The Old Lady and the Dagger

Like his grandfather Babar, Akbar liked to wander incognito in the streets. He did this in order to be alone. At his court, people were always around him and he never had his freedom. But when he wandered outside among his subjects, he was all alone.

One day, while he was walking, he saw an old lady holding a dagger. He approached her and asked, “What are you doing with a dagger? Let me see what it looks like and how sharp it is.”

The old lady handed Akbar the dagger and he held it for a few seconds. “What a shame!” the old lady said. “Had you been the Emperor, then this metal dagger would have been transformed into a golden dagger. Now it is ordinary metal, but I had a dream that if ever the Emperor himself touches it, then definitely it will be transformed into gold. I have been waiting and waiting for the Emperor to appear. I know that from time to time he likes to walk outside the palace. I am praying to Allah that he will come this way. For years I have been here, waiting in the street for Akbar. I am so sad that still I have not been blessed with his presence.”

The following day, Akbar summoned the old lady to the court. Now he was wearing his robes and his crown. He said, “Here is Akbar. He does not have the capacity to transform a metal dagger into a golden one, but he does have the capacity to change your life for good. How much money do you want?”

The old lady was overwhelmed. She could not believe her eyes; she could not believe her ears. She mustered her courage and told the Emperor that she wanted a particular amount of money. But Akbar gave her much, much more, saying, “I do not have the capacity to turn metal into gold, but I do have another capacity.”

So the old lady became extremely rich because of Akbar the Great.


from The Moghul Emperors
by Sri Chinmoy