How To Reward Loyalty

Kasi was the capital of a famous old Kingdom in India. Many years ago, there was an outbreak of burning, killing and looting by a band of rebels who were enemies of the King and wanted his younger brother to replace him on the throne.

The rebellion worsened, so the King led his army against the rebels. Within a matter of days, the military, marching daily and night, encircled the rebel force, and though the fighting was bitter, there could be only one end to the conflict. But with victory in sight, the King was wounded in the chest by an arrow.

Weak from the loss of blood, the King slumped in his saddle, but his horse, a well-trained animal, carried him from the battlefield and slowly wended its way to a nearby village.

The villagers, who had never seen their King, thought the wounded man must be one of the rebel leaders fleeing the battle. Being loyal to their King, they would not help the injured man and walked away, leaving him lying on the road. Only the village magistrate remained to kneel beside the King and ask him if he was a rebel or for the King. The King managed to reply that he was on the side of the King.

The magistrate then had the King carried to his house and sent for a skilled surgeon who lived in the next village. The surgeon removed the arrow and applied many healing herbs to the wound, after which the King fell into a deep sleep which lasted many hours. The magistrate saw to it that every care was taken of the patient, and within a fortnight, the King had recovered sufficiently to return to Kasi.

Before he left for Kasi, the King embraced the magistrate and said, “My good man, you have restored my life to me, and I shall never be able to repay you for your great kindness. Please come to Kasi and be my guest for as long as possible. I live in the palace, and if you utter the password Mahan’ to the guards, they will admit you into the palace im- immediately.”

The magistrate had no idea of the importance of his guest, and being a busy landowner, he had little time to make a journey to Kasi.

A few years later, there was a severe drought in the area of the magistrate’s village, and consequently, all the food crops perished. The villager begged the magistrate to go to Kasi and persuade the King not to collect any taxes for that year.

So the magistrate went to Kasi and, with the use of the password, which he still remembered, was admitted into the presence of the King. Imagine his surprise when he saw his former guest seated on the jewelled throne. The King also recognized his friend, the magistrate and having listened t the magistrate’s tales of woe, granted him all his requests.

At the pressing invitation c the King, the magistrate stayed as a royal guest at the palace for a month, and on the eve of his departure, the King made him a gift of twenty villages.

The Chief Minister raged that twenty villages should be given to a mere nobody and persuaded the King’s eldest son to object to such a magnificent gift.

The following day when the court was assembled, the King’s son stepped forward and objected to the King’s gift to the magistrate.

“If giving gifts to the undeserving is wrong,” replied the King, “Then it is a greater wrong not to reward those who richly deserve them. This good man did not know that I was the King. He accepted my statement that I was not a rebel and nursed me back to health from my grievous wound. The gift of twenty villages is nothing; he deserves far more. If every man were to be given his just reward, there would be rewarded greatly, not enough to be given to this loyal friend of mine.”

The prince was greatly moved and apologized profusely to his father and, on bended knee, thanked the magistrate for saving his father’s life.

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