There was a farmer who was both rich and miserly. Everybody knew him as a rich man and everybody knew him as a miser to the extreme. This story took place at harvest time. The miser and his neighbouring farmers were in their respective fields. They were collecting the paddy. In the evening some village boys came and wanted to help the farmers. All the other farmers, out of compassion, love and concern, used to give some paddy to the little village boys, but the rich farmer never gave them anything. The village boys knew his reputation, so they would not come near him.
On this particular occasion, jealousy entered into the farmer. He said, “The other farmers are my neighbours. They are appreciated, admired and loved by the little village boys. I also deserve the affection, love and gratitude of those young boys.” So he decided to be very generous. He invited a few of the boys to come to his fields. He told them, “Today I have changed my mind. You work for me, and I will give you more paddy than the other farmers give.”
The boys started working very happily. In the meantime, in a very tricky way the rich farmer put some very good paddy in a basket for them, and underneath the good paddy he put lots of husk. After they finished working, the farmer gave the basket to the boys. The little boys were so happy. The quantity was larger than the quantity they had received from the other farmers. They went home and they were so eager to tell their dear ones that today they had changed the nature of the farmer. Because of them, the farmer had become so kind.
One of the boys’ family members said, “Let us see what kind of paddy the rich man has given you.” When he examined it, he found that underneath was all husk. The good paddy was only on the top. The little boys and their families were furious. They all wanted to go strike the farmer.
The oldest and smartest villager said, “No, do not do that. I have a plan. Listen to me. Put the paddy back in the basket in exactly the same way. Put the husk underneath and on top put all the paddy. Then you will go to this farmer’s wife and tell her, ‘Look, we have a large quantity of paddy and we are going to sell it at a very cheap price.’”
So the little boys went to the miser’s house. The wife asked, “How can you sell such a large quantity at such a cheap price?”
They replied, “Because somebody gave it to us for free!”
She said, “Somebody gave it to you for free?”
“Yes,” they said, “we were working for so many farmers and somebody gave it as payment. We do not know who.”
The wife enquired, “You do not know the names of those farmers?”
The boys said, “There are so many farmers. One of them was so kind today. He gave us this for free because we worked for him. Do you want to buy it? We shall sell it to you at a very cheap price. Please tell us whether or not you want to buy it. We have a very short time because it is getting late. If you do not want to buy it, we shall go somewhere else to sell it.”
The wife said, “Oh, such beautiful grain! Do not go, do not go! I will give you money.” So the miser’s wife gave the little boys money. At a cheap price she bought all the paddy.
After some time, her husband came home and she said, “Look, look! I have some happy news.”
He said, “What?”
She said, “Look here! Such beautiful paddy! It is in excellent condition. Some little boys came and they were so sincere. They told me that they were given it for free, so they wanted to sell it to me at a very cheap price. So I bought this for you. I am sure that tomorrow you will be able to sell this at a very high price.”
The farmer immediately recognised that this was the paddy he had given the little boys. He said, “What have I done?” He was so miserable! It was the farmer’s bad karma to lose money because of the husks he had used to trick the little boys. He did not gain anything. In fact, he became the real loser.