his friend came from the neighboring town and visited him. His friend asked him: “Why don’t you start a business of your own? You have all the abilities required to run a business well”.
To which he replied, “I would love to start a business of my own. I have many ideas. But I don’t have enough money to start one. What can I do?” His friend said to him, “Why don’t you approach the zamindar (a wealthy landlord) who can lend you the money required. I am pretty much sure that you can repay him soon from the profits earned from your business”.
The young man thought about it long & hard that night and decided to approach thezamindar the first thing next morning. When he was about to enter the zamindar’s house, he heard a conversation between him and his son. The son said: “Father, I need some more money. I am giving a feast to my friends for my birthday”.
The zamindar said, “Son, I have given you lots of money for your expenses every day. I do not want to indulge you in luxury. You should learn the value of money and start earning yourself. If you are clever enough, you can even use the dead rat that is lying outside the door to earn.”
The young man who was hearing this conversation from outside heard this and he saw the dead rat. He picked it up silently and left without asking the zamindar for money. Walking on the road, he was wondering how could once possibly earn money with a dead rat. He saw a little girl playing with a cat outside her house and an idea stuck him. He went up to the girl and asked her, “Your cat will love this dead rat. It will make him a good meal. Do you want it?” The girl’s eyes lit up and she nodded affirmatively. “But you have to give me something in return”, he said. The girl said to him, “I don’t have anything other than these salted peanuts. You can take them in exchange, if you would like to”. The young man took the salted peanuts, gave the dead rat to the girl and continued walking on the road.
Pretty soon he saw a mother consoling her kid. The kid was crying asking her to buy some snacks & tidbits for him but the mother being very poor did not have enough to buy even a piece of candy. She said to her kid, “Alas! I have no money to feed my son.” The young man felt moved and gave her the peanuts that he was having. But the mother who was too proud to take something for free offered him a bottle filled with fresh water from the well.
The young man continued on his way, with the bottle of pure water. Instead of taking the usual route to his house, he decided to go through the woods and spend some time thinking about his future. On his way he came across a group of woodcutters. They were toiling hard to cut down the trees. One of them saw the young man and remarked, “Oh! I wish I had that bottle with water now. I will gladly give a dollar for it now”. The young man saw this opportunity and said, “Sure my man, you can have it for just half a dollar”. From that day, the young man started brining water, tender coconut, food and snacks to the spot. In the noon time, he spent time with them, selling them the food and snacks and earning a few dollars every day. And in the later part of the noon he moved to the fields and sold water and food to the farmers.
Gradually his income grew and he was able to start a small shop selling homemade food items and fast food. By this time his village was fast becoming a town due to the expanding highway and his business flourished. One day he remembered the dead rat and decided to give some of his profits to the zamindar since it was he who gave the idea. The zamindar was very surprised but impressed and said to him: “Young man, I wish everyone in this world are honest, clever and hard working as you are.”