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A good turn done is a heaven-born gift you cherish
Ask 'Will (they) repay it?' and it'll perish
A helpful act howsoever slight
When timely, acquires true height

To help without thinking 'What's in it for me?'
Is to be, for the helped one, vaster than the sea
Help, like the millet seed, may itself be small
But its spirit stands like a palmyra tree, tall

Don't judge help by its shape or size-'is it large or is it small?'
See how it met a need, if it has met it at all
When with ill-fortune you feel mighty sore
Just recall the pure ones who helped you in your woe

You will in all your seven lives bless
Those who've helped you in your distress
If you've been helped, don't forget it, not for a single day
But if you've been wronged, you must forget it-and right away!

When the wrong done to you hurts like a sore
Recall one good the wrong-doer may've done and forget the woe
Forget to do good and you may find salvation yet
But forget gratitude and you're headed for destruction's net


by Tiruvalluvar, in The Tirukkural: A New English Version, Chapter 11: Gratitude. Translation by Gopalkrishna Gandhi.