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Nine-year-old Mahesh wants to become a master archer, but to achieve his goal, he must get a nail from a living bear's claw.

Mahesh, a nine-year-old lad, longed to be the best warrior in the land. But a warrior had to be an excellent archer. At night, Mahesh dreamed that he was the warrior whose arrows always found their targets. He was the hero of his dreams. But was he destined to just dream his life away?

The village wise man taught Mahesh and the other children in the hamlet whatever he knew in return for their services. Everyday, he taught them lessons in history, mathematics, music and martial arts, including archery.

Mahesh knew only too well that he had to excel in archery to be considered a true warrior. After six months of training, he still had not learned to aim well. He became sad.

Seeing him dejected, the teacher asked, "What's the matter, my son?" "Nothing," replied the boy. "Surely something is on your mind," prodded the teacher. Thus encouraged, Mahesh asked, "Sir, will I ever become a master archer?"

The wise man looked at the boy silently and then said, "I know a way you can. Bring me the nail of a living bear and I assure you, you will be the best archer in the hamlet."

A living bear's nail! He could never do that. Despondent, he saluted the wise man and took his leave.

As he walked through the woods, Mahesh consoled himself saying, "Well, at least my hamlet is in the bear country." True enough, the villagers spotted bears once in a while.

A few days passed, and on one of his treks through the hills, Mahesh stopped in his tracks when he spotted a big brown bear at a distance. At the same time, the bear saw him. Scared stiff, Mahesh placed his lunch on the ground and didn't move. The bear just looked at him. Hours passed. The sun went down. Finally, the boy gathered enough courage to move and trekked back home.

The next day, he returned to the same spot and guess who was there? The bear! Mahesh sat down without making any noise. Occasionally, the bear would look at him, but both were content to leave each other alone. Once again, the hours passed but Mahesh did not budge. In the evening, he slowly rose and went back home. This went on for nearly two months. With time, Mahesh grew bolder and started moving closer to the bear. The bear did not seem to mind his presence. After six months, the bear was literally eating out of his hands.

Mahesh realized that he now had a golden opportunity to cut the bear's nail. He gently took the bear's paw in his hands and sat caressing it. To his amazement, the bear didn't seem to mind. Gathering more courage, he gently cut the bear's nail.

When he left the bear that day, he ran all the way to his teacher's house to show him what he had gotten. The wise man, noticing the youngster's joy, took the nail from him and said, "Well done, Mahesh. Tell me how you managed to get the nail."

Almost breathless, the boy replied, "Sir, you won't believe this. I waited six months and then I was able to cut the bear's nail." Mahesh then narrated how he was able to get the nail.

"Ah, so you waited patiently for six months! You can leave now," said the teacher.

Mahesh, who had expected the wise man to perform a miracle and turn him into a master archer, was sorely disappointed. He blurted out, "Sir, aren't you going to do something?"
The wise man smiled and said, "Son, the patience that you showed in getting the bear's nail is what you need to help you master archery."

It was that simple! Mahesh had learned the secret and the magic formula to success. Yes, he realised finally that patience was the secret key that would unlock his dream.

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