Merchants Greed and Three Boons
Thousands of years ago, there lived a merchant in a small town. A farmer also lived in his neighbourhood. The merchant was very wealthy but he was a great miser, while the farmer was very poor but was generous.
One day a traveler came to the merchant and asked for shelter, for the night. He refused to give him shelter. When the traveler insisted, the merchant shouted, “I warn you to leave this house just now or I shall throw you away from here.”
The traveler silently left and went to the poor farmer and asked ,”Would you like to give me shelter tonight?” The farmer warmly welcomed him and served him as best as he could.
Next morning, when the traveler woke up, he was very pleased with the farmer. He said to the farmer, “I am very pleased with your generosity, kindness and service. You may ask for a boon and it would be granted to you.” Hearing this, the farmer with his eyes full of tears of joy said to the traveler, “O kind man ! I do not have great desire. I only wish that I should always have faith in selfless service.”
The traveler said, “Granted !” He then disappeared. With disappearance, there was a great miracle. There was a palatial building in place of the hut of the farmer.
The farmer himself was deeply surprised. Now, he came to know that the traveler was actually an angel in disguise.
This story spread like forest fire in the town. The merchant came to know the secret of the prosperity of the farmer. He had great repentance for his treatment with the traveler.
He decided to find out the traveler. He looked for him everywhere he could. At last, he found the traveler meditating under a tree. He went to the traveler and said, “O God! Please forgive me. I am sorry for my behavior. I failed to recognize you,” the merchant insisted.
God could, at once, sense greed in his request. He said, “I am sorry. I am unable to accept your invitation. However, I grant you three boons.”
The merchant became happy. This is what he had actually desired for.
He went home. He was unable to decide which boons he should ask for. He thought this for the whole night. The day was about to break when the cock crowed. The merchant felt disturbed at this. He angrily said, “O God! Please get rid of this cock. It causes disturbance.”
As he uttered these words, the cock fell down. The merchant knew that one of his boons had been granted. He was angry to see that one of his boons was wasted. He decided to be careful with the remaining two boons. He then went to his garden and sat on a bench & started thinking.
Meanwhile, his business partner came to meet him. His servant came and informed him about this. He felt disturbed. He became angry. He angrily said,” Go away. Don’t you see that I am in deep thought. I wish I could be glued to this bench so that no one could disturb me.”
After sometime, the merchant’s wife came to him and said,” What have you been thinking of since morning? Your business partner is in a hurry. He wants to discuss some important matter with you. Please meet him “
The merchant didn’t respond. His wife was surprised. She then held him by his hand and tried to pull him. But it was a great shock ! The merchant was glued to the bench on which he was seated. The merchant soon realized his mistake. He cried, “O God ! I have wasted the second boon too.”
He, then, narrated the whole story to his wife. His wife was shocked deeply. She angrily said to her husband, “All these are the result of your greed. But do not waste your time in repenting for the mistake you had made. Now, for your third boon, ask god to free yourself from this bench.”
The merchant followed his wife’s advice. He wasted all the thee boons due to his greed. He, however, saved his freedom. He shuddered at the thought of spending his whole life glued to the bench.
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