TWO SHORT AND STIRRING STORIES
Loving Sai Ram, and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. For
a change, this Sunday, we offer you two stories relating to the famous
Stanford University in America . Each has its own lesson for us. Here is the
A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun
threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without
an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office. The
Secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no
business at Harvard.
“We want to see the President,” the man said softly.
“He'll be busy all day,” the Secretary snapped.
“We'll wait,” the lady replied.
After many hours, Secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb
“Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave,” she said to him.
He sighed in exasperation and nodded. The President, stern faced and with
dignity, strutted toward the couple.
The lady told him, “We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved
Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally
killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on
The President wasn't touched.... He was shocked. “Ma'am,” he said, gruffly,
“we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If
we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”
“Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly. “We don't want to erect a statue. We
thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."
The President rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun
suit, and then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much
a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the
physical buildings here at Harvard."
For a moment, the lady was silent. She turned to her husband and said
quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a University? Why don't we just
start our own?"
Her husband nodded. The President's face wilted in confusion and
Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, travelling to Palo
Alto, California, where they established the University that bears their
name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared
You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who
they think can do nothing.
Here is the second story.
Many years ago two boys were working their way through Stanford University.
Their funds got desperately low, and the idea came to them to engage the
famous pianist Ignacy Paderewski for a piano recital. They would use the
funds to help pay their board and tuition.
The great pianist’s manager asked for a guarantee of $2000. The guarantee
was a lot of money in those days, but the boys agreed and proceeded to
promote the concert. They worked hard, only to find that they had grossed
After the concert, the two boys told the great artist the bad news. They
gave him the entire $ 1600, along with a promissory note for $400,
explaining that they would earn the amount at the earliest possible moment
and send the money to him. It looked like the end of their college careers.
“No, boys,” replied Paderewski, “that won’t do”. Then, tearing the note in
two, he returned the money to them as well. “Now,” he told them, “take out
of this $1600 all of your expenses and keep for each of you 10 percent of
the balance for your work. Let me have the rest."
The years rolled by. World War I came and went. Paderewski, now premier of
Poland, was striving to feed thousands of starving people in his native
land. The only person in the world who could help him was Herbert Hoover,
who was in charge of the US Food and Relief Bureau. Hoover responded and
soon thousands of tons of food were sent to Poland.
After the starving people were fed, Paderewski journeyed to Paris to thank
Hoover for the relief sent by him. “That’s all right, Mr Paderewski,” was
Hoover’s reply. “Besides, you don’t remember it, but you helped me once when
I was a student at college, when I was in trouble."
We seldom realise that when we help others, the Good Lord will make sure
that in due course we are amply rewarded.
H2H wishes to thank Mr. Sanjay Tandon for the above stories.
Till we meet again next Sunday. Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,