I am now an old coin and have been in circulation for many, many years. I am worn out now and the lion’s head on my face is very faint. But I still remember my early youth when I was in the government treasury, with my bright companions.

I shone brightly then and the lion’s head glittered brightly. My active life began when I was paid out from the counter of a bank, along with other new rupees, to a gentleman who got a cheque encashed.

I went off jingling in his pocket, but I was not there for long, as he gave me to a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper looked pleased when he had me in his hand, and said, “I have not seen a new rupee for some time“, and he banged me against his counter to see if I was genuine.

I gave out such a clear ringing note that he picked me up and threw me into a drawer along with a lot of other coins. I soon found we were in a mixed company.

I took notice of the greasy copper coins, as I knew they were of low caste; and I was condescending to the small change knowing that I was twice as valuable as the best of them, the fifty paise coins, and a hundred times better than the cheeky little paisa.

But I found a number of rupees of my own rank but none so new and bright as I was. Some of them were jealous of my smart appearance and made nasty remarks, but one very old rupee was kind to me and gave me good advice.

He told me I must respect old rupees and always keep the small change in their place. A rupee is always a rupee, however old and worn, he advised. Our conversation was interrupted by the opening of the drawer, and I was given out to a young lady, from whose hands I slipped and fell into a gutter.

Eventually, a very dirty and ragged boy picked me up, and for some time thereafter that I was in very low company passing between poor people and small shopkeepers in dirty little streets.

But at last, I got into good society, and most of my time I have been in the pocket and purses of the rich. I have lived an active life and never rested for long anywhere.

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