There was an aimless mendicant,
by Rajaram Ramachandran
Up and down, he daily went,
With a bowl in his arms,
To beg for his assorted alms.
As dame luck did smile,
One day, by chance, he met awhile,
A stranger, with a golden beard,
Whose mysterious voice, he heard.
That anyone, wished, could turn,
His long grown hair golden,
Just for a decade of penance,
Done with all his reverence.
The mendicant, with a lust for gold,
Did his penance, as was told,
And every hair up that grew,
Became gold, it was true.
As the final day of harvest arrived,
He got all his hairs neatly shaved,
When threads of gold fell around,
But Lo! All his own, the barber claimed.
The mendicant claimed, in turn,
That the treasure was his own,
For he wished to stay in peace,
With his gold, at one place.
The dispute went to the Royal Court,
Where His Highness heard their report,
And delivered his judgement,
To the barber’s meriment.
That, by custom, barbers take,
The shaven hairs, anything to make,
But he felt for the mendicant’s plight,
Who laboured for pittance, day and night.
The King declared a reward,
Of the same weight of gold,
Also chiding the mendicant, in need,
To do better things, in deed.