A sincere man's promise

This is an authentic story about two friends. One day a young man said to his good friend, “I can see that some day you will become great and rich.”

His friend scoffed, “Ridiculous! I will become a great man and a rich man!”

The first friend said, “Yes, I can see it. It is written on your forehead.”

The second one said, “All right, if I become great and rich, I will give you ten thousand rupees.”

“Do you really mean it?” the first friend asked. “If so, then write it down.”

The second one wrote down, “I will give you ten thousand rupees if ever I become rich and great,” and he signed his name.

The young man kept the note that his friend had written, but he never took his friend seriously. The agreement was made only by way of joke. Now, it happened that in ten or twelve years the one friend really did become rich and great, while the other unfortunately remained quite poor. By that time both friends had drifted apart and were leading their own lives. Even so, the one friend continued to preserve the note, although he felt that since it was a joke, he would never receive the money.

Quite unexpectedly, the poor man fell seriously ill. Just before he died, he called his son, who was only seven years old, and said to him, “My son, please bring me the box that is near the window. Inside it there is something very precious which I have kept for you.”

The son was so sad that his father was dying that he didn’t want to bring the box. He felt that nothing could be more precious than his father’s life. But the father insisted, so the son went and got the box. Then the father said, “When I die…” and immediately the little boy and his mother started crying. But the father continued, “After I die, you go to this man and show him what he has written.” The wife and son looked at the paper and were surprised to learn that the rich man had promised to give ten thousand rupees. But at that time they could not think of anything but their beloved one who was about to leave them.

Soon the man died. Friendship is such that the rich man, who was once his best friend, did not even come to see him before he left this world. But after three or four weeks’ time the son took the note to the rich man. By that time the rich man had many servants. At first the man’s servants didn’t want to allow this little boy to bother him. But finally, when they saw he was only an innocent child, they allowed him to come in.

The boy gave the rich man the note. The rich man read it and asked, “Did I write this?”

The boy said, “I do not know. Before he died, my father gave it to me to give you.” The son was practically crying.

The rich man summoned one of his secretaries and explained, “I promised this boy’s father many years ago that I would give him ten thousand rupees if I became rich and great. I can say that I have been rich for seven years; now you please calculate how much interest I have to give him in addition to the ten thousand rupees.”

The secretary told him, “Seven thousand rupees, which makes it seventeen thousand altogether.”

The rich man immediately issued a check for seventeen thousand rupees and gave it to the little boy, saying, “Take this directly to your mother. Don’t go anywhere else first.”

This is how one sincere man kept his promise.