It is believed that all our wealth and good fortune is bestowed on us by Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth. Howeaver, sometimes, we strike a bad patch when nothing works in our favour. This 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 at his house to welcome me,” said Lakshmi. “I wonder if he will welcome me too,” 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 feelings, 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, that I am more beautiful than her.”

“And I disagree. I’m convinced that I’m more beautiful than her,” said Daridra Lakshmi.

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

The trader was taken aback at this request. He did not want to be caught in the middle of this argument. He knew that he could not make either of them unhappy. If he declared Lakshmi as more beautiful, it would make Daridra Lakshmi angry. She would then refuse to leave his house, bringing him misfortune. If he declared Daridra Lakshmi as more beautiful, Lakshmi would walk out of the house. And he would lose all the wealth he had earned.

“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. But if you insist that I choose one of you, then I need you to do something for me,” said the trader. Turning to Lakshmi he said, “Will you please step out of the house for a while. Please come in when I ring a bell.”

Then he turned to Daridra, “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 were 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 is it? Do you know which one of us is more beautiful,” asked the sisters eagerly.

“As I said both of you are equally beautiful. But Lakshmi looks a wee bit more beautiful when she walks into the house.” 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 of the house.”

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 few can match your intelligence.”

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

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