Moral Stories in English - The Golden Heron

 The Golden Heron

Long long ago in a certain town lived a very poor boy named Mi. He was an absent-minded but generous artist who never bothered about earning money. Day by day he grew poorer. A time came when Mi could not afford even a cup of tea. He would have probably died but for a kind-hearted innkeeper who chanced to see him. The innkeeper developed a strange affection for Mi. He took great care of him and kept him in his inn till he recovered completely. One day Mi told the innkeeper, "Dear brother, I must take leave of you now. I have no money and I will never be able to pay you for all that you have done for me. I will remain ever grateful to you. However, before I leave, I would like to offer you a humble gift." Saying this Mi took out of his pocket a piece of chalk, golden in color. He drew a golden heron on a wall in the room where people gathered to take tea. There was something unusual about the drawing as though it was a real living heron. "Dear brother," said Mi, "this heron will fetch you ten times the amount I owe you. When a few persons would clap together thrice, the heron will come out of the wall and perform a delightful dance. However, do not forget one thing. Never should you oblige the heron to perform for one person only, for if you do so, that would be its last dance." After this Mi left. 

At first, the innkeeper did not take the artist's words seriously. Nevertheless, there was no harm in giving it a try, he thought. The same evening when customers gathered for tea, the innkeeper requested all of them to clap together thrice. Expecting some fun they obliged him. Lo and behold, the golden heron on the wall was seen flapping its wings. Soon it flew down to the floor. It started its majestic and graceful dance the like of which nobody had ever seen! It was simply magnificent! The dance went on for quite some time. Not a soul stirred. They were all lost as if in a different world. In due time the ethereal dance came to an end and the golden heron changed into the picture on the wall. Was it a dream or reality? In no time this became the talk of the town. Soon people from far and wide started coming to witness the wonder. They paid money to the innkeeper. In a short time, the innkeeper became a wealthy man. Time passed. One day the governor of the region came to the inn. Hid bodyguards drove away all the peasants of the locality who had gathered there to see the dance of the golden heron. Feeling happy and satisfied with nobody around, the governor took out his fat purse and poured a lot of money before the innkeeper. "Let us now see your marvel!" he said in a commanding tone.

Innkeeper, who had been at first frightened by the governor's arrival, became pleased to see the silver coins. Greed shone in his eyes. He forgot all about Mi's warning. Bidding the golden heron to dance, he clapped thrice. Slowly the heron moved down to the floor and started its dance. What was the matter? The dance was dull and it inspired sorrow. Signs of suffering and pain in the heron were clearly visible. The dance did not last long and the heron was back in its place on the wall. This was its last dance. Alas! all efforts to bring him to life again were in vain. The governor was quite disappointed with the performance. He made a lot of noise and created a big scene commanding the heron to dance, but all without any result. He left the inn, a sad man. Around midnight, there was a terrible pounding on the door that nearly shook the whole inn. The innkeeper started trembling. Frightened, he opened the door. There stood Mi, silent, and pensive like a statue of stone. Slowly he took out of his pocket a bamboo flute. He blew into it to produce unknown, mysterious, and melodious notes. The magical melody breathed life in the golden heron who stirred again. Mi started walking away playing his magical flute, his golden heron following him. Slowly, the notes of his flute and his golden heron faded away in the moonlit and silent night. Nobody knows where he went for he was never seen again.

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