one stormy night, a voyaging ship was ravaged by furious winds and wild waters. Of the seaman aboard, only two survived. They washed up like driftwood on a small deserted island. At dawn, the weak and sodden men looked about helplessly and saw no other recourse but to pray to God.
However, a debate sparked between them; they wanted to know whose prayer was more powerful. They agreed to divide the island into two territories. One man would live on the north side while the other would inhabit the south side. This way they would see who gained most from their respective prayers.
They both prayed first for food. A day later, the north-side man was delighted to see a fruit-bearing tree on his tract of land. He ate the juicy sumptuous fruit with relish. On the south side, the land remained barren and the man living there had to survive on some bitter berries and wild plants.
A week went by and the north-side man began to feel very alone. He wished for companionship and prayed for a wife. Miraculously, the next day he saw another ship washed up near the island. The only survivor was a woman who swam to his side. In contrast, there was no change for the south-side man, who still had nothing.
Getting used to the divine privileges that came each day, the north-side man prayed for a house, clothes and more food. Each day, as if by magic, all these requests were fulfilled. However, the south-side man saw no benefit or improvement in his life. His condition began to deteriorate as he ate meagre food and endured harsh conditions.
Soon enough, the north-side man felt trapped and restless on the island and prayed for someone to rescue him and his wife. Presto – in the morning he saw a ship docked on his side of the island. Overjoyed, the man took his wife and boarded the vessel without inviting the other survivor to join them.
As the ship was about to sail off, the north-side man heard a voice boom from the heavens, “Why are you leaving your friend on the island?”
The man answered, “The blessings I received are mine alone since I was the one who prayed for them. That man’s prayers were all unanswered so he does not deserve his freedom.”
“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked. “That man had only one sincere prayer, which I answered. If it was not for that, you would not have received such generosity.”
Surprised and curious, the north-side man said, “What did he pray that I owe him my success.”
“He prayed that all your prayers be answered,” the divine voice said.