Jyeshthadevi, goddess of poverty, and Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, once had an argument about who was more beautiful.
As they were arguing, they saw a merchant coming towards them and decided to ask him to settle the matter.
The merchant was filled with awe when they told him who they were, but he turned pale when they told him what they wanted him to do.
It was plain to him that Lakshmi was the more beautiful of the two, but how could he tell Jyeshthadevi that?
She would be furious and would probably reduce him to poverty. But he was a clever man and quickly gathering his wits, said:
“O Lakshmi, you are more beautiful than any other woman on earth or in heaven when you’re entering a house, but you, O Jyeshthadevi, words fail to describe your grace and elegance when you are leaving.
There is none to compare with you in beauty then.”
It was a judgement that pleased both the contestants because each thought she had been adjudged the winner.
But the real winner, of course, was the merchant.
He had won the favour of the goddess of plenty without displeasing her powerful rival!!