Give money and lose friendshipOnce there were two friends. One of them was going out of town for a while, so he gave a large amount of money to the other one for safekeeping. He told his friend, “I must go to another country for some time. I know that it is not good to take excess money abroad. I shall take only enough to defray my expenses. You kindly keep the rest of the money safe. You are my good friend, my very close friend. You are the only one I can trust with my savings.”
The second friend said, “That is a very good idea. I shall definitely keep your money safe, and when you return you can come and ask me for it. It is very risky to carry a large amount of money with you when you are travelling. So many unfortunate things can happen.”
So his friend entrusted him with his savings, which amounted to two thousand rupees, and then he left on his voyage. One month later he came back, and the very next day he went to visit his friend. The two friends were so happy to see each other. Then the first friend asked to have his money back.
The second friend opened his eyes wide. “Money!” he exclaimed. “When did you give me money?”
The first friend could not believe his ears. He said, “The day before I left, I gave you two thousand rupees for safekeeping. Please do not joke with me! Now that I have returned, I need this money badly.”
His friend began laughing. “Two thousand rupees! When did you ever have two thousand rupees to start with, you liar?” And he went on scolding and ridiculing the friend who had given him the money.
The other friend cried, “How can you deceive me like this? Before I gave you the money, we were such good friends. I did not give you this money as a loan or a gift. When I gave it to you, I made it clear that I would be coming back for it. Since I was going abroad, I did not know where else to leave it. You promised to keep it safe for me.”
He was begging and pleading for his friend to return the money, but the friend only said, “What a liar you have turned out to be! You never gave me any money, and here you are accusing me of stealing it. This is what happens when you go abroad: all the undivine forces enter into you. Now you have destroyed our friendship!”
The first friend could not see any way to get his money back. It was impossible to reason with this deceptive fellow. In desperation, he went to the village court and told the judge the whole story. The judge believed him and immediately summoned the culprit. When the culprit appeared, the judge said to him, “Now tell me the truth! Are you in possession of his money? Are you keeping it from him?”
The culprit answered, “Oh, no, no, no! I would never steal somebody else’s money. The problem is that he went abroad. While he was away, some bad forces attacked him. Now he is talking like a lunatic and he has ruined our friendship.”
The judge asked the first friend, “There was no witness when you handed him the money?”
The friend said, “No, I did not consider having a witness because he was such a good friend of mine. I did not even ask him to sign a piece of paper. It was beyond my imagination that he would fool me in this way. Still I do not understand how it is possible for him to go on deceiving me.”
The culprit added, “There was definitely no witness. Here is the proof that I did not receive money from him!”
The judge remained silent for a minute. Then he took a long bamboo cane and started to threaten the culprit with it. He commanded, “Give him the money back or I will give you a thrashing that you will never forget as long as you live!”
“But I have not taken the money!” cried the culprit.
The judge proclaimed, “I know for certain that there were twenty-five witnesses. They have come to me with the true story. Some were inside the house and some were standing in the street. I can prove that there were twenty-five witnesses.”
When the culprit heard that the judge could produce twenty-five witnesses, he started trembling violently. Then he fainted and fell to the floor. When he opened his eyes, he saw the judge bending over him. Very sternly the judge said, “Now give him the money or I shall kill you here and now!”
When the judge uttered these words, the friend who had given the money began shedding copious tears. He begged the judge, “Please, please, do not kill him! I do not want my friend to be killed or beaten. Let him tell lies. Let him deceive me. I do not need my money. I want you to spare his life!”
So the judge dismissed the case, and the friend who had given the money did not get it back because he had such a good heart. First the judge wanted to punish the culprit, then the judge even threatened to kill him. The twenty-five witnesses that the judge spoke about were his own invention. They did not actually exist, but he fabricated the story in order to frighten the culprit into making a full confession. When the unfortunate traveller saw that the judge was going to thrash his friend, he said, “Please spare him! I do not need my money. My friend’s life is much more important.”