The Brown Fairy Book
Story of Wali Dad the Simple-Hearted
Once upon a time there lived a poor old man whose name was Wali Dad Gunjay, or Wali
Dad the Bald. He had no relations, but lived all by himself in a little mud hut some
distance from any town, and made his living by cutting grass in the jungle, and selling it
as fodder for horses. He only earned by this five halfpence a day; but he was a simple old
man, and needed so little out of it, that he saved up one halfpenny daily, and spent the
rest upon such food and clothing as he required.
In this way he lived for many years until, one night, he thought that he would count the
money he had hidden away in the great earthen pot under the floor of his hut. So he set to
work, and with much trouble he pulled the bag out on to the floor, and sat gazing in
astonishment at the heap of coins which tumbled out of it. What should he do with them
all? he wondered. But he never thought of spending the money on himself, because he
was content to pass the rest of his days as he had been doing for ever so long, and he
really had no desire for any greater comfort or luxury.
At last he threw all the money into an old sack, which he pushed under his bead, and
then, rolled in his ragged old blanket, he went off to sleep.
Early next morning he staggered off with his sack of money to the shop of a jeweller,
whom he knew in the town, and bargained with him for a beautiful little gold bracelet.
With this carefully wrapped up in his cotton waistband he went to the house of a rich
friend, who was a travelling merchant, and used to wander about with his camels and
merchandise through many countries. Wali Dad was lucky enough to find him at home,
so he sat down, and after a little talk he asked the merchant who was the most virtuous
and beautiful lady he had ever met with. The merchant replied that the princess of
Khaistan was renowned everywhere as well for the beauty of her person as for the
kindness and generosity of her disposition.
'Then,' said Wali Dad, 'next time you go that way, give her this little bracelet, with the
respectful compliments of one who admires virtue far more than he desires wealth.'
With that he pulled the bracelet from his waistband, and handed it to his friend. The
merchant was naturally much astonished, but said nothing, and made no objection to
carrying out his friend's plan.
Time passed by, and at length the merchant arrived in the course of his travels at the
capital of Khaistan. As soon as he had opportunity he presented himself at the palace, and
sent in the bracelet, neatly packed in a little perfumed box provided by himself, giving at
the same time the message entrusted to him by Wali Dad.
The princess could not think who could have bestowed this present on her, but she bade
her servant to tell the merchant that if he would return, after he had finished his business