Once upon a time in a little village, there appeared a sign that said:
to be held this Saturday
at the fair grounds.
There will be a surprise guest judge.
All the young girls in the village were very excited about being in a beauty contest, and they began to prepare for the big day. They all bought new clothes and jewelry. They made appointments to get new hairdos. And they also began spending a lot of time looking in the mirror and practicing their smiles.
Well...almost all the girls. There was one girl who was a poor servant. She had no money to buy new clothes or new jewelry. She didn’t even have enough money to pay for a new hairdo. In fact, she was so poor she didn’t even have a mirror to look in and practice her smile. This poor girl could do nothing to prepare for the beauty contest.
Finally, the day for the beauty contest arrived, and all the girls from the village started down the road to the fairgrounds. On this particular day there was a blind man standing by the side of the road. As each person walked by, he asked,
“Would you please help me down the road? I am a blind man and cannot see to find my way.” But all the young girls were in too big a hurry to get to the beauty contest, and they just walked right past the blind man.
After awhile, the poor servant girl walked by and saw the blind man. She offered to help him down the road. “Where are you going?” she asked.
“I am going to the fairgrounds,” said the blind man. And so the two began walking down the road.
When they arrived at the fairgrounds there was a lot of confusion. There were lots of girls ready for a beauty contest but there was no judge to be found. All the girls were shouting, “Where is the judge?”
“Here I am,” said the blind man. “Sorry I’m late.”
It was quiet for a moment and everyone was surprised. Finally, one girl said, “You can’t judge the beauty contest...you can’t see.”
The blind man laughed, “True beauty is something anyone can see. A pretty face is nice but an act of kindness for a stranger—now that is a beautiful thing.” And as he spoke he pinned a blue ribbon on the poor girl’s shirt. And on the ribbon were the words “First Prize”.
“Do not be fooled by false beauty,” said the blind man. “The next time you’re looking for the winner of your beauty contest look for someone who is kind and helpful, for the greatest among you shall be your servant.”