Navoi and the Builder

Once there was a young man who earned his living as a builder. He was a very kind young man, and each day on his way to work he would settle arguments between people in the street, and if someone had some kind of difficulty he would always help them. Alisher Navoi, the great distinguished poet, seeing that the young man had such a character, would always try to greet him first, which is a sign of great respect and honor in this land. The young man was surprised that Navoi had such a kind attitude toward him.

One day the builder thought, "I always help people to settle their arguments, and I always help them pull their wagons out of the mud, but I've never prayed five times each day, and I have never kept the fast, why is it that such a fine citizen as Alisher Navoi always shows me so much respect? There is no reason for it by the way I spend my life."

Then, in order to be worthy of so great an honor, he said to himself, "I have no family, why do I need the world?" So he raised his hands to God, and became a believer. Every day, he would sit in the mosque and pray, never speaking to anyone as they passed.

One day, as the young builder was holding the prayer beads, Navoi was passing by the mosque with a young follower, and the builder thought, "Oh, Navoi can see the future. He knew that one day I would become a religious man". And, thinking of this, he stood up, bowed, and greeted Navoi, but Navoi didn't look at him, and, indeed seemed not even to notice him. The young man excused this. He thought, perhaps, it was because the poet was talking to his young companion, that he paid no attention. After several days, Navoi passed by the mosque again. The young man again stood up and greeted him with a low bow, but again the poet paid no attention. After several days, Navoi passed by the mosque again. The young man again stood up and greeted him with a low bow, but again the poet paid no attention.

The young man was surprised and asked, "Oh, my Lord, you always greeted me before, when I was not praying - when I was always among the people. But now when I am praying from morning to night, and I greet you, you simply ignore me. What is the reason?"

"Oh, my son," said Navoi, "when you were among the people, you helped them, but now from morning to night you are only living from the alms of the people. This is the reason I pay no attention to you." His words went to the heart of the young builder, who again took up his former life.

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