Moral Stories For Kids - Pearls From Poetry

 Pearls From Poetry

Maldon village had a famous poet, Monty. His poems were very popular, especially the humorous ones, which attracted many admirers. The landlord of the place, Danny, however, had reservations about the poems. He often criticized them when he discussed them with his friends. He became jealous of Monty because he was becoming more and more popular day by day. However, as the landlord, it was part of his functions to honor writers, poets, and scholars every now and then. If he failed, he was afraid, he might become unpopular with the villagers. So, he continued to give away awards and rewards, even to those whom he did not favor, like Monty. At the same time, he found ways and opportunities to harass them otherwise. Monty was no exception. He had farmlands which he had handed to some farmers to cultivate and give him a part of the yield as rent. This came to nearly a hundred bags every year. Danny managed to get them to his side and made them give only ten bags on the pretext that the yield was low because of drought. He thought of yet another method to insult Monty. The annual awards to writers and others comprised of gold-laced shawls. Danny modified this to ordinary silk shawls. And for Monty, he decided to give him only a normal shawl made of coarse handloom cloth. Monty did not protest but gracefully accepted what was given to him. As he had no other means of income, Monty would always look forward to the award ceremony, hoping that like others, he too would receive gold coins.

But when the practice stopped, Monty found himself in a predicament, as he had no wherewithal even for meeting his daily needs. One day, a scholar named Vin came to Maldon. He was from a distant village. His discourses and speeches impressed Danny very much. "Please don't hesitate, but you may ask for whatever you wish to have." "Our king has expressed a desire to meet poet Monty of your village," replied Vin. "He has asked me to take Monty with me when I go back to my kingdom. You must allow him to go with me. That's all that I ask for!" "I'm really surprised, scholar," said Danny. "Usually people want only gold, silver, or precious stones. But you're asking for a poet! How strange! No, I've absolutely no objection to Monty accompanying you. "Our king is generous," added Vin, "and I've had the privilege of receiving gold and diamonds from him as a reward. In fact, I consider it beneath my dignity and a slur on me if I were to accept gold and other gifts from any other country. It'll affect our prestige. Therefore, I plead with you not to give me anything like gold or other riches. Just send Monty with me." Danny calculated that Monty who was suffering from acute poverty would only be too eager to ask for gold and precious stones from the King and thus bring discredit to Maldon. People would then ridicule him and soon his popularity would diminish. "All right, tell me, what does your king expect from Monty?" "Our country is rich in many ways," explained Vin. "Moreover, it enjoys peace and tranquility. Our king wants Monty to compose poems about our country." Danny knew that Monty was not the type to write poems in praise of anyone.

He, therefore, did not expect him to go with Vin just to compose poems. However, contrary to the landlord's guess, Monty got ready to go with Vin. As the scholar and the poet took leave of Danny, the landlord remarked, "Just as you had protected the prestige of your kingdom, I'm sure Monty would also keep up the prestige and tradition of this village." He then looked at Monty as if there was a special message for him in what he said. As soon as they reached the other kingdom, Vin took him to the king, who received the famous poet with due reverence and courtesy. In the next few days, Monty noticed the prosperity of the kingdom and the peace enjoyed by the people of that country. He composed several poems eulogizing the country and its people, and the way it was being ruled. Every day, he recited his poems in the court, and the king was very pleased. One day, he asked Monty, "What would you wish to have in token of this country's gratitude?" "Your Majesty! Rulers of kingdoms are bound to honor scholars and learned people and give them whatever they wish for, that's the tradition," said Monty. "However, it's not the practice with such people to ask for rewards and awards. I shall not ask for anything, it's not proper. Whatever your majesty feels like giving, I shall accept it gladly." "Whatever I give will never be an adequate reward for your poetry," said the King. "Anyway, please accept this bag of precious stones. I know that you deserve much more than this."

Monty took leave of the king and Vin and returned to Maldon. A few days later, the landlord called on him. Monty showed him the gift he received from the king. The landlord realized that the precious stones if sold, would fetch enough wealth for seven generations in the poet's family. The jealous landlord was peeved. "Vin refused to accept any gift from me or from this village, and thus kept up the prestige of his country. You've brought discredit to Maldon by accepting rewards from another country!" "Sir, I haven't done anything of that sort," said Monty with great pride. "The country I visited had no poet of my stature. That's why the king asked scholar Vin to invite a poet like me to that country. And remember, he did seek your permission before he even mentioned it to me, and you gladly gave him leave to invite me, which was an honor not only to me but to Maldon. And I didn't ask the king for any reward or award. He was happy with my poems and appreciated the way I wrote about their country and its prosperous and peace-loving people. Some of the words and verses in my poems dropped like globulets on that country, some others have dropped on this village too. In the other country, the droplets fell on oysters and turned into pearls, and came into my hands. Those that fell on Maldon flowed into the soil. That's the difference." Monty put the whole thing very poetically. Danny felt that he had received a whiplash. He understood what the poet meant, that while his poetry received approbation in another country, it was not appreciated in his own village. The landlord regretted his attitude towards Monty and decided to restore him the honor he gave to all the others of Maldon.

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