A student was one day taking a walk with a professor. The Professor was commonly called the students’ friend because of his kindness and patience in dealing with them.
It was nearing the end of day. The student turned to the professor, saying: “Let us play a trick on the man who must be nearly finishing his day’s work. We will hide his shoes, and conceal ourselves behind those bushes, and wait to see his perplexity when he cannot find them.”
“My young friend,” answered the professor, “we should never amuse ourselves at the expense of someone. But you are rich, and may give yourself a much greater pleasure which means a lot to the poor man. Put a coin into each shoe, and then we will hide ourselves and watch how the discovery affects him.”
The student did so and they both hid themselves behind the bushes close by.
The poor man soon finished his work, and came across the field to the path where he had left his coat and shoes.
While putting on his coat he slipped his foot into one of his shoes; but feeling something hard, he stooped down to feel what it was, and found the coin. His face glowed with astonishment and wonder. He gazed upon the coin, turned it round, and looked at it again and again. He then looked around him on all sides, but no person was to be seen. He put the money into his pocket and then began to slip his other foot into the remaining shoe. Imagine how his surprise was doubled on finding the other coin.
His feelings overcame him. He fell upon his knees, looked up to heaven and uttered aloud a fervent thanksgiving. He spoke of his sick and helpless wife, his children without bread and gratitude to the generous person who had gifted him the timely bounty. His family was saved from perishing by an unknown hand.
The student stood there deeply affected, his eyes filled with tears. “Now,” said the professor, “are you not much better pleased than if you had played your intended trick?”
The youth replied, “You have taught me a lesson which I will never forget. I feel now the truth of those words, which I never understood before:
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’