The Magic Shoes and Staff
" asked Putraka.
"A bowl, a stick and a pair of shoes," was the reply. "Whoever wins the fight will get them all. There they lie on the ground."
"Well, I never!" cried the king, laughing as he looked at the things, which seemed to him worth very little. "I shouldn't trouble to fight about such trifles, if I were you."
"Trifles!" exclaimed one of the men angrily. "You don't know what you are talking about. They are worth more than their weight in gold. Whoever gets the bowl will find plenty of food in it whenever he wants it; the owner of the stick has only to write his wishes on the ground with it and he will get them; and whoever puts on the shoes can fly through the air in them to any distance."
17. Which of these things would you rather have had?
18. What lesson do you learn from what the men said about the things on the ground?
When Putraka heard the wonders which, could be done with what he had thought not worth having, he determined to get possession of the three treasures for himself; not considering that it would he very wrong to take what did not belong to him. "It seems a pity to fight," he said, "why don't you race for the things, and let whichever wins the race have them? That banyan tree over there would make a good winning post and I will be the umpire."
Instead of guessing what Putraka had in his mind, the brothers, who were very simple fellows, said at once: "All right. We won't fight, we'll race instead, and you can give us the start." Putraka agreed, and directly they were off he lost not a moment, but picked up the bowl and the staff, put on the shoes, and flew straight up into the air with the treasures. When the brothers came back, disputing about which of them had won, there was not a sign of Putraka, the bowl, the stick, or the shoes. They guessed at once what had happened; and after staring up in the air for a long time, they went home, feeling very much enraged with the man who had cheated them, and ashamed of having been so stupid as to trust him.