Period 10 – Kindness
The kindly king
Once Maharaja Ranjit Singh who was known as Sher-e-Punjab i.e. Lion of Punjab, was strolling in the palace garden, accompanied by his ministers and several attendants. Suddenly, a stone came from somewhere, wounding his forehead. Blood gushed forth from the wound. The ministers were aghast. They ran out of the garden to find out who had thrown the stone. After some time they caught the stone thrower and returned to the Maharaja with the culprit.
It was a poor old woman. She shivered with fright. The Maharaja looked at her and asked, “Woman, why did you throw the stone at me?” The old woman trembled in fear and cried out, “O king, pardon me. I did not throw the stone at you. I did not imagine that you would be taking a stroll in these grounds. My son has not eaten for three days and is starving. I threw the stone at these mango trees which are full of ripe fruit. Had I been lucky, the stone would have hit the fruit and my son’s hunger would have been appeased. How unlucky I am that it hit you instead. Please pardon me Maharaja. Don’t punish me. I did not intend to hurt you.”
As he listened to the words of the woman, Ranjit Singh’s eyes were filled with tears. He turned to his ministers and said, “I never knew that there is such poverty in my kingdom. Please send enough food for this woman’s family immediately and also provide them with arable land so that they can get enough food in future.”
The ministers were surprised at this strange order. “Maharaja, this woman has injured you. Why are you being so kind to her?” the Maharaja smiled and said, “ Had the woman succeeded in hitting the mango tree, her son’s hunger would have been appeased. Instead she hit a Maharaja. Should she not get much more from me than what she would have got from the tree? Her son’s hunger must be removed for ever.”
The woman shed tears of joy and hailed the king. The ministers too learnt a lesson from the generosity of the Maharaja.