There was a very, very bad thief. He used to go to work during the day and at night he would steal. He used to commit thefts all the time and torture so many people. So many expensive and valuable things he stole! He learned how to steal from his father. His wife was dead against it, so when his father died, she was inwardly quite happy. Outwardly she cried because her father-in-law had died. But inwardly she was happy, and she started begging her husband, “Please, please, do not follow your father’s ways any more. People know that you are stealing, although you are not being caught. Everybody knows that you steal! I am your wife, and I feel miserable when they accuse you. Still you are not being caught. Please promise that you will stop. Otherwise I am going to leave you and I am going to leave our three children with you. You take care of them! I cannot go on like this any more.”
Finally the husband said that he would not steal any more. The wife was so happy that he was giving up stealing.
One day the husband came home from work absolutely miserable. The wife said, “What happened? Why are you so miserable? You cannot even talk properly. What happened?”
He said, “You know, when I used to steal, I hid everything in my friend’s house. I used to keep all my loot there. Now my friend has taken all the things that I stole, and I do not know where he has gone.”
The wife said, “Look, is this not your fate? Many people’s things you stole, and now you are miserable because someone else has taken these things away. Just think of those people who had their own things stolen by you! They were the actual owners of those things. Do they not feel infinitely more miserable? See how sad you are! Can you not think of the loss and the sadness of those people who were the actual owners of all those valuables? Again, I am begging you, never steal.”
Then the husband promised that he would never, never steal again. Because of his sadness and his sufferings, he gave up stealing. What a nice wife he had! The wife gave such good, moral advice.