It is believed that all our wealth and good fortune is bestowed on us by Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth. Some time, we strike a bad patch when nothing works which gives rise to unhappiness. This, people believe, is the work of Lakshmi’s sister, Daridra Lakshmi or Goddess of Misfortune.

One evening Lakshmi and Daridra Lakshmi went on a walk. They decided to have some fun. “Look at that trader, he is lighting a lamp to welcome me,” said Lakshmi. “Will he welcome me also, I wonder,” said Daridra lakshmi with a laugh. “Come, let’s find out,” said Lakshmi.

The trader was startled to see Lakshmi and her sister walking into his home. Together. He did his best to hide his feeling, and greeted them with a smile. “I wonder what brought you sisters to my humble abode,” said the trader.

“We had an argument,” said Lakshmi. “I told my sister, between us, I’m more beautiful.”

“And I disagree. I’m convinced I’m more beautiful than this sister of mine,” said Daridra Lakshmi.

Together they said with one voice,” So we want you to be the judge. Study us and tell us, who is more beautiful.”

The trader was taken aback at this request. He did not want to be caught in the feud between the two sisters. He was shrewd enough to realize that he could not make either of them unhappy. If he declared Lakshmi as more beautiful, it would make Daridra angry and she would camp in his house bringing him misfortune. If he declared Daridra Lakshmi as more beautiful, Lakshmi would walk out on him and with her would go away all the wealth he had earned.

The sisters knew what was going on in the trader’s mind. They wanted to push him to a corner and see how he would react.

“I think both of you are equally beautiful,” said the trader with a smile.

‘Don’t try to flatter us. Be impartial. Take your time. Judge us. And declare who is more beautiful,” they said.

“I mean it when I say both of you are equally beautiful. If you insist I must declare one of you as more beautiful, I’ve to study both of you carefully, very carefully,” said the trader.

He gazed at the two sisters. He studied them from different angles. He went round them.

“What’s your decision?” asked the sisters impatiently.

“I would like to study you as you walk, I want to observe your gait,” said the trader.

Turning to Lakshmi he said, “You please step out of the house for a while. As I ring this bell you may come in.” Then he turned to Daridra,” When I ring the bell, as Lakshmi walks in, I want you to turn your back and walk out of the house. Thus both of you will be face to face, one walking in and the other walking out.”

The two sisters got curious to know what the trader was going to find out. So they agreed. Lakshmi stepped out of the house. As the trader sounded the bell, Lakshmi walked in and at that precise moment, Daridra walked out of the house. Thus the two sisters came face to face as they walked past each other.

“Ah as I suspected,” said the trader with a sigh.

‘What did you find out?” asked the sisters eagerly.

“As I said both of you are equally beautiful. If one has to make the distinction, I can say Lakshmi looks a wee bit more beautiful as she walks in.” Hearing his words Lakshmi smiled and Daridra frowned. The traders spoke hurriedly, ”Wait. Let me complete what I was saying. Daridra Lakshmi, you look even more beautiful as you turn your back and walk out.”

Both the sisters burst out laughing. “We may be equally beautiful but for this small difference, as you say,” said Lakshmi. Daridra completed the sentence,” But you are more intelligent than us.”

The trader was relieved when Daridra lakshmi left him with a smile. To his delight Lakshmi stayed on.

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