Once, a rich merchant left his city to go to another country for trade. He went aboard a large ship. He was carrying trunks full of gold coins and precious gems.

One day a storm began. Huge waves rose in the sea waters. They rocked the ship from side to side. People started screaming with fright. The captain and the crew were trying their best not to let the ship drown. A few hours later, the storm stopped but the ship had a hole in its bottom. Water started seeping into the ship. People took the lifeboats and got off the drowning ship. Some jumped into the sea to swim ashore. While others held on to pieces of wood to stay afloat. The merchant started praying, “God please save my life. If I stay alive I will offer a lot of gold to you.”

A man went to the merchant and said, “Don’t pray to God. Try to jump out and swim ashore. Remember God helps those who help themselves.”

But the merchant did not listen. He stayed on the ship and kept praying. Soon the ship drowned and the merchant went down with it.


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