There was a king who was deeply chagrined by the behavior of his ministers and courtiers. Whenever there was a banquet at the palace, he noticed that none of the nobles and aristocrats gathered together on the occasion, ever paused to offer a prayer to the Lord before eating their meals. Laughing and chatting, they just gulped down their food without any thought of thanks to the Provider.
The king decided to teach them a lesson. So he announced that a great feast- annadan – would be held at the palace for all the beggars and destitute in his kingdom.
Hundreds of them arrived at the palace on the appointed day. Some of them were unwashed, stinking; some of them were in rags. When the delicious food was set before them, they simply pounced on it! They pushed each other aside, grabbed whatever they wanted, ate as much as they could, helped themselves to more food which they could take away- and ignored the king, who looked on from his terrace.
The ministers and courtiers who had been invited to be present on the occasion, expressed their utter disgust at such behavior. “Such people should never have been invited to the palace!” they sneered.
“Something seems to trouble you,” observed the king mildly, to his nobles.
“Oh sire,” they complained volubly. “We are shocked at the ingratitude of these savage men! Not a word of thanks have they given to their king and sovereign, who has set such a feast before them!”
“Every day, the King of kings sets before us such a feast,” replied the king. “How many of us pause to thank the Lord, who is the provider of all food? Are we any better than these, whom you have called savages?”
The nobles bowed down their heads in shame.