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Once Wealth and Poverty approached a merchant and introduced themselves as Goddesses. The merchant offered his salutations to both of them and said: "May I know what brings you to my humble tenement?" The Goddess of Wealth said: "We want you to judge and tell us as to who is more beautiful between us two?"
The merchant was in a fix. He knew he was between the devil and the deep sea. If he were to declare wealth as more beautiful than poverty, poverty would curse him. If he were to declare poverty as more beautiful, than wealth, wealth would forsake him. However, he regained his composure and said: "I have great respect for you both. Would you please act according to my instructions? Then only I can judge properly." The Goddesses agreed. He said: "Mother wealth, would you please go to the entrance (gates) and walk into the house? Mother, poverty! Would you please walk from here towards the gates? I can have a good look at you both, from near and far." The two Goddesses did walk as the merchant wished them to. Then the merchant happily declared: "Mother wealth! You appear very beautiful when you enter the house. Mother poverty! You look very beautiful when you leave the house!" The Goddesses appreciated the wit and wisdom of the merchant. The Goddess of wealth happily stayed in his house while the Goddess of poverty cheerfully walked away.
When a serious problem confronts us, if we look within and think calmly, a ray of hope and light will beam forth and show us the way.
Source: Chinna Katha II, 61