Young Sudha is sent on a mission to bring some water back to her to drought-rought village. She brings back much more.
Once upon a time, in a remote corner of Kerala, there lived a woman named Valsala, and her seven-year-old daughter, Sudha. They were not rich, but they were contented with their lot. Valsala worked as a washer-woman at the houses of her richer neighbours. Whatever spare time she had was spent with Sudha, showering her with love and attention. Ever since Valsala's husband passed away, she had taken extra pains to see that her daughter did not lack love, even though she could not afford to give Sudha toys. Valsala made up for it by dipping into the rich treasure-trove of scriptural lore and feeding young Sudha with stories of kindness, heroism and honesty. Thus Sudha, though young, imbibed wonderful values and ideals.
A few years later, drought visited the land. Wells dried up, streams evaporated, grass shrivelled and rice fields withered. The lush and green landscape turned bare and brown.
Valsala, due to the strain of finding work during such hard times, fell ill. Seeing this, Sudha became worried. "I must help my mother. I shall try to find some drinking water for her." Entrusting her mother to the care of a kind neighbour, Sudha set off, with only a tiny vessel in her hand.
Sudha walked past dried-up river beds where buffaloes used to bathe, past what used to be a fruit orchard, and along a trail that led up a mountain. On and on she trudged, hoping to find a spring. At about noon, she saw fresh water trickling down a rock. Sudha carefully held the tiny vessel below the rock until it became filled with water.
Then, Sudha started walking back home, all the while making sure that not even a single drop of water fell out of the vessel. When she reached the foot of the hill, she saw a puppy. It was struggling to walk, and its tongue was hanging out. "You poor thing," uttered Sudha. "I must give you some water to drink.
I am sure that there will enough left for my mother." Saying so, Sudha poured some water into her palm. The puppy eagerly lapped up the water. When it finished, it wagged its tail in gratitude, and scampered away. Sudha did not notice that the vessel had changed into a silver vessel, and that the water level had remained unchanged.
Sudha quickly walked back home. It was late afternoon when she got back. The neighbour who had been taking care of her mother opened the door. This lady was so tired that she could hardly speak. Without a moment's hesitation, Sudha poured out some water for her. Gulping it down, the neighbour said, "Thank you so much. May God bless you." Unknown to Sudha, the vessel changed into a golden vessel, and the water level did not go down one bit.
Sudha then hurried to her mother and held the rim of the vessel to her lips. After drinking some water, Valsala felt much better, and asked Sudha to drink up the remaining water. Just as she was about to do so, she heard a knock on the door. When she opened it, Sudha saw an old sannyasi. "Please give me some water. I shall die of thirst if I do not get some water soon," he pleaded. Sudha promptly handed over the vessel to him. He smiled as he took it, and then turned it upside down. The water splashed out and fell onto the ground. From that spot, a fountain sprang forth. There was enough water, not only for Sudha and her mother, but for the entire village! As soon as Sudha had recovered from her surprise, she turned to look at the sannyasi. But he had disappeared, and on the spot where he had been standing, she noticed a diamond vessel!
Because she had been so compassionate to all those in need, Sudha received God's grace. She and her mother were never in need again.