This is a really good story from ancient Hindu Mythology.
Long long ago, there were was a biggest and powerful empire on earth. The king of this empire was a great person, a great warrior, great wise man and great king the same time. He was revered by all. He was King Pralhad. He was so honored and revered that the king of kingdom of gods became jealous of him.
One day the god-king disguised as an old beggar and traveled to the earth. He stood at the doors of the palace on the morning of one very auspicious day of the year. Kings were expected to give generous donations to the needy people on that day. So when the king Pralhad came out of the palace he saw a big line of people waiting for donation. The disguised king of gods was the last one in the line.
When everyone else in the line got pretty much what they wanted and left, the king of gods was the only one left.
“O King, Will you give me what I want?” He asked King Pralhad.
“Yes.” Said Pralhad.
“I want a promise that you will forfeit all the good things you have.” Demanded the king of Gods.
King Pralhad realized that he was tricked. But he had given his word on auspicious day. So he could not back off now.
“So be it.” He said.
The king of gods smiled and walked away.
That night king Pralhad went to bed wondering what would happen to him now that he had given away all his good things. Thinking, he fell asleep.
He woke up with a sight of brilliant light. That light was coming out of his body. Slowly that light left his body and took a shape of a woman. She started going away.
“Wait. Who are you? And why are you leaving my body?” Asked Pralhad.
The beautiful and radiant woman turned around and looked at him.
“I am the goddess of wealth. Today you gave away all good things you have. Now I have to leave you.”
King Pralhad nodded and waved goodbye. Slowly going away, she disappeared.
Next morning King Pralhad found that a big fraud had occured and he had to give up all his wealth. He had to leave palace and gardens and move to a simple hut.
That night he saw another radiant woman leaving his body. Upon asking, she said she was goddess of power and she was leaving now. Pralhad thanked he for being with him so far and waved her goodbye. The next day King Pralhad was stripped off of his throne. Then later that night he dreamed the goddess of fame leaving him and then suddenly people forgot who he was and kicked him away from the city. He had to take refuge in the jungle. In the forthcoming days, the goddesses of health, the goddesss of luck and the goddess of knowledge left him. He asked those goddesses to be merciful to his kingdom and he let them all go.
A strong, wise and just king of a large emperor, within matter of days was left a destitute person , old and shaky, not able to recognize himself in the mirror. It was like all the worst possible calamities joined hands and attacked him.
Then one night, while Pralhad was sleeping under a tree in remote jungle, alone and hungry. He again he saw a brilliant glow coming out of his body and it morphed into the most beautiful goddess he had seen so far. Barely able to speak, he asked her who she was.
“I am the goddess of character. I am leaving you now, as you promised to give everything away.”
With much efforts, Pralhad got up.
“If you are the goddess of character, I don’t want you to go. Please stay with me.” He pleaded.
“But how can that be? You gave promise.”
“I was tricked. And if by keeping you I am breaking the promise, so be it. I will burn in hell for some time. But if I have you, if I have my character, I will know how to get out of the darkest hell.” Pralhad argued.
The goddess was adamant on leaving. But Pralhad pleaded and prayed. He argued with her for seven days and nights. At last she agreed. She smiled and entered again in Pralhad’s heart on the dawn of eighth day.
Wary and tired he slept through the day. And when night came, he was awakened by a strong brilliant light again. He saw that it was goddess of knowledge.
“I am the daughter of goddesss of character. I always like to stay with my mother.” She said and smiled and entered his body.
Then came the goddess of power. She said she was daughter of goddess of character too and wants to stay with her mother.
And then came the goddess of health. She said she was the daughter of goddess of knowledge and always likes to live by her mother. Then came the goddess of fame and glory.
One by one they all came, explained their relation to the goddess of character and entered the body of Pralhad.
Soon he got back his kingdom, his wealth, his power and he was emperor Pralhad again.
Moral of the story: Those who will manage to retain their character in the bad times, will evantually get everything back. If you have character, it’s only a matter of time.