King Firuzshah's generosityOnce the throne of Bengal was occupied by a king named Firuzshah, who came from Abyssinia. He ruled Bengal with great kindness and generosity. He was especially kind to the poor and was always giving them alms, irrespective of their caste. Even if people were only pretending to be poor, the king would still give them money. When his ministers objected, he would say, “If they say they are poor, what can I do?” His ministers didn’t like his generosity and were always trying to save money. But the king would not listen to them.
Once King Firuzshah told his ministers that he wanted to give a very large amount of money to the poor. The ministers were very shocked. They said to one another, “Perhaps he does not know how much he really loses when he gives away his wealth!” So they brought all the gold coins and jewels that were supposed to be distributed that day to one of the rooms in the palace. Then they invited the king to come and see the wealth. They said to him, “O King, you always want to give away expensive things to the poor. We are happy that this time you will be giving away such a large amount of money.”
In the back of their minds they thought that when the king saw all the wealth in one room, he would be surprised and shocked at how much he was giving away. They thought he would say, “So much wealth I am giving away? No, I cannot give so much. Give only a quarter of this or half of this.” In this way they felt they would be able to stop the king from distributing so much money to the poor.
O God, instead the king said, “You fools, at least four times this wealth I want to give to the poor. Four times this amount will please me.”
Then the king ordered them to give away four times more than they had collected in the room.