The Sultan and the Magic Beggar©

Many years ago, a high and mighty sultan who loved gold more than anything else in the world ruled an ancient land called Alharah. One day he proclaimed to his people, “I am the greatest of all sultans and I am worth my weight in gold! From now on, every year on my birthday, I want my weight in gold to be collected from the people.”

Workers built a large scale that looked like a seesaw. The sultan sat in a chair on one end. A large platter to hold the gold sat on the other end.

On the day of the sultan’s birthday, thousands of people passed by, dropping pieces of gold on the platter. At the time, the sultan weighed 170 pounds. Soon there was enough gold to make him rise from the ground and balance the scale.

“I now am truly worth my weight in gold!” he shouted with glee.

However, he was never satisfied. He ate more and more food, so that each year he weighed more than the year before. As several years passed, he grew to weigh over 400 pounds. He could barely walk and had trouble breathing. But he couldn’t stop eating. His body cried for more food.

Then one day, his face turned pale. He felt like he was dying. Medicine men came, but they could not make him well. There was one last chance. The medicine men knew of a beggar in the nearby streets who was thought to have special powers. He was called the Magic Beggar. They soon brought him to the sultan’s bedside. Upon seeing the fading ruler, the Magic Beggar asked, “Your Highness, what would you give if you could regain all of your good health?”

The sultan whispered, “I would give all the gold I possess.”

“Well,” said the Magic Beggar, “if you will follow my directions, I can make you well again.” He then explained. “There is an enchanted spring in the mountains far, far away. All who drink from it are made healthy.”

“Take me there,” said the sultan.

“I will, Your Highness,” replied the Magic Beggar, “but you must follow my instructions. First, you must free yourself of all of your splendid clothing and jewels and dress as a beggar, like me.”

“What about taking my camels?” asked the sickly sultan.

“No camels,” said the Magic Beggar. “Your wish for health will come true only if we beg our way, on foot, to the enchanted spring.”

“But that could be a thousand miles,” responded the sultan.

“As a matter of fact, it is,” answered the Magic Beggar. “And it will take all of one year, but I will get you there.”

The sultan soon dressed in old sackcloth, put on sandals, and began the journey of one thousand miles. But the pale and weak sultan could only walk one or two miles a day. And when he begged for food, people would not give him very much, because he didn’t look like he was hungry. So from that day on, he began losing weight. By the time they reached the enchanted spring, he had lost over one hundred pounds.

The sultan was overjoyed. He drank the clear cool water and was excited about returning to his people in good health. And just as the Magic Beggar had promised, when they finally returned to Alharah, the sultan was healthy again. He once again weighed 170 pounds.

In a happy voice, he announced to everyone, “For taking me to the enchanted spring and restoring my good health, I now give all of my gold to the Magic Beggar.”

“No, Your Highness,” said the Magic Beggar. “I am not in need of such things. Distribute your gold equally to your people throughout the land.”

And so everyone in the kingdom was given a share of the sultan’s gold. The Magic Beggar returned to the streets and was loved by everyone. But they soon began to ask questions: “Why did you refuse to take the sultan’s gold?”

“Because I did nothing that was magic,” said the Magic Beggar. “You see, there was no such thing as an enchanted spring. It was just an ordinary mountain stream like any other. But when the sultan walked two thousand miles, all the way to the spring and back, and ate nothing but fruits, nuts, and bread, he lost weight and brought muscles back to his body. More than anything, he was taken far away from those things that were destroying him.”

This story has several morals. However, remember the price the sultan paid. Your health, more than anything else, is worth your weight in gold.

Keeping healthy is smart and wealthy.