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story of wali dad the simple hearted.
From The Brown Fairy book by Andrew Lang.
Start of Story
Age Rating 8 Plus.
Once upon a time there lived a poor old man whose name was Wali Dad
Gunjay, or Wali Dad the Bald. He had no relations, but lived all by
himself in a little mud hut some distance from any town, and made his
living by cutting grass in the jungle, and selling it as fodder for
horses. He only earned by this five halfpence a day; but he was a simple
old man, and needed so little out of it, that he saved up one halfpenny
daily, and spent the rest upon such food and clothing as he required.
In this way he lived for many years until, one night, he thought that he
would count the money he had hidden away in the great earthen pot under
the floor of his hut. So he set to work, and with much trouble he pulled
the bag out on to the floor, and sat gazing in astonishment at the heap
of coins which tumbled out of it. What should he do with them all? he
wondered. But he never thought of spending the money on himself, because
he was content to pass the rest of his days as he had been doing for
ever so long, and he really had no desire for any greater comfort or
At last he threw all the money into an old sack, which he pushed under
his bead, and then, rolled in his ragged old blanket, he went off to
Early next morning he staggered off with his sack of money to the shop
of a jeweller, whom he knew in the town, and bargained with him for a
beautiful little gold bracelet. With this carefully wrapped up in
his cotton waistband he went to the house of a rich friend, who was
a travelling merchant, and used to wander about with his camels and
merchandise through many countries. Wali Dad was lucky enough to find
him at home, so he sat down, and after a little talk he asked the
merchant who was the most virtuous and beautiful lady he had ever met
with. The merchant replied that the princess of Khaistan was renowned
everywhere as well for the beauty of her person as for the kindness and
generosity of her disposition.
'Then,' said Wali Dad, 'next time you go that way, give her this little
bracelet, with the respectful compliments of one who admires virtue far
more than he desires wealth.'
With that he pulled the bracelet from his waistband, and handed it
to his friend. The merchant was naturally much astonished, but said
nothing, and made no objection to carrying out his friend's plan.
Time passed by, and at length the merchant arrived in the course of his
travels at the capital of Khaistan. As soon as he had opportunity he
presented himself at the palace, and sent in the bracelet, neatly packed
in a little perfumed box provided by himself, giving at the same time
the message entrusted to him by Wali Dad.
The princess could not think who could have bestowed this present on
her, but she bade her servant to tell the merchant that if he would
return, after he had finished his business in the city, she would give
him her reply. In a few days, therefore, the merchant came back, and
received from the princess a return present in the shape of a camel-load
or rich silks, besides a present of money for himself. With these he set
out on his journey.
Some months later he got home again from his journeyings, and proceeded
to take Wali Dad the princess's present. Great was the perplexity of the
good man to find a camel-load of silks tumbled at his door! What was he
to do with these costly things? But, presently, after much thought, he
begged the merchant to consider whether he did not know of some young
prince to whom such treasures might be useful.
'Of course,' cried the merchant, greatly amused; 'from Delhi to Baghdad,
and from Constantinople to Lucknow, I know them all; and there lives
none worthier than the gallant and wealthy young prince of Nekabad.'
'Very well, then, take the silks to him, with the blessing of an old
man,' said Wali Dad, much relieved to be rid of them.
So, the next time that the merchant journeyed that way he carried the
silks with him, and in due course arrived at Nekabad, and sought an
audience of the prince. When he was shown into his presence he produced
the beautiful gift of silks that Wali Dad had sent, and begged the young
man to accept them as a humble tribute to his worth and greatness. The
prince was much touched by the generosity of the giver, and ordered,
as a return present, twelve of the finest breed of horses for which his
country was famous to be delivered over to the merchant, to whom also,
before he took his leave, he gave a munificent reward for his services.
As before, the merchant at last arrived at home; and next day, he set
out for Wali Dad's house with the twelve horses. When the old man saw
them coming in the distance he said to himself: 'Here's luck! a troop
of horses coming! They are sure to want quantities of grass, and I
shall sell all I have without having to drag it to market.' Thereupon
he rushed off and cut grass as fast he could. When he got back, with
as much grass as he could possibly carry, he was greatly discomfited to
find that the horses were all for himself. At first he could not think
what to do with them, but, after a little, a brilliant idea struck him!
He gave two to the merchant, and begged him to take the rest to the
princess of Khaistan, who was clearly the fittest person to possess such
The merchant departed, laughing. But, true to his old friend's request,
he took the horses with him on his next journey, and eventually
presented them safely to the princess. This time the princess sent for
the merchant, and questioned him about the giver. Now, the merchant was
usually a most honest man, but he did not quite like to describe Wali
Dad in his true light as an old man whose income was five halfpence a
day, and who had hardly clothes to cover him. So he told her that his
friend had heard stories of her beauty and goodness, and had longed to
lay the best he had at her feet. The princess then took her father into
her confidence, and begged him to advise her what courtesy she might
return to one who persisted in making her such presents.