Comment on any post this week or from last Thursday, Friday or Saturday to enter. The more times you comment the more likely your chance at winning.
The winner will be announced on Satuday, May 29th.
And speaking of giveaways, here's a story about a man who had no luck at all giving something away:
WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED
Based on the story from Andrew Lang's Brown Fairy Book
Once there lived a poor man whose name was Wali Dad Gunjay, or Wali Dad the Bald. He lived all by himself in a mud hut and made his living by cutting grass to sell as fodder for horses. He only earned five halfpence a day. But he needed little to live, so he was able to save one halfpenny daily. This was his life for many years.
Then one night he thought, "I should count all the money I have saved. I wonder how much it might be?" He had hidden his savings in an earthen pot under the floor. He pulled the pot out and looked at the pile of coins that poured out onto his floor.
"What riches! What can I do with all this money? I already have everything I need."
He put the money into a cloth bag and put it under his pillow. The next day he went to a jewellers shop and purchased a gold bracelet. He wrapped the bracelet in cloth and tied the cloth around his waist like a belt. Then he went off to visit a friend who was a rich merchant.
Wali Dad sat down to visit and after a while he asked the merchant who was the most virtuous and beautiful lady he knew.
'That is easy," said the merchant. "The princess of Khaistan is well known for both her beauty and her generosity."
" When you see her again, would you give her this little bracelet, and tell her it is from a man who admires virtue more than he desires wealth." Walie Dad pulled the bracelet from his belt and handed it to his friend.
"I will do this for you," said the merchant.
One day the merchant visited Khaistan. He sent the bracelet, with Wali Dad's message to the princess. The princes sent back a reply that the merchant must stop to visit her again before he left the city. As he was leaving town the merchant came back,and the princess presented him with a return gift-- a camel loaded with rich silks, and some money for himself.
The merchant took the princess's gift to Wali Dad.
"Oh my!" cried Wali Dad. "I have no use for such riches. Do you know of some young prince who might be in need of them?"
"Well," said the merchant, "I know many princes. But there is no one more worthy than the young prince of Nekabad."
"Please, take take the silks to him, with my blessing," said Wali Dad.
The merchant did as Wali Dad requested and the prince, as you might have guessed, sent back an even richer gift--twelve fine horses, and a gift of money for the merchant for his services.
The merchant took the twelve horses to Wali Dad.
"Goodness," said Wali Dad when he saw the horses coming, "a caravan is cominf! They will a lot of hay to feed that many horses!" Of course, the horses were for him.
When he learned this, Wali Dad thought for a moment and then told the merchant, "Keep two of the horses for yourself, and take the others to the princess of Khaistan."
The merchant agreed to follow Wali Dad's instructions. This time the princess sent for the merchant, and asked him, "Who is sending me these wonderful gifts?"
The merchant replied, "It is one who has heard of your goodness and beauty and wants to send to you the best he has to offer." How could he tell her that the gifts actually came from an old many whose only income was 5 half-pence a day? She would never believe that!
The princess went to her father and told him about the gifts she had received. "What shall I do, father?"
"Well," said the king, "You cannot refuse them. The best thing you can do is to send this unknown friend a present so magnificent that he is not likely to be able to send you anything better, and so will be ashamed to send anything at all!" The king ordered twenty mules laden with silver be sent back to the unknown giver of gifts.
Suddenly the merchant found himself in charge of a splendid caravan.
"Well, now," cried Wali Dad, when he saw the caravan at his door, "Please my friend, take six of these mules for your troubles, and the rest straight to Nekabad."
The prince was so embarrassed by this expensive gift that he questioned the merchant closely about the giver. The merchant did not think the prince would believe that Wali Dad was just a poor old man, so he made up a story about Wali Dad's riches. The prince made up a caravan on twenty horses dressed in gold embroidered cloths with fine leather saddles and silver bridles and stirrups. He added twenty of his best camels and twenty elephants, with magnificent silver howdahs and dressings of silk embroidered with pearls. The merchant hired many men to help him with these animals and people came out from everywhere to watch as the rich caravan passed by.
When Wali Dad saw the cloud of dust approaching he thought, "A great caravan is coming! They will buy much grass!"He hurried off to cut more grass, but when he got back he found the caravan had stopped at his door, and the merchant congratulated him on his new riches.
"Riches!' cried Wali Dad. "What has an old man like me with one foot in the grave need riches for? Please take for yourself two horses, two camels, and two elephants, with all their trappings, and take the rest to the princess."
"Wali Dad," said the merchant, "Thank you for your generosity to me. This is becoming embarrassing to me to be paid so richly for carrying your gifts to the princess and the prince. Please, I will go one last time but that is the end."
"Very well," said Wali Dad. So, after a few days' rest the caravan started off once more for Khaistan. As soon as the king of Khaistan saw the many animals and the men entering his palace courtyard, he hurried down in to see what it was all about. He was astounded to learn that these were a gift for his daughter from the great Wali Dad.
The king hurried to his daughter. "I can only think this means one thing--this man wants to marry you! We must go to visit him. Such a wealthy man surely would be a fine husband for you."
"Yes, father," said the princess. "I admit I am curious to know who he is and where he lives. We should go see him at once. The merchant can be our guide."
Can you imagine how the merchant felt? He would have gladly run away but there was no chance to do that. How could he explain to these people that Wali Dad was just an old man living in a hut? As the caravan traveled, the merchant tried desperately to find a way out of his situation. He laid awake at night, thinking he would surely be executed for his part.
When they were only one day's travel from Wali Dad's home, the merchant was sent to tell Wali Dad that the King and Princess of Khaistan were coming to visit. The merchant arrived and told Wali Dad all that had happened. "What shall we do?" the merchant wailed.
"My friend, I have put you in this position, and for that I am sorry. I must think of a some way to tell the king and his daughter what I have done. Please, go back and ask them for one more day that I might find some way out of my foolishness."
As soon as the merchant left Wali Dad decided that there was only one way out of the shame and distress he had created--to kill himself. So that night he went to a place where the river wound along at the base of steep rocky cliffs and determined to throw himself down and end to his life. When he got to the place he drew back a little and began to run toward the cliff, but at the very edge he stopped. He could not do it!
He sat with his hands over his face in the darkness, until a soft light made him pull his hands away. Was it already morning? But there before him he saw two lovely beings he knew immediately were not of earth. "These must be Peris from Paradise!" he thought.
"Why do you weep, old man?" said one.
"I weep for shame," said Wali Dad.
"What are you doing here?" asked the other.
"I came here to die," said Wali Dad. And he told them his story.
Then the first stepped forward and laid a hand upon Wali Dad's shoulder, and his old cotton rags changed to linen and embroidered cloth; on his hard, bare feet were warm, soft shoes, and on his head a great jewelled turban. Round his neck there lay a heavy golden chain, and the little old bent sickle, which he cut grass with, and which hung in his waistband, had turned into a gorgeous scimitar, whose ivory hilt gleamed in the pale light like snow in moonlight.
As he stood wondering, the other peri waved her hand; and, there before him a shining gateway stood open. The peris led him up a broad avenue and on the very spot where his hut had stood, a gorgeous palace appeared, ablaze with lights. There were hurrying servants and guards pacing to and fro who saluted him respectfully. There were grassy walks and lawns where fountains were playing and flowers bloomed. Wali Dad stood stunned and helpless.
"Fear not," said one of the peris. "Go to your house, and learn that God rewards the simple-hearted."
With these words the peris disappeared. Wali Dad was sure he was dreaming as he walked into a room more beautiful than any he had seen, and he soon went to sleep.
If Wali Dad was amazed, imagine the the merchant, who came to see him just after sunrise!
"I have not slept all night," the merchant said. "I did not know what we should do, and now I see this!"
Wali Dad told his friend about what happened during the night. "Invite the king and princess of Kaistan and all their train to come to my home--even the lowliest of their servants should come."
For three nights and days a great feast was held in honor of the royal guests. On the fourth day the king of Khaistan took Wali Dad aside, and asked him if he wished to marry his daughter.
"I thank you for the compliment," said Wali Dad, "but I am much too old and ugly for such a lady as your daughter; but stay a while, I will invite my friend the Prince of Nekabad to visit us. I am sure he will want to try to win your daughter's hand."
"Very well," said the king. "I would like to meet anyone who is your friend, Wali Dad."
You know how this story will end: the prince and princess were married, and Wali Dad lived to the end of his days continuing to help all who were in trouble. And he remained always the simple-hearted and generous man that he had been he was only Wali Dad Gunjay, the grass cutter.
You can find a retelling of this story for children in a picture book by storyteller and author Aaron Shepard.