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P. V. Ramaswami Raju

The Man of Luck and the Man of Pluck

A king in the East said to his minister, "Do you believe in luck?"

"I do," said the minister.

"Can you prove it?" said the king.

"Yes, I can," said the minister.

So one night he tied up to the ceiling of a room a parcel containing peas mixed with diamonds, and let in two men, one of whom believed in luck and the other in human effort alone. The former quietly laid himself down on the ground; the latter after a series of efforts reached the parcel, and feeling in the dark the peas and the stones, ate the former, one by one, and threw down the latter at his companion, saying, "Here are the stones for your idleness." The man below received them in his blanket.

In the morning the king and the minister came to the room and bade each take to himself what he had got. The man of effort found he had nothing beyond the peas he had eaten. The man of luck quietly walked away with the diamonds.

The minister said to the king, "Sire, there is such a thing as luck; but it is as rare as peas mixed with diamonds. So I would say, 'Let none hope to live by luck.' "