There was a miser of the worst type. He had no match in his ‘profession’. He lived to be an old man, and then one day he passed away. When his neighbours heard of his passing, they shed crocodile tears. He did not have any friends, but people who knew him came and outwardly expressed their sadness. Everybody showed signs of sorrow and grief, although it was not at all sincere. But, to their utter astonishment, the miser’s wife was not crying, she was not sobbing, she was not shedding tears.
One neighbour came forward and asked her, “Why are you not crying at all?”
The wife did not answer. She remained quiet and calm. Then some of the neighbours said, “We do not know where the miser has kept his money, and his wife is silent. We shall have to collect money for his funeral. Now it is an act of charity.”
When the neighbours started collecting money as an act of charity, all of a sudden, the wife burst into tears. In an absolutely pitiful voice she began lamenting the loss of her husband. One neighbour said, “What has happened all of a sudden to make you cry? You were calm and quiet and unperturbed. You did not suffer from your loss. Now what has happened to bring about such a dramatic change?”
The wife said, “The word ‘charity’ that you are using used to chase my husband away. Whenever he heard the word ‘charity’, he literally used to run away. Now I see that you are using the word ‘charity’, but my husband is not running away. He is lying here and he is not moving, so that means he is really dead. So I am now suffering. Before I did not believe that he was dead, but now I know that he is really dead, otherwise the word ‘charity’ would have chased him away!”