The miser and the goddess

There once was a jeweller who was quite miserly. He was very successful and had amassed a great fortune, but he would not share his wealth with anybody. At the same time, he could not enjoy his wealth because he lived in constant fear that robbers would come and steal all his money.

One day, the jeweller had to go to a neighbouring village to take care of some very important business. As he would need to stay there for a few days, he was very worried that in his absence someone would break into his house and rob him of his wealth. Now the jeweller kept in his house a small shrine to the goddess Durga, to whom he used to pray. On this particular day, before embarking on his journey, he prayed to this goddess, "Mother, Mother, please protect my money while I am away. When I come back, if I see that you have protected my money and kept everything intact, I shall gladly and gratefully offer you a very large coconut."

After praying, the jeweller travelled to the neighbouring village and stayed there a few days. Upon his return home, he deliberately forgot to offer a coconut to the goddess Durga. The goddess waited as one week, two weeks and eventually three weeks went by. Still the jeweller had not offered her the coconut he had promised. Finally, one month after his return, the goddess said to the jeweller, "My son, you promised you would give me a coconut, but you are not keeping your promise."

The jeweller replied, "O Mother, I truly want to keep my promise, but alas, if I were to keep my promise, something unfortunate would happen."

"What would happen?" asked the goddess.

"If I give you the coconut, then you will not be able to keep your promise to me!" the jeweller responded.

"What was my promise?" asked the goddess.

"Your promise was that you would keep my money intact," the jeweller explained. "Can you not see that if I remove some money to buy you a coconut, my money will no longer be intact!"

"O Lord Supreme,' the goddess exclaimed, "You have blessed me with such a horrible, horrible son!" Then she said to the jeweller, "Next time, do not pray to me! I will have nothing to do with you ever again!"