Talking too much, talking too littleA husband and wife were like North Pole and South Pole. The husband talked too much and the wife talked too little. The husband was a kindhearted man, but he would always talk and talk. Friends would say, “Enough, enough! Do not talk any more. We cannot hear ourselves think!” But the husband could not curb his garrulous tongue.
One day his wife received an invitation. Her class friend was getting married and wanted her to attend the wedding.
The wife said to her husband, “My friend has invited me to her wedding.”
Her husband said, “It is such an important thing in life to have a friend! How many people are fortunate enough to say that they have good friends? She is a good friend of yours, and we all need friends to exist on earth. God is our real Friend, but He cannot come all the time, so He sends a friend to us here on earth to help us live very happily.” Then he went on giving a long-winded lecture on friendship.
The wife became more and more impatient. Eventually she said, “Now, stop, stop! Enough of your sermon!”
The husband really loved his wife, and he did not like to upset her. He said, “You should go. Here is a most expensive necklace. I bought it for you a day or two ago, but I forgot to give it to you. And here is an envelope with quite a large sum of spending money. You go and enjoy yourself at your friend’s wedding.”
The day of the wedding arrived and the wife went to the church. All her former classmates were so excited to see her, but she had taken a vow that she would be a woman of few words. Friends with whom she studied in school were shocked. Why would she say only very few words? She seemed almost indifferent to her friends. Everybody else was chatting, reminiscing about their previous school life, this and that, but she said next to nothing. They were all in the seventh Heaven of delight, but she was not.
Her friends suspected that something had gone wrong between the husband and wife. So they started criticising her husband. They told her how bad he was in so many ways, whereas she was so nice. Even then she was not happy.
In the evening, when the wedding was over, the wife wanted to return home. She saw that two of her friends who had studied with her at school were going home and they had their horse and carriage. But she did not want to ask them to give her a lift, and they did not want to take her. Since she had misbehaved, they did not want to do her a favour. They felt she had too much pride, so they drove away.
Then the wife saw that other wedding guests were going by in their vehicles. Alas, nobody wanted to help her. She was expecting someone to stop and take her home, but they all abandoned her to her fate. Finally the wife saw a taxi. She asked the driver, “Can you take me?” and she told him the address. The driver said, “I do not feel like going there. I am going in another direction.”
“I will give you four times the regular fare,” said the wife with tears in her eyes.
“All right,” said the driver. She entered into the car and they went on their way. Before they had travelled even half the distance, the driver stopped the car and said, “Get out! Get out! I do not trust you. You are not talking.”
The poor wife climbed out of the car. Then the driver said, “That is not enough. Give me all your money!”
She said, “My money?” Fearfully she produced her envelope and the driver took away all the money. Then he tried to grab her necklace and she began to struggle a little. At this moment, quite unexpectedly, another car approached from behind, so the taxi driver jumped in the taxi and drove away at top speed. The wife’s necklace had fallen on the ground and it was broken. Her money she had lost. She was completely helpless. “Please, please help me!” she screamed to the second car, but the driver did not pay any attention. He went away. The poor wife was now stranded. She was compelled to walk all the way home. She arrived home in such a miserable condition. Her husband was also very miserable to hear what had happened to his wife. He was full of remorse. He said, “It is all my fault, my fault!”
“How can it be your fault?” asked his wife.
“It is my fault because I gave you so much money,” he said. “And I gave you that gold necklace and encouraged you to go to your friend’s wedding. It is all my fault, absolutely my fault. Please forgive me. In the future I will not advise you to do this kind of thing.”
The wife said, “It is not your fault.”
This unhappy couple had an old maidservant. She knew all about their marital problems. At this point in the conversation she coughed a little and said, “Please forgive me. You two are very well educated, whereas I am illiterate; I did not go to school. But may I give you some advice?”
The husband said, “Yes, you are like one of the family. What advice can you give us?”
She said, “Both of you have to change your nature. The one that does not speak at all has to speak more, and the one that speaks too much has to speak less. There should be moderation in every aspect of life. Speak whatever is necessary, but do not go beyond the limit.” She turned to the wife and went on, “Your husband talks too much. That is why you took this oath to be a woman of few words. To compensate for his big mouth, you speak next to nothing. That is not the right thing to do.”
Then to the husband she said, “You will continue to speak, but there should be a limit to your talking. Do not go to the extreme. Because you went to one extreme, she went to another extreme, and this is what happened.”
So the husband and wife received excellent advice from the old maidservant, and they started adjusting the amount of their talking.