The Rival Gift

Once there was a King who had a peasant for a friend in a particular village. Whenever the King went hunting, he would stay with this peasant for a day and eat his excellent radishes.

One day, the peasant had to go to the capital for business. His wife handed him a bundle of radishes and said, “Give them to the King. He is very fond of them and will be pleased.”

“How simple you are!” said the peasant to his wife. “He will laugh at such a gift. I won’t give it.”

“I am sure,” said the woman, “that he will not fail to eat them. Gift or no gift, give them to the King and he will be pleased.”

To please his wife, the peasant took the bundle of radishes and started. He kept taking the radishes out of the pile and eating them all along the way, and by the time he reached the capital, only one giant radish remained.

“I shall give this to the King,” he thought. “It is an uncommonly big radish. I don’t think the King has ever seen a radish this big.”

He went up to the Court Hall and peeped in. The Court was in session, and the peasant waited for the King to come out.

Presently the Court rose, and the King came out. He saw his old friend, the peasant and accosted him with pleasure.

“I brought this for your highness,” said the peasant, offering the radish to the King.

“It is very nice of you to have brought it, my friend,” said the King. He ordered one of his servants to take the radish and place it in the storehouse. He also called the servant to carry a thousand gold pieces from the Treasurer and give them to the peasant. Then he turned to the peasant and said, “My friend, come and dine with me.”

In no time, news spread among the courtiers that an insignificant peasant had made a gift of a common radish and obtained in return a grant of a thousand gold pieces, besides dining with the King.

One of the courtiers thought, “If the King is so generous, why should I not be benefited from him?”

He purchased a pedigree horse, took it to the King, and offered it to him, saying, “May your majesty be pleased to accept this humble gift from your humble servant!” He was sure the King would repay him for this noble gift.

The King, however, saw through him. He turned to his servant and whispered, “Go to the store and bring the radish I ordered to be placed there yesterday.”

The servant went and returned with the radish. The King took it and offered it to the courtier, saying, “This radish is worth a thousand pieces of gold, and I offer it to you in exchange for your horse!”

The courtier bowed and went away, cursing his ill luck.

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