A father's last words

There were two brothers, Sunil and Anil. Sunil was very kind-hearted, wise and self-giving, but Anil was an idiot. In every way he was a disgrace to the family. There came a time when Sunil and Anil’s father was dying. Before their father breathed his last, he whispered something to Sunil. In a sinking voice, he said, “I would like you to take care of your younger brother. I know that he will not be able to sustain his life without your help. If he wants to leave you, please do not allow him to leave. He will be totally ruined. I have kept him under my constant guidance and affection, so please always do the same. You will play my role.” Sunil nodded, and the father was so happy. He died peacefully.

Now, Anil’s wife happened to be near her dying father-in-law. She was so curious as to what her father-in-law had said. In a few hours’ time, Anil came home and they held the funeral service.

The following day Anil’s wife said to him, “Just before your father passed away, he said something very, very important to your brother. I am sure it is about something secret. He has kept something hidden. He whispered it so that we women could not hear. But I am sure it is something with regard to his money or property.”

Anil said, “I cannot ask my brother to tell me. My brother has been so loving to me. He has never, never deceived me, so I do not want to ask.”

But his undivine wife would not let the matter rest. She continually reminded her husband about it. She said, “You are such a fool! When it is a matter of money, everybody becomes undivine. See, he is not telling you what your father said. So many days have passed by, and your brother is not telling you. Here is the proof.”

The wife was nagging and nagging, so Anil eventually said, “All right, let me ask my brother.” He was quite unwilling to do it, but his wife compelled him.

He said to Sunil, “My wife told me that father whispered something to you before he died. Can you tell me what it was?”

Sunil said, “Father told me to take care of you.”

Anil asked, “That is all?”

“Yes,” said Sunil. “That was his dying wish.”

Then Anil told his wife, “It was nothing special. Father asked him to take care of me and he agreed. Father was right. Sunil is so wise and I am so useless.”

The wife refused to accept this explanation. She said, “No, it is not true. It is something else, something very secret and serious. He is hiding it from you.” She suspected that Sunil was not telling the whole truth. Then she began spreading gossip that before her father-in-law died, he said something very secretly. She herself could not hear what he said and now her brother-in-law was hiding it from his younger brother.

This was too much for Sunil’s wife. Like her husband, she was also very kind-hearted. Although she did not actually know what her father-in-law had said to her husband, she was sure her husband was telling the truth, so she felt miserable. She said to her husband, “You have to do something. This is absurd. It is all lies.”

Sunil said, “What am I going to do? I want peace, peace, peace.” Then he said, “All right. If Anil feels I am hiding something, that father has told me of a secret place where he kept his money, then I will do something.”

He told his wife, “Now, you have to save me. Give me all your jewellery, all your ornaments. I will go to the jeweller and give him the jewellery. Then I will take money from him as a loan. Once I earn more money, I will reclaim your jewellery.”

His wife received a shock. She asked, “What are you planning to do?”

Sunil said, “I only want a little peace. If you also want peace, then give me all your ornaments.”

His wife said, “All right. I want peace. Take them and do the needful.”

So Sunil took all his wife’s ornaments and went to the jeweller, who was a great friend of his. He said, “Please keep this jewellery as security and loan me ten thousand rupees.” He told his friend that he needed the money to solve this problem with his brother.

His friend the jeweller said, “I shall gladly loan you the money, but I do not want to take anything from you as security.” He was, indeed, a true friend.

The following day Sunil said to his brother, “My dearest Anil, I have something very special to tell you. But first you have to forgive me.”

“I should forgive you?” Anil said.

Sunil said, “Yes, you see, I told you a lie about what our father said. Last night father came to me in my dream and he was scolding me so severely.”

Anil asked, “Why was father scolding you?”

Sunil said, “In my dream father asked why I was hiding the secret from you. With his dying breath, Father told me that at a particular place in our courtyard, he had kept lots of money for you. He said I should tell you at the proper time. But I was hesitating and hesitating because father had said to tell you when the proper time came. I did not know what he meant. Then last night he said it was already time. He said, ‘You should have told your brother Anil long ago.’ Father scolded me for my selfishness, so that is why I have come to you now. I am begging you to please forgive me. Let us go and dig up the money and then you will take it. It is all for you.”

Anil said, “Father came to me also last night, but he gave me a different message.”

Sunil was so surprised. He said, “What was that different message?”

“Father also scolded me ruthlessly,” Anil said. “He said that he did not tell you anything about money. His only message to you was to take care of me. He said that I have no wisdom and, if I leave you, I will be totally ruined. So Father told me that he begged you not to let me go.”

Sunil said, “That is strange. Father asked me why I was not giving you the money.”

Anil said, “And Father came and insulted me for suspecting you.”

Sunil said, “I do not know what to do. What can I say now? Who is telling the truth?”

All of a sudden, his younger brother burst into tears and fell at the feet of his elder brother. He said, “In your case, I do not know who came to you. In my case, I do know who came. The jeweller came to see me last night and told me what you had done. Your friend scolded me and said that you could never hide anything from me, that you would never deceive your brother. Now let us go and return the money. In the future I will never, never listen to my wife. I want to remain here peacefully with you. Always guide me, guide my life.”