Moral Stories For Kids - Ren The Faithful

 Ren The Faithful

On the banks of a beautiful river, there were two villages belonging to two landlords who were not only relations but also good friends. They were in the habit of visiting each other every so often. One day the younger landlord arrived at the elder's place to stay for a few days. In the open, enjoying the evening air and chatting, when Ren the shepherd brought home the cattle from the pasture, the elder landlord looked up and asked the shepherd, "Where is Billy, Ren?" "It is coming, master," Ren said. He gave a shrill whistle at which a big, snow-white Billy ran in, skipping and making a pleasant noise with the jingling bells around his neck. He stopped near Ren and then went up to his master, the landlord, who took a handful of peas out of his pocket and fed them to Billy. After Billy was gone the landlord turned to his guest and said, "This Billy is more precious to me than all other cattle put together. I would not part with it for a thousand gold coins. There is not an equal to him around these parts. Of course, it is Ren that is responsible for rearing him up and looking after him. I don't think there is a more honest fellow among his group." The guest laughed loudly at these words. 

"If you ask me," he said, "there cannot be any honesty in his group. They are all cheats. They never speak the truth and they swindle us whenever they find an opportunity." "No, no!" the elder landlord protested. "My Ren is quite different. He would rather die than utter a falsehood." "Don't say that," the younger landlord said. "Do you really believe that he has never lied to you?" "He never lied to anyone for that matter," the host asserted. "I must say," said the guest, "you are too credulous. Give me only three days and I'll prove to you that your Ren can lie like anyone else. What do you say to that now?" "I'll say that you will not be able to do so!" the host retorted. Then they fell to arguing and finally ended up with a bet. If the younger landlord succeeded in proving that Ren uttered a lie the elder landlord was to pay him a thousand gold coins. If the younger landlord failed he would pay a similar amount to his host. "I shall collect a thousand coins from you without doubt," the guest said. "But let no one know about our bet until the three days lapse." The elder landlord agreed. But, that very night, the younger landlord called his servant Sam and told him about the bet. "Tell me how we can win the bet without fail," he asked Sam. Sam was in a fix. If he agreed to help his master, it would mean that he was capable of guile.

So he cautiously replied, "I am not competent to advise you about such things, master." The landlord understood why Sam was hesitating. To put his mind at rest he said, "Look, if you can help me in this matter you shall have a hundred gold coins as a gift." "Well, master," Sam said, "I am sure this Ren is like any other human being. He would do anything for money." "Take two hundred gold coins and try to buy the white Billy from Ren," the younger landlord suggested to his man and handed him a couple of hundred coins. Sam spent a whole day nosing into Ren's affairs and acquainted himself fully with them. He also devised a plan by which he was sure he could entangle the honest shepherd. In the village, there was a girl called Lucy whom Ren wanted to marry for a long time. Both of them were willing to marry, but her father did not like the idea of his daughter marrying a pauper without even a roof over his head. "I do not mind your marrying my daughter," the old man had told to Ren. "But have a hut of your own first. Until you have a home and a small yard I am not going to listen to your offer." This Ren could not do. He would see Lucy frequently, chat with her, and finally ask her, "How about you and I getting married?" Lucy would remind him of what her father had said and Ren would depart with a bowed head.

Sam learned about this affair. He got Lucy alone and had a talk with her. "I am glad to hear," he said, "that you are going to wed Ren. You'll make an excellent couple." "Only, we may never marry here on earth!" Lucy replied. Then she explained Ren's trouble. Sam pretended surprise. "Ren could obtain a home and yard with a couple of hundred gold coins. Why does he postpone his marriage? Can't he raise that much money?" Lucy replied, "He tried his best and failed." "Why you are no more practical than Ren," Sam said, "Let him sell me the white Billy and I will give him the two hundred gold coins he needs." He took out a sack and jingled the coins. Lucy's eyes grew bright when she heard the jingle of money. "But the Billy belongs to the landlord," she said weakly. "How can Ren sell it?" "That is all nonsense!" Sam said. "It was Ren who looked after Billy and it is really his. Take it as a gift from him. You can sell me the Billy yourself. Here is the money in advance!" Lucy easily fell into the snare set by Sam. That evening, when Ren called upon her, she said to him, "What about our marriage? It is really up to you to arrange it, you know!" "Up to me?" Ren said in surprise. "I have tried my best to obtain a house and a yard, and have failed!"

"Somebody is now offering a good price for your Billy," she said. "You'll get two hundred coins for it, and it is enough to get you a house and yard. We can get married right away," Lucy said enthusiastically. "Forget it, my dear!" Ren replied. "It is not my Billy and I cannot sell it. It is far better that we should remain unmarried than that I should sell that Billy." Lucy looked hurt. "Well, then, don't sell it," she said. "Give it to me as a gift. I never asked you for things, don't deny me this." Ren registered intense pain in his face. "Lucy," he said imploringly, "ask for my life and you shall have it, but not Billy. Don't think ill of me because I say so!" He turned to go. Lucy called him back. She was shedding tears. "You are very unfair to me," she said. "I was so sure that you would not deny me the Billy that I sold it, taking the price in advance! Now I will be disgraced." She showed him the money which Sam thrust upon her so cleverly. Ren was stupefied for a moment. Then he asked suspiciously, "Who gave you the money?" "Sam, the neighboring landlord's man!" Lucy replied. "You shall not be disgraced, Lucy," Ren replied. "It is better to die than go back upon one's word. You shall have the Billy about noon, tomorrow. You can fulfill your bargain." 

Before the evening of the following day, Billy changed hands. The two landlords were seated in the open as usual when Ren arrived with the flocks. The elder landlord's hand went into his pocket as he said to Ren, "Where is the Billy?" "I have sold it, master!" came the reply. The landlord stared at his servant speechlessly for a time, and then exclaimed, "What is that? Why didn't you tell me? Why did you do it?" "Master," Ren replied, "don't condemn me in haste. I was fooled by the girl Lucy whom I was thinking of marrying. But she had been fooled by another rogue whose name I shall not reveal if he deigns to return the Billy in a gentlemanly manner." As he said this he eyed Sam coldly and proceeded to tell his master what all had happened. At the end of his recital, the younger landlord turned to his servant Sam, and said, "So this is what you have achieved, you filthy pig! Ren did speak the truth and I have lost my bet after all. He is a really trustworthy man. Give him back the Billy at once. Ren, you can keep the price of the Billy. Get a house and yard with it, marry your girl and be happy!" The elder landlord too did his bit in connection with his marriage and the marriage took place at last to the satisfaction of everyone concerned.    

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