Its a very old story evidence of which could be found in Bhagavad Purana.
There lived a King in a north India. He was very good, he use to follow all the rituals listed in hoily books, he use to donate to poor and needy people. Any one who use to come to his place use to get judgement. He loved people who lived in his kingdom and same way people use to love him.
One day when he was standing out in corridore of his palace he saw a group of white swans flying above his palace. One swan who was head of all other swans were flew with pride from that palace. Other swan asked him to take some rest on the pond of that palace.
Swan to head “Sir, lets take some rest here, the king of this kingdom is very kind and good. He is the great person, because of his prayers he is famous among all who prays to God.” Head of Swan “Dear friend he is no where like Rishi XYZ, I can’t compare this king with that Rishi. With his prayers and Tpaysa he can conquer whole universe”
King listened this conversation and immediately asked his servant to look for that Rishi. That servant took a horse and started his journey, he surfed all the temples of Sourthen India, Northern India, Western India and finally riched to Kashmir.
There in a temple he meet with a person with frail body but with a great spark with divine light on his face. He immediately realized that this would be the Rishi he is looking for. He bowed him with all respect and introduced himself. After introduction, he offered jewelery, gold and precious gifts given by King as gift for him. Rishi got angry but he knew it was king’s servant and he is following orders of his master. With all his calmness he asked him to take all those gifts and sent a message with him for king, “I have enough wealth to survive”.
The servant returned to kingdom back and reported king, he gave king message of Rishi. Upon hearing the message of Rishi, king decided to personally meet Rishi. He took some precious gifts with him and ordered servant to take him to the place where Rishi is living.
King reached that place and was surprise to see Rishi, a frail body with little clothes but amazing light and calmness on his face. King worshipped Rishi and introduced himself. He then offered him the gifts he has brought. Rishi rejected them telling, “you need them most then me”.
King asked him the reason of shine on his face, he even informed him about the conversation of that swans. In reply Rishi told, “donation and worshiping statues can’t make you great. You will not be able to attain peace and happiness. All the material pleasures can make your body happy but not your soul. By making donations you can earn blessings of poors, which will be counted as good deeds but it will not make you great worshiper of God. True strength lies in devotion and making your hearth and soul free from such materialist pleasures”
King realized the true strength of Rishi, he bowed him again and went back his kingdom and started to follow the words of Rishi.
Source : Kajal Shah