Stories & Tales
The Two Beggars

A certain Sultan was one day struck with the difference between the cries of two beggars in the street near his palace. One of them was calling, “Oh Allah, oh bountiful One," while the other cried, "Oh Allah! Give victory to the Sultan!"


The monarch, flattered by the interest which the latter showed in his welfare, called his wazir and said: “See to it that that beggar who keeps praying for me gets a roast chicken stuffed with gold pieces. And give a chicken cooked in the usual way to the other beggar."


The wazir obeyed, and the man who had called Allah bountiful was gratefully turning away to carry the bird to his wife, when the other said to him, “Buy this chicken from me. I don’t have a wife nor have I and children. What I want is money, and not a cooked bird."


"I have only a small coin," replied the other, "and that is nothing like the value of a roast fowl."


“You can have my chicken for your coin," said the other; and so it happened that the beggar who praised Allah got not only a good dinner but also a small fortune.


This man now gave up begging, and opened a little shop. His companion, however, having spent his one small coin, returned to the palace gate and cried, “Oh Allah! Give victory to our Sultan." The Sultan commanded a second chicken stuffed with gold to be given to him. On receiving it he hurried to his former comrade and offered it for another coin, which the now shopkeeper promptly paid.


Yet another day this beggar went near the palace and cried, "Oh Allah! Give the Sultan victory! " Now the Sultan was angry and said, "What is this? I have made that fellow rich twice over and he still must beg. Bring him in to me." When the beggar was brought in, the Sultan, frowning on him, asked, "Why do you go on begging when I have made you rich?"


"Alas, oh Sultan of the Age," answered the beggar, "all that I have received at your Highness"s gate were two fowls, which I sold to another beggar who used to cry, Oh Allah! Oh Bountiful One! He has since grown rich and opened a shop."


"Allah has shown that it is better to praise His bounty than to pray for my prosperity," cried the Sultan in amazement.

Adapted from Folklore of the Holy Land, J.E.Hanauer, Dover Publications