Moral Stories For kids - The Strange Will

 The Strange Will

This happened some three centuries ago. A young man jumped into a lake and was about to drown when a holy man, who was passing by, dragged him ashore. "What are you doing?" asked the holy man. "I was going to end my life because I'm an unlucky person. I had had no success in anything in my life," said the young man, whose name was Santa. "Young man, killing oneself is as bad as killing someone else. You're young and you still have a long way to go. Here's a talisman for you. Tie it around your arm and you'll have better luck in whatever you do," said the holy man, encouragingly. Indeed, things took a turn for the better from that very day. Be it for Santa's faith in the power the talisman contained or be it for his own merit, he began as a small trader and, in five years, grew to be the richest merchant in the town. He married and built a fine house for his family. He had a faithful manager to look after his business. He had only one child, Dennis. When Dennis was very young, Santa's wife died. Before long Santa himself fell ill and it was found that his disease was of a fatal nature. When Santa knew that he would not live long, he called his manager and said, "Young man, I trust you. That's why I am leaving a will in which I've given you a great deal of power." He then called some of the prominent people of the village and in their presence, he read out the will. It said his entire property would be in the charge of the manager. He must look after Dennis properly and educate him.

When the boy would be sixteen, he would be given whatever the manager liked. The rest could be kept by the manager for himself. The villagers found the will to be unusually favorable to the manager. But they did not say anything. Santa asked them to be kind towards his son and see to it that the boy did not miss anything. "If there's any dispute, please go to the landlord Victor who's my friend. I hope, he would be there till my son comes of age," he said. Santa died in the next few days. The manager, true to his word, took great care of his son. He appointed the best tutors for him. Dennis had no reason to complain about anything. Years rolled by. Dennis completed sixteen years of age. On the advice of his well-wishers in the village, he asked the manager to transfer the property to him. The manager brought out Santa's talisman and said, "This is the magical object which made your father wealthy. I give this to you. The rest of the property I shall keep for myself." Dennis was dumbfounded. But the manager dangled the will in front of him and said, "Your father clearly says that I will give you whatever I like. The rest I can keep for myself. Your father was no fool. Nor am I a fool. I'm acting according to his will!" Dennis felt that he alone was the fool! However, he went back to his well-wishers and reported the conversation to them. "We had suspected that the fellow will grow greedy of the property and do this mischief. All these years he looked after you and your property so that everybody took him as an honest man.

However, as desired by your father, now that there is a dispute, let us go to the landlord Victor," the village elders said. They went to the landlord and narrated the case. The landlord asked the manager to read out the will two or three times. The manager did so loudly. "The will is clear and perfect," said the landlord. "Yes, sir, it is so," agreed the manager, happily. "You propose to give the talisman to Dennis and would like to keep the property to yourself. Right?" asked the landlord. "Yes, sir!" "So you like the property. Right?" "Yes, sir." "You fool! The will clearly says you must give to Dennis whatever you like. It does not say that you can keep for yourself whatever you like. Since you like the property, you must give it to Dennis. My friend Santa was wise. Had he not made this kind of will, you might have fooled the boy and exploited his property. You looked after the boy and the property well because you knew that the boy will never suspect you of your motive and the property will ultimately be yours! But what does your common sense say? Will a father, while having an heir, leave everything to his manager?" said the landlord sternly. He provided Dennis a better manager and ordered the old manager to pay a heavy fine for being unfair to the boy.

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