The Holy Man and the Guava
Before you read the story
- Do you know any holy men or women?
- What makes them holy?
- Are they holy because they pray to God?
- Or are they holy because they always do what is right?
Now read the story
Once upon the time, there was a very holy man. He lived in the city, and every day he went to the mosque five times to pray. But the city was big, and there were many people in the streets.
"This place is very noisy," the holy man thought. "I can't pray to God here. I must go to a quiet place, far away from the city."
So the holy man went out of the city. He walked for a long time. At last, he came to a high wall. There was an orchard of fruit trees on the other side of the wall.
"This is a fine orchard, with many fruit trees," thought the holy man. "Those guavas and bananas look delicious, and I am very hungry."
A stream of water was running out of the orchard. The holy man looked at it.
"What's that yellow thing in the water?" he thought. "0h, it's a guava. It's outside the orchard, and no one can see me. I will eat it."
So the holy man took the guava out of the stream and ate it.
Soon it was time to pray and the holy man began to wash himself in the stream. But then he began to think.
"Why did I eat that guava?" he asked himself. "It wasn't mine. It belonged to the owner of the orchard. I did a bad thing. I must go to the owner of the orchard, and I must tell him I am sorry."
So the holy man found the gate of the orchard and he went inside. The orchard was very big, with many guava and banana trees.
In the middle of the orchard there was a big house. The owner of the orchard was coming out of the house.
The holy man went up to him.
"Excuse me, sir. I want to tell you something," he said. "I found a guava in the stream outside your orchard. I was hungry and I ate it. But it was your guava. I was stealing it from you. Please forgive me."
The owner of the orchard looked at him.
"No," he said. "I can't forgive you. You did a bad thing. Now you must do something for me."
"What must I do?" the holy man said.
"You must marry my daughter," said the owner of the orchard. "My daughter has no eyes and she cannot walk. But if you marry her, I will forgive you. If you do not marry her, I will not forgive you."
The holy man was sad.
"This is a big price to pay for a small mistake," he thought, but he said to the owner, "Yes, I agree. I will marry your daughter. Let me see her now."
"No," said the owner of the orchard. "First you must marry her. Then you can see her."
So the holy man married the orchard owner's daughter. She was covered with a veil, and he could not see her.
"Now," said the orchard owner. "My daughter is your wife. Take off the veil and look at her."
The holy man took off his wife's veil.
"Oh!" he said. "But - but you are beautiful! Are you blind? No, you can see! Are you lame? No, you can walk! But your father said, 'My daughter has no eyes and no legs.'"
The owner of the orchard smiled at him.
"You did not understand me," he said. "This was my meaning. My daughter has no eyes for bad things. She never looks at them. And she cannot walk in bad places. She always follows the path of goodness. I was looking for a holy man to be her husband, and now, my dear son-in-law, I have found one."
And from that day, the holy man lived with his wife and her father, and they were very happy.
Exercises for The Holy Man and the Guava
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