Moral Story for Kids - Who Will Be A Better Ruler?

 Who Will Be A Better Ruler?

The King of Kalinga had two sons Veer and Raja. Both of them grew up just as their father had wanted. But he was in a dilemma? To whom should he hand over the reins of the kingdom? One day he sent for them. "My sons, it's time you both got ready to take over the reins from me, but I'm not able to decide whom I should hand over power. So, I have decided to give you two years' time to go out into the world and come back stronger and more handsome. But, remember, you should not reveal your identity. The princes agreed to abide by the King's direction and set out from the palace the very next day, wearing ordinary clothes and unaccompanied by attendants. Veer had heard of the famous wrestler Bala, so he went to him straight away and requested him to take him as a trainee to become strong. Bala agreed. As Veer did not reveal his identity, he was treated like any other trainee and was not given any special privileges. The training was not easy, and Veer had to really struggle hard to acquire strength. However, constant physical exercises helped his body acquire a glow. Meanwhile, Raja went over to a village far away from the capital. After a few days' stay there, he found that the crops were withering away because there was no proper irrigation, the village had no proper roads and the people were facing a threat of famine. As he had dressed as a common man, Raja could manage to stay with some of the villagers, who poured out their woes to him. He was very upset. He went to the village chief and discussed with him how the situation could be improved. "I feel if the villagers make joint efforts, the village can be saved from misery." The village chief, with scorn, said: "Nothing can improve matters, young man, you're only wasting your time offering advice to us. You better mind your own business." Raja was shocked by the way the village chief reacted. He decided to go against his father's instructions. He revealed his identity. When the village chief realized that he was speaking with none other than the prince of the land, he changed his attitude. 

He immediately called a meeting of the villagers and introduced the prince to them and said Raja would help them improve their affairs. The prince then addressed the villagers and gave them some suggestions. As they listened to him in rapt attention, an aged villager got up and said, "O Prince! This village has been under the spell of a curse for a long time. That's why we are all suffering." "Please take it as if the curse has been lifted," said Raja reassuringly, "and from now on, let us start afresh to bring prosperity to this village. I shall give you all guidance and each one of you should abide by my orders." Most of those assembled in the village square felt enthused and promised to work as the prince directed. Others were afraid of punishment if they did not cooperate, so they too agreed to follow his instructions. Work started in right earnest. They gave priority to water conservation and proper irrigation methods to trap all water going to waste. Several wells were dug, and a dam was constructed. The crops about to wither away now got new life and the harvest was better than expected. Next, they undertook afforestation and the newly planted trees grew fast and sturdy. New roads were laid, which facilitated the villagers to go to the nearest towns and markets. All the activities were supervised by Raja. At the end of two years, the prince took leave of the villagers and went back to the capital. At the palace, he found that Veer had already returned. The king sent for them and took a good look at them. Veer was of course, looking very handsome, sturdy and strong. Raja was equally strong and sturdy, but he seemed to have acquired a dark tan by exposing himself to sunshine for long hours and continuously for several days. The two princes narrated to the King how they spent the two years. Veer did not have much to say, except about his body-building exercises and physical and martial feats. "Father, look at Raja. Does he come anywhere near me in handsomeness?" said Veer. "You should make me your successor." The king laughed aloud. "The duty of a ruler is to strive for the well-being of his subjects, instead of doing everything for his own comfort or pleasure. I quite agree, a king has to be strong and sturdy, you both are strong and look sturdy, but that does not make you, Veer, an ideal ruler. On the contrary, Raja has learned what is meant by people's welfare. He did not think about himself all through the two years. He aimed at the upliftment of the villagers. So, I feel he'll make a better ruler than you. However, you be the commander of the army, and help Raja by ensuring that peace prevails in Kalinga."

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