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The Paper Lantern

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Lora, there lived a kind and intelligent merchant Apollo. He can solve any problem in twinkling of an eye. People come to him to solve their problems. 

He also helps the poor and needy by lending some money along with food and water.

He spent his day doing his business and helping the people. In the evenings, he spent his time leisurely by going for a walk in his garden. His garden is full of bright and fragrance smelling flowers. In the middle of a garden, there was a small bench made of marble where he sit and enjoy the peaceful environment.

One day, as he was relaxing in his garden , he heard some cries near his home. He stood up at once and went to see, where it come from. As soon as he reached outside, he saw a small crowd witnessing an old man whipped by the royal general. 

Apollo approach towards the general and said, " Sir, why are you beating this old man."

The royal general said," this old man has committed a crime by robbing a oil lamp from the king's palace. Hence he should be punished."

Apollo then ask the old man why he had robbed the oil lamp, to this the old man said," Respected sir, I have not committed any robbery. I had only taken this old lamp for helping my wife in her chores. You see, I am a very old man and I am suffering from many ailments. Due to this my wife have to do night chores in order to earn money. Since she is unable to do her chores at the night given by the landlords,she was paid very poorly and due to this the whole family was driven to poverty. We are unable to by an oil lamp as it is costly in the market. Hence I have taken this old oil lamp from the palace."

After hearing the old man story, everyone showed compassion towards him including Apollo. Apollo request the royal general to end the punishment. The royal general accepted his request and left the old man. 

Apollo gave some money and food to the old man. The old man is very happy and showed gratitude for his kindness. The people who witnessed this scene appreciated Apollo for his kindness.

As days passed by, he became famous all over the kingdom. His fame also reaches the king's ears. King Brandon of Lora wants to test Apollo by conducting a challenge. He sends an invitation to Apollo through his messenger.

The messenger reaches the merchant house and says," The king orders you to meet his presence immediately."

The merchant was surprised by the sudden order from the king. He thought about it and gladly receives his order.

The messenger leads him to the royal court. 

Apollo greets the king. The king says," I have heard many stories about your kind and intelligent nature from my people. So I want to prove your nature by conducting a challenge. The challenge will be organised tomorrow. For now, take rest in the royal guest room."

Apollo accepts his offer. 

The next day, the king summons Apollo and says," Look here,  young man, I want you to bring the fire in the paper.  I will give you one day time. If you pass you will be rewarded and if you fail, you will be thrown into prison."

The ministers present in the court were shocked to hear the tricky challenge except for Apollo. The ministers claimed the king with their reasons that there is no solution to this problem. This challenge is impossible to solve and so on.  But the king didn't change his challenge.

Apollo hears their impossibility but didn't lose hope. Instead, he gladly accepts the challenge and left.

He thought about it while going to his home. As he reached his home, an idea struck to him.

That night he tried to make a paper lantern but failed. Though his efforts failed he didn't give up. He tried and tried without losing hope, at last, made a creative lantern with a small candle in the middle.

The next morning, Apollo went to the palace to show his solution to the king. The king was impressed with his solution but the king asked him a question. “What is the use of this lantern? It is a short-lived than the original lamp." 

To this Apollo said," Your majesty, as for your challenge, I came up with an effective solution to the problem faced in the kingdom. Your majesty, as you know our kingdom struggles due to a hike in the cost of the lamps made by other kingdoms. I came up with this solution, though it is short-lived, this lantern is cost-effective and is available to everyone. 

One can make their own lanterns and there will be no problem with light during the night. Even this lantern will serve a lot to the poor and needy." 

The king was impressed with his answer and said, “You’re really very intelligent man. You have used your kindness and intelligence to solve the challenge.  Henceforth, you will be given the status of chief minister in my kingdom. I will also reward you with 6000 gold coins."

The king rewards Apollo with 6000 gold coins. The king also makes a decision that paper lanterns will be used in place of lamps. This decision brought happiness among the people especially the poor and needy,

Thus Apollo passed the challenge by showing his intelligence and kindness towards others. 

Moral: Don't lose hope amid the storm.

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