ANNABHARA, the slave of Sumana, having just cut the grass on the meadow, saw a samana with his bowl begging for food. Throwing down his bundle of hay he ran into the house and returned with the rice that had been provided for his own food. The samana ate the rice and gladdened him with words of religious comfort.
The daughter of Sumana having observed the scene from a window called out: “Good! Annabhara, good! Very good!” Sumana hearing these words inquired what she meant, and on being informed about Annabhara’s devotion and the words of comfort he had received from the samana, went to his slave and offered him money to divide the bliss of his offering. “My lord, said Annabhara, let me first ask the venerable man.” And approaching the samana, he said: “My master has asked me to share with him the bliss of the offering I made you of my allowance of rice. Is it right that I should divide it with him?”
The samana replied in a parable. He said: “In a village of one hundred houses a single light was burning. Then a neighbor came with his lamp and lit it; and in this same way the light was communicated from house to house and the brightness in the village was increased. Thus the light of religion may be diffused without stinting him who communicates it. Let the bliss of your offering also be diffused. Divide it.”
Annabhara returned to his master’s house and said to him: “I present you, my lord, with a share of the bliss of my offering. Deign to accept it.” Sumana accepted it and offered his slave a sum of money, but Annabhara replied: “Not so, my lord; if I accept your money it would appear as if I sold you my share. Bliss cannot be sold; I beg you will accept it as a gift.” The master replied: “Brother Annabhara, from this day forth you shall be free. Live with me as my friend and accept this present as a token of my respect.”
The author of this story is unknown and greatly appreciated!