There was a man who sold fruit. One day he was selling bad mangoes. Some people bought his mangoes, and then they became furious when they discovered that the mangoes were absolutely rotten and smelled very bad. These customers brought the man to the village chief and made complaints against him.
The village chief said to the man, “The rest of the mangoes you have to eat yourself. All the mangoes you have to eat!”
Then the accused man said, “Let me go to somebody higher than you. Let me see what he says.”
When he went to a higher authority, the authority said, “If you do not want to eat the fruit, then the people who are angry with you should beat you up. They should whip you 30 times. Since you do not want to eat the rotten mangoes, the people who have made the complaints should whip you at least 30 times.”
The man said, “The first one says I have to eat all the rotten mangoes and the second one says I have to be whipped 30 times! Now let me go to the absolutely highest authority.”
He went to the highest authority, and the highest authority said, “You do not have to eat the fruit. You do not have to be beaten or whipped. Just pay 50 rupees. Then it will be all settled. Pay me 50 rupees, and I will distribute the money to the people who have made complaints against you. Now, you make the choice. Do you want to eat the rotten mangoes, do you want to be whipped, or do you want to give the money? Choose whatever punishment you want. It is up to you.”
The man said, “I am ready to eat the mangoes.”
He started eating the mangoes, and immediately he began vomiting. The judge said, “Whatever you start, you are supposed to complete. You were supposed to eat all the mangoes. You have failed, so now you should be whipped 30 times.”
Those who had made complaints started whipping him. After 15 lashes, the man was about to faint. He said, “I cannot bear this punishment!”
The judge said, “Then pay the penalty: 50 rupees.”
The man had exactly 50 rupees, so the judge took the money and distributed it to the people who had made complaints against him. Look at the fate of this fellow! First he ate half of the fruits that were so bad. Then he was punished by being whipped fifteen times — half of the sentence. Finally he had to give the full amount of the fine. Then the judge distributed the money to the people who had accused him.
The moral is that if you do one bad thing, you can easily be punished by everybody beyond what you deserve.