The beggar who told riddles

This story is about an old beggar who lived on the corner of a street. More than anything, he liked posing riddles to children. One day, he received an answer he had not expected.

Yagun was an old man who was extremely rich. He had acquired his wealth from a host of businesses that he had managed all his life. He was alone in this world as he had never married and did not have a family of his own. He had spent his entire life dedicating all his time and effort in running and expanding his business empire.

After several years of living a life of luxury, Yagun decided that it was now time for him to retire. He realized that he had earned more than enough and that earning more money did not arouse any more interest in him. Moreover, he always felt that the people who surrounded him ingratiated themselves with him. They did not necessarily love him or care for him; they behaved that way because they knew of his immense wealth and the clout he wielded in society.

One day, Yagun decided to sell all his businesses, put all his hard-earned money in a bank, and lead the life of a beggar. He decided to sit on the pavement or the corner of a street and sustain himself with the food that kind and compassionate passersby would give him. Every few months, Yagun would move to another neighborhood and select a new place so that he could meet new people. Although he liked meeting and talking to people, he loved, more than anything, interacting with the children in the neighborhood. He always found their approach to everything in life original and interesting. He would ask them to solve riddles and their answers would leave him amazed.  There was no right or wrong answer. Yagun encouraged the children to think in many directions and look for answers as he believed that they should explore all possibilities to find solutions to the problems he posed.

There was a certain rule that Yagun followed every time he decided to move to a new place. A few days before leaving, Yagun would ask the children, the ones who liked to stop by and talk to him, what they would like for themselves. He did that in the form of riddles. The children would ask for all sorts of things. like a pet, an Xbox, tickets to watch a movie or a game of soccer, money, and a host of other things. On the day he left a particular street corner, Yagun would buy all the things listed by the children and gift each one with what he or she desired.

One morning after sitting on a certain pavement for about two months, Yagun decided that it was time for him to move on. As always, he asked the children in the neighborhood what they wanted for themselves so that he could purchase the things for them. As the day progressed, he made a list of all the things that the children had asked for. As afternoon approached, he saw a young girl named Katu coming down the street. She was on her way back from school and stopped by Yagun. She smiled and asked Yagun, “How are you today?” Yagun answered, “I am fine dear, and thank you for asking. I have a new riddle for you today. If I were to ask you what you would like for yourself, and it can be anything, what would be your answer?”

Katu looked at Yagun. Suddenly, her smile disappeared and she seemed sad and worried. She told Yagun, “I would like you to have a home so that you would not have to live on the street and beg for food and shelter.” Yagun was astonished, as he had never heard such an answer from a child before. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He then smiled at Katu and asked for her full name.

The years rolled by and Katu turned 18. On her birthday, she received a letter stating that someone had left her a huge fortune, making her very rich. There was a small note attached to the letter, which was the only clue as to the identity of the benefactor. The note simply read, “Dearest Katu, I am leaving my fortune to the one that I know who will use it wisely.”

© 2019

Wind down, relax and increase awareness of the body and breathing.

Lie down on your back, relax your entire body, and make sure you are making no special effort. Scan your body from head to toes and observe the weight you apply on the bed with each part of your body.

[Do this for 15 seconds, in silence]

Now close your eyes and put two palms on your eyes, do not apply pressure on your eyes. It should be a light touch; feel that air can easily flow between your face and hands.

Now inhale through your nose and feel the air flowing in and filling up your body, and exhale through the nose, again noticing the air flowing out through the nostrils. Do this 3 times.

[Wait 15 seconds]

Now put your palms over your heart, letting your palms gently touch your chest.

Again, inhale through your nose, feel the air flowing in and filling up your body, then exhale through the nose, noticing the air flowing out through the nostrils. Do this 3 times.

[Wait 15 seconds]

Now put your palms over your belly; let your palms touch your belly lightly.

Again, inhale through your nose and feel the air flowing in and making your belly rise; now exhale through the nose, again noticing the air flowing out through the nostrils. Do this 3 times.

[Breathe 3 times like this]

Now, we shall begin our story…

© 2020

Focus awareness on how the story resonates within us. There are no right or wrong answers here, you can also just throw the questions into the air.

“You can always give something, even if it is only kindness” (Anne Frank) \n\nWhy do you think Yagun decided to live the life of a beggar?

What would you ask for if Yagun asked you what you wanted? \n\nWhat do you think Katu did with the money that Yagun gave her?

© 2020

Create awareness, clarity and calm. This practice is related to the story so as to make the practice easier for kids.

Imagine you are sitting on the corner of a crowded street on a small pillow. All around you, there are people walking to and fro, and on the road in front of you, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks and buses are rushing up and down.

You hear the roaring of the engines and the smell of burnt fuel mixed with delicious cooking smells from nearby restaurants.

You feel the hard concrete under you.

Although the surrounding is very noisy, inside, you feel calm and serene. You just focus on the road in front of you and gaze at the cars passing by. Try to keep your focus on the passing cars, observing them. While you do this, don’t forget to breathe.

From time to time, you will feel your attention drifting away from the road and cars, you might even be thinking of completely different things. If this happens, hold the thought that arose in your mind, put it in one of the cars that are passing by (maybe a taxi) and see how it drives away with your thought.

Do this for a while. Remember, every time you feel you have drifted away, gently put the thought in a car and see how it is driven away.

Do this for 30-60 seconds] \n\nNow bring your attention back to your bed, where you are lying down. Feel your body on the mattress.


© 2020

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