Story Contest 2016 #1 - Outstanding Stories » The Reward of Honesty
“The Reward of Honesty” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2016 written by Simran Sreejit, Asian School, Bahrain.
The Reward of Honesty
Long ago, in a little village, lived a man of humble means named Ashwin. He went about making ends meet by pulling a cycle rickshaw and ferrying passengers from one destination to another. Times were difficult and he was frustrated with the inflation and expenses he had to bear to support his family.
One day, while returning from work, a man who looked like a wealthy person flagged his rickshaw. He quickly mentioned the place he wanted to visit. His car had broken down and he desperately needed to get to the mentioned address urgently. After an uneventful ride, they reached the destination, and the passenger paid the fare.
Ashwin, on returning home, found to his surprise that his passenger just then had dropped a pouch in his rickshaw. On opening it, he found 50 gold coins in it. He showed it to his family who couldn’t believe their luck. His wife exclaimed, “Ashwin! Looks like God has finally heard our prayers. All our problems will now find a solution.”
As Ashwin retired that night, sleep evaded him. His conscience kept pricking him. At the crack of dawn, he woke his wife up. He said, “Lalita, I think it’s wrong to keep someone else’s gold coins. If God wants to bless us, he will find some other means of doing so. I am going to search for the man and hand over the coins to him.” Lalita was shocked, and cried, but Ashwin stuck to his word. He tried hard to find the man, but nothing seemed to work.
Eventually when he was about to give up, he saw that wealthy passenger. Ashwin ran to him and thrusted the bag in his hand saying, “Sir, you left this bag in my rickshaw. I have been looking for you since then and I am so relieved to find you. Please take this.”
The man was spellbound. He was touched by Ashwin’s honesty and said he wanted to meet his family. Ashwin took the man home and introduced him to his family. The man looked at the pitiable condition of Ashwin’s house and his children. He told Ashwin that he would like to help his family. Ashwin refused, but the man was persistent. He said, “I would like to take up the responsibility of educating your children.”
Ashwin could not refuse the proposal since he wanted the children to become someone important and not restrict them to the rural life. He agreed to send them to the city. The children got educated and did well. Each vacation they used to visit their parents. Ashwin reminded them only of one thing: “Never forget your roots and never do anything that will bring you shame. Strive to be the best at everything you do, but never do so at the cost of someone else.”
The children remembered the advice and followed it .Years later, they became successful. When the poor man’s children had children of their own, they told them the story of their father whose honesty had lifted them up from rags and turned their tale from rags to riches.