The money-lender and the drunkard

There was a money-lender who used to lend money on very strict terms. At the same time, he was a good and sincere man, so people liked him and they always returned the money promptly.

Once the money-lender loaned some money to a drunkard. He did not realise that the fellow was a drunkard, so he gave him a large amount of money. This drunkard refused to return any portion of it. Weeks ran into months and months ran into years, but the money did not materialise.

The money-lender would send his assistants to the drunkard’s house to collect the money. No matter what hour of the day they rang the bell, even if it was late in the evening, the drunkard’s servants used to say the same thing: “He is not at home! He is not at home!” Sometimes they used to say that he was staying with relatives. During the day they would always claim he was at work.

“Where does he work?” asked the money-lender’s assistants. But the answer was always the same: “We do not know.”

One day the money-lender’s patience reached its limit, and he decided to go personally to collect the money. Just as he arrived in front of the house, the drunkard happened to be returning home. The money-lender screamed, “You have to give me the money!” But the drunkard ran and hid inside the house. The guard at the gate told the money-lender, “No, no, that was not my master. That was somebody else. My master is not at home, so it is useless for you to wait here. Kindly come back some other time.”

The money-lender knew that the guard and the drunkard’s other servants were all trying to fool him. He said, “Do you take me for an idiot? With my own eyes I saw your master run into this house. I know his face well. I am not going to leave until he comes out. If he does not come out, I will call the police and they will arrest him.”

Still the drunkard remained inside the house. The money-lender had no choice. He called the police and told them that the man inside the house owed him a very large sum of money. The police arrived and asked the drunkard to come out. Then they began to question him. They said, “This money-lender claims that you borrowed a large sum of money from him and you have not repaid it. Is it true?”

“No,” said the drunkard. “I have never seen this man before and I do not know what he is talking about.”

One of the policemen said, “You do not know this man? That means he must have made a mistake.”

“Do not believe him!” shouted the money-lender. “I tell you, this is definitely the same man to whom I loaned a large sum of money several years ago.”

“What has become of you?” said the drunkard. “Here you are, shouting in the street and causing a scene. You do not believe me when I say that I am not the man you are seeking and yet, just yesterday, you believed my servant when he told you I was staying at a relative’s house. A low-class person like my servant you believe, and a high-class person like myself you disbelieve. Is your standard so low that you believe only the words of low-class people? I am really insulted! Somebody else has borrowed this money from you. Go and look for the actual culprit instead of wasting my time and the precious time of these police officers.”

The money-lender looked at the drunkard and realised that he could never win against such an unscrupulous fellow. He said, “You say that you are high-class and you are incapable of lying. If that is so, then you remain with your so-called height. It is beneath my dignity to come and ask you for the money anymore. If this is what it means to be high-class, I do not want anything to do with it. You can go back into your house, get drunk and do whatever you want. I shall never mix with your type again.”