Introduction

When a man helps a sick stranger and entrusts him with an amount, the result surprises him.

Crippling Cholera

It was the mango season the hottest time of the year when Cholera is always at its worst. At the Samaria Ghat, the narrator met a man violently sick with cholera. The man was travelling alone and had no friends in the locality. The narrator helped him and took the stranger to his bungalow. The narrator was philanthropic, having helped many Cholera patients. He believed that many people died not because of Cholera but the fear it instigated. Only the narrator’s crude treatment and the man’s fate would be able to cure him.

The first night was difficult, but by morning the man had recovered, and things only got better from there. The stranger was able to narrate his story by the end of a week. He was a Lala, a merchant who had owned a successful grain business. However, after being duped by his partner, he lost all of his earnings. He was able to maintain himself and his son with the help of a job he obtained, which earned him 7 rupees each month. While on his way from Muzaffarpur to Gaya, he was taken ill on the train. He crawled ashore to die on the banks of the sacred Ganges.

After a month of lodging, Lalajee asked for permission to carry on to Gaya. Lalajee desired to revive his business, but he lacked the capital to do so. While Lalajee waited in the veranda to bid farewell, the narrator handed him a ticket to Gaya and five one-hundred-rupee notes. Lalajee was taken aback by the narrator’s compassionate gesture. He threw himself at the feet of the narrator and pledged to pay back the money in a year. And so Lalajee left taking with him the greater part of the narrator’s savings.

A Poor Man’s Promise

The poor in India never forget a kind deed, so the narrator was sure they would cross paths again. However, he was not confident that Lalajee would be able to fulfil his promise because it was outside of his capabilities. He was shown to be mistaken in this. During one late-night return, the narrator noticed Lalaji waiting on his veranda just a few days before the time limit he had set for himself. His entrepreneurial endeavours were a huge success. In a little under a year, he had managed to get his son into a respectable school and even marry the daughter of a wealthy Patna merchant. 

As the time drew near for Lalajee’s train to leave, he returned the five hundred rupees along with twenty-five per cent interest that he owed the narrator. The narrator, however, deprived Lalajee of half the pleasure he had anticipated from his visit when he told Lalajee that it was against his morale to accept interest from friends. Before leaving Lalajee made an oath that he would always be present at the narrator’s feet if the narrator ever needed any help. From Lalajee’s garden, the narrator received a large basket of the finest mangoes every year for 11 years, till he departed Mokameh Ghat.

Conclusion

Any act of kindness goes a long way. The narrator not only cured a sick man but also revived the spirits of a desolate merchant and helped him make a living and become independent once again.