We all have been taught from the school times that we should imitate good people & good things in this world. We should not do the company of bad people & should not imitate bad works of other people. We should only imitate good people & good works of other people in this world. Here below is a story by Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the great Indian saint, which tells us that if we imitate good things today then it shall become an inspiration for us to lead a good life tomorrow.
"In ancient times in India, once a Thief with a purpose to steal, entered the palace of a king in the dead of night and overheard the king saying to the queen, "I shall give my daughter in marriage to one of those sadhus (holy men) who are dwelling on the bank of the river," The thief thought within himself & planned: "Well, here is way to have good luck for me. I will go and sit among the sadhus (holy men) tomorrow in the disguise of a sadhu, and perhaps I may succeed in getting the king's daughter. "The next day he went & sat among the sadhus. When the king's court men came soliciting the sadhus to marry the king's daughter, none of them gave their consent to marry the king's daughter. At last they came to the thief in the guise of a sadhu, and made the same proposal to him. The thief kept quiet & did not say "No" to them. King's court men went back and told the king that there was a young sadhu who might be influenced to marry the princess and that there was no other sadhu who would consent. Then the king himself came to the sadhu by the bank of the river and earnestly entreated him to honor him by accepting his daughter in marriage.
By this time the heart of the thief had changed at the king's visit. He thought within himself: "I have only assumed the garb of a sadhu (holy man), and see!! the king himself comes to me to ask for the hand of his daughter. Who can say what better things may not be in store for me if I become a real sadhu!" These thoughts so strongly influenced him that, instead of marrying under false pretenses, he began to mend his ways from that very day and exerted himself to become a true sadhu. He did not marry at all, and ultimately became one of the most pious holy man of his day. Imitating of a good thing sometimes leads to unexpected good results."