Bedtime Stories for Kids - How to Make Gold

 How To Make Gold

Madhav was a wealthy citizen of the city of Kapisa. He had enough money to enable him to live in luxury. But he had a bee in his bonnet. His sole aim in life was to make gold out of baser metals. No cost, he considered, was too much for his experiments. He wasted his money in trying to make gold out of copper and iron without any success. Madhav's wife was a very sensible woman. She was very capable of managing the home by making a little money go a long way. But she pleaded with her husband not to waste his money. Madhav spent money like water in making his experiments and when his wife admonished him, he would reply, "Dear wife, Don't be impatient, success is just around the corner!" Finally, the time came when they could not make both ends meet. Madhav's wife found it impossible to run the house without any money. She went to her father and said to him. "My husband has spent all his wealth trying to make gold, now we have nothing to live on. What shall I do, father?" "Don't worry my child," consoled her father. "all will be well again. I will talk to Madhav." Her father then sent for Madhav and at lunch asked him how his experiments were progressing.

Madhav told his father-in-law in detail, all about his work and his hope that success would soon come. "How is it my son you have never told me of your experiments." demanded his father-in-law. "I was a master alchemist and I know of a secret formula which will help you to make gold out of the dust that lies under your feet." Madhav shed tears of gratitude and cried, "Sir, I am your humble servant. Command me to do whatever you wish. What is the formula, please tell me" "Son," replied Madhav's father-in-law, "It is something which requires a great deal of patience, courage, and persistence." "I will work night and day, so please I beg of you to give me the formula" pleaded Madhav. "That is simple, son," his father-in-law said, "You will have to collect five kilograms of the down which is found on plantain leaves. First, you must plant the trees and water them with your own two hands, reciting a magic verse, which I will teach you." "Will I have to plant and water many plantain trees, Sir?" asked Madhav. "Certainly," replied the father-in-law. "You will have to have nothing less than five acres of plantain garden." Madhav's father-in-law had to advance him money for buying the land, for leveling it, for ploughing it, and for buying the little trees. The watering of the plants was the sole job of Madhav. From early morning till late in the night, he watered and cared for the plants reciting the magic verse, which his father-in-law had taught him. The plants grew quickly and were a feast for the eyes of onlookers. Madhav's only concern was to collect the down from the plantain leaves. He was not bothered about the fine fruits which his plantain trees bore. After three days of collecting as much down as he could from the trees, he realized that to obtain five kilograms it would not be a matter of a week or a fortnight but a task of many months or even years.

When Madhav's attention was completely taken up with the gathering of the down, his wife was more sensibly interested in the garden. Every day, she sold the plantains, and the plantain leaves in the city market at a good price. Money started flowing continuously in her till, and all the while Madhav was waiting anxiously for the distant day when the plantain down he was collecting would add up to five kilograms. Three years passed by, and Madhav's down still did not even amount to three kilograms. But bravely he went on gathering the down whilst his wife was sending cartloads of plantain leaves and plantains to the market every day and the money she made in selling them was ever-increasing. Another two years passed, and Madhav, at last, had collected his five kilograms of plantain down. He took the down to his father-in-law and placed it at his feet saying, "Father, here is the down. Now show me how to make it into gold." 

"It has already been made son," cried his father-in-law, laughing very happily and turning to his daughter he asked, "Child, what is the amount of money that you have made from the plantain garden during the last five years?" She went into her room and came back with several bags filled with gold pieces and placed them at the feet of her father. Madhav did not understand what was going on between the father and daughter. His sole concern with the plantain garden had been the gathering of down on the plantain leaves. It had never crossed his mind that the garden may have had other uses as well. His father-in-law emptied all the gold pieces from the bags, on the ground. They made a thick carpet of gold. After hours and hours of counting by the old man, his daughter, and Madhav, the amount totaled to fifty thousand pieces of gold. His father-in-law turned to Madhav and said, "Son, here is a fortune in gold. Your wife has made it from the plantain garden which you planted and watered with your own hands for all these years. Madhav admired the commonsense his father-in-law possessed in such abundance and wondered at his own lack of it.

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