Moral Stories in English - The Tenth Boon

 The Tenth Boon

In the past, there was a young man named Saboo, the son of a landlord. He was smart and brave and was quite proud of his smartness and bravery. One day he was hunting in the forest when he saw a hermit seated under a tree. He had heard that hermits could do a lot of good to people with whom they become pleased. Saboo left his sword, bow, and arrows on a rock and plucked some flowers and a few varieties of fruits. He carried them to the hermit, placed them before him, kneeling down. Then he bowed down and saw to it that his head touched the hermit's feet. "Get up, my boy, get up. I'm impressed by your gesture," said the hermit. Saboo only wanted that much, that the hermit should be pleased with him. He raised his head and waited for the hermit to say something more. Minutes passed. The hermit sat without showing any more interest in his visitor.

"Holy man, you're great!" Saboo was keen to please him. "How did you know?" Saboo had no answer for the hermit's question. "Holy man, what about granting a boon to me?" "Oh!" smiled the hermit. The meaning of Saboo's show of respect became clear to him. "I've no power to grant any boon to you," said the hermit. "Besides, to fill your heart with goodwill, kindness, and faith in God is the greatest boon. But that cannot be given to you by anybody. You have to develop that condition in your mind and heart all by yourself," said the hermit. But Saboo did not let go of the hermit so easily. He went on pestering him for a boon. At last said the hermit, "As I told you, I've no power to grant you any boon. However, a few miles to the east of this forest there is a lake. Once every year the lake dries up and a shrine can be seen. If you visit at night time and ask the deity inside it to grant you a boon, it will be granted. But, mind you, the deity grants only one boon." The hermit told him when exactly the lake will dry up and the shrine will be seen. Saboo was so happy with the information that he forgot to thank the hermit. The day for the lake to dry up was not far. He passed his time anxiously. He started for the lake to the east of the forest in the morning of the much-awaited day. He reached there by noon. The lake was full but, as the evening approached, it was seen drying up. By and by a deserted shrine became visible. When all the water dried up, Saboo entered the shrine. All grew dark, but a kind of strange light soon filled up the inner chamber of the shrine.

Though Saboo could not see the deity, he prostrated himself before the deity's seat. "Ask for any one boon," commanded a resounding voice. "Grant that the next time you must grant me ten boons," said Saboo. There was a burst of wall-shaking laughter. "Granted!" said the voice. Although the laughter scared Saboo, he was happy that he had tricked the deity. He had asked only one boon which would enable him to get ten boons. He went back home and squandered his money. He knew that he can grow rich with the boon he will have next. He became cruel to his neighbors and servants and unkind to everybody else, for he knew that he was going to be very powerful in a short time. Everybody began to hate him. He did not care. A year passed and the day came once again. Saboo rode forth and reached the lake by evening. By and by the water dried up. Saboo entered the lake. When it was midnight the interior of the shrine was filled with a strange light.

Saboo knew it was time for him to ask the boons. He prostrated himself to the deity and heard the voice saying, "Now, what boons do you wish to have?" "Grant that my house becomes a treasure of wealth!" "Granted." "That my house becomes a castle!" "Granted." "That I become the most handsome man in the world." "Granted." "That I can humiliate my enemies at pleasure." "Granted." Saboo went on wishing many such things. At one point he felt the lake getting filled with water. But he had no time to pay any attention to it. He had already asked nine boons when the voice said, "You fool, ask for the boon of safe return from the lake." But he had already made up his mind about the tenth boon. That was to wish for the death of someone whom he considered his greatest foe. But he had not been able to complete the sentence when the lake filled up. The world's most powerful, handsome, and the richest man was nowhere to be seen.

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