The quality of giving
Once upon a time, in a small village there lived a woman named Mary and her seven-year-old daughter, Linda. After Linda's father passed away, Mary earned a living by doing cleaning work and spent her days showering love and attention on her daughter. Though they were poor, they lived happily in their humble hut. Every day, Mary would tell Linda different stories about God, and about love, kindness and honesty. She also taught Linda how to chant (repeat God's Name) while doing her activities. Soon Linda developed great faith in God and good qualities like obedience, love, a giving nature, etc.
A few years later, drought came upon the land. Wells dried up, streams evaporated, grass and crops dried-up. The grassy and green land turned bare and brown.
Mary could not find any work and fell ill, with hardly any food or water around. The whole village faced poverty with the crops drying up. Water was very hard to come by, and soon, people started fighting over any water they could find. Linda and Mary had to buy a little water in exchange for the pots and pans in the hut. Soon, that water too, got over. Since Mary was ill, she needed water badly, so Linda went in search of water with the only vessel that was left in the hut.
Linda walked past dried-up riverbeds and along a road that led up a mountain. On and on she marched,with faith in God and constant chanting of His Name. At about noon, she saw fresh water dripping down a rock. Linda carefully held the tiny vessel below the rock until it was full. She was happy, as now she could offer water to her mother.
On the way back home, when she reached the foot of the hill, she saw a puppy. He was having difficulty walking and his tongue was hanging out. "You poor thing," said Linda. "I must give you some water to drink. I am sure that there will be enough left for my mother." Saying so, Linda poured some water into her palm. The puppy eagerly lapped up the water. When he finished, he wagged his tail in gratitude and ran away. Linda was chanting God's Name with full concentration and did not notice that the water level in the vessel had not changed.
She quickly rushed back home. The neighbour, who was looking after her mother, opened the door. She was so thirsty that she could hardly speak. Without a moment's hesitation, Linda poured out some water for her. Drinking it down quickly, the neighbour said, "Thank you so much. May God bless you." Linda did not notice that the water level still did not go down. Thanking her neighbour for looking after her mother, Linda quickly went to her mother and held the vessel to her mother's lips. After drinking some water, Mary felt much better and asked Linda to drink up the remaining water. That's when Linda realised how thirsty she was! Just as she was about to drink the water, she heard a knock on the door.
When she opened it, she saw an old mendicant (person who goes door to door begging for food), "Please give me some water. I shall die of thirst if I do not get some water soon," he begged. Linda quickly handed over the vessel to him. He smiled as he took it and then turned the vessel upside down. The water fell onto the ground. Before Linda could say anything, a fountain came up from the spot, where the mendicant had dropped the water! There was enough water, not only for Linda and her mother, but also for the entire village!
As soon as Linda recovered from her surprise, she looked at the mendicant. But he had disappeared. Linda realised that God Himself had come in the form of the mendicant! She felt great joy and paid gratitude to God for visiting her humble house.
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