One night, the Shah dressed up as a peasant to enjoy the evening air undisturbed by his rank, and to wander through the streets of his empire unnoticed. He walked through town and reached the poor section of town. The street was quiet, but suddenly he heard singing from a little cottage. As he peaked through the window he saw a man sitting at a table.
He was amazed that such a poor man would be in such good spirits. He knocked on the door and asked if he would be welcome to join the man as a guest. They ate and drank together. After the meal the Shah asked the man how he earned his living.
“I am a poor Jew, I fix shoes in the street, and with what I earn I sustain myself for that day.” answered the man.
“But what will be your fate if something happens to you or you get too old to work?”” asked the Shah.
“Oh I do not worry about that,” the man said happily. “I know God will provide.”
The Shah decided to test the faith of the poor man. The next day he issued a decree that forbidded anyone to fix shoes in the street. The Jew was stunned when he found out this new law, but he contemplated looking inward and said, “God, I am certain that you will provide.”
He looked around himself and saw a man with water jugs on his shoulders, and he saw that he can become a water carrier. So he hauled water from the town well, and sold enough to buy food for a day.
That evening, curious how the poor man made out, the Shah returned to the man’s house.
“How are you?” he asked upon entering. I came to see how you survived the new law.”
“God provided for me today,” the Jew answered happily. “One door closed, but God opened another. I am now a water carrier.”
The following day the Shah issued a new decree that carrying water for pay was not allowed. So the Jew spoke to God, and when he looked about him, he saw men going into the woods to cut trees for firewood. This he went with them and made enough for food for the day.
That night the Shah came again to check on the poor Jew. To test his faith more, the following day he ordered all wood cutters to the palace. When they arrived, with our poor Jew among them, he issued guard garb for them and a sword. They would be paid, but not until the end of the month. Our man was now really puzzled, for he had no food for one day,