Kids short stories: Keeping Promises

This short story is loosely based on a story from the Jain Agama texts. 

Short Story: Keeping Promises

Once upon a time, a bountiful land was ruled by a devout king. One day a Deva appeared before him and presented him with a necklace. 

The necklace would bring the wearer and their family a lot of good health and luck. There was one condition though, if the necklace ever broke the person who repairs the necklace would die .

The king presented the necklace to his queen and she loved it dearly. After a few years, the necklace broke. The queen wanted it to be mended. The king refused saying that he would not knowingly put any of his subjects' lives in danger. The queen on the other hand thought, the king was making up the story and he just didn't want to part with the reward money for repairing the necklace.

The king finally had to relent to the queen. But, he was a good king and he announced a reward as well as the truth about the necklace. As expected, there were no takers for the work.

After a few days, an old goldsmith decided to do the work. He wanted his son’s to get some money and settled in life and he decided that he could stake his life for When the golsmith reached the palace, the king gave him the necklace and a small advance. The king promised to give the remaining money after the work was complete.

The goldsmith’s sons were very upset. They did not want their father to take up such a dangerous job, but the father did not agree and he started work on repairing the necklace. It was intricately designed and needed a lot of effort and time on the goldsmith’s part to do it. But he finally managed to repair it. As soon as the repair work was done, the goldsmith dropped dead. 

The goldsmith’s sons grieved the loss of their father, and after a few days took the necklace to the king. The king refused to pay the remaining money to the sons, he refused to believe that the four men were indeed the goldsmith’s sons. “ What if you killed the old man and stole the necklace from him?”.  He drove the sons away from the palace.

After a few days, the sons were passing through a forest and they got reminded of their father . The were discussing that the father would be very unhappy if he knew that the king had cheated them out of the promise. As it happened, a monkey listened to this conversation. The monkey was the goldsmith in his next birth. He followed the sons to their house and introduced himself.  The monkey said he knew what to do.

The next day the monkey went to the palace and stole the necklace when the queen had removed it . He brought the necklace back to the sons.As soon as the queen realised the necklace was missing, she complained to the king and he sent soldiers into the houses to check for it. The sons got very nervous but the monkey had a solution. He decided to keep the necklace someplace else. He took the necklace and went to an ashram and placed it around the neck of an ascetic. The ascetic was in deep meditation and didn’t even realise that a monkey had placed a necklace around his neck.

On the same night, the kings minister visited the ashram to take some spiritual guidance from the swamiji’s there. He was shocked to see the necklace on the ascetic. He also realised that it was not the ascetic who had taken the necklace, because he was deep in meditation and had no idea of the goings on around him. 

The minister took the necklace and returned to the palace and explained to the king what had happened. As we know, the king is a devout person and believed in doing good deeds, he realised that may be he made a mistake by not paying the sons their reward. He also realised that the queen might have been right all along and a part of him did not want to pay such a huge reward for repairing the necklace. The minute he had the realisation, he sent for the goldsmith’s sons and paid them their due and also apologised to them.The king realised that keeping promises is very important

Moral of the Story

Kids short stories are great conversation starters. You could talk to kids about what they liked about the story. What they thought of the king who didnt keep his promise, but realised his mistake and made ammends. You could talk about what they thought about the goldsmith who was prepared to give up his life for some money for his kids.

We believe two way conversations are a great way to learn. We have some amazing learning posters and flashcards that can help spark conversations. Do take a look

Re purposed by Team Ekdali


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