The man who ruined the street

One day a gentleman was driving his car. Alas, at a certain point, his car got stuck. The street was muddy and full of big potholes, so the car could not go any farther.

A strong man happened to be nearby and saw that the gentleman was in difficulty. He asked the man if he needed help and he said, “Certainly, you can help me. I would be very grateful. You look so strong!”

The strong man lifted up the rear of the car and placed it on his shoulder. He was showing off how strong he was. Then he pushed the car forward, freeing the car so the gentleman could easily continue his journey. As the gentleman was about to leave, the strong man extended his hand to signify that he wanted a tip for his efforts. The gentleman was very pleased, so he said, “Oh, you have worked very hard. I could not have managed it myself. You are so strong!” Then he offered the strong man a fair amount of money. The strong man was delighted.

All of a sudden, a lady came running up to the gentleman and said, “Yes, he has worked very, very hard. My husband has worked very, very hard, and he deserves the money. In fact, he deserves even more, because every night he takes a bucket and collects water from the swimming pool. With that water, he ruins the street! That is why every day people are in serious trouble when they try to drive here!”

What kind of wife was this! The husband was simply furious with her. The gentleman said to himself, “What am I going to do? How can I change this fellow’s nature?”

In the meantime, the strong man’s teenage son arrived on the scene. He had heard his mother talking and was very angry. “How can you expose my father like this?” he cried.

The mother replied, “Expose him? It is beneath my dignity to remain his wife! How can he do this kind of thing? Every day he gets money in this way and I find it very difficult to bear. With this money he buys our groceries and all the other things that we need. But he is so strong. Why can he not go out and do some honest work?”

The gentleman was very kind. He said, “All right, if your husband does not want to work, why do you not come and work at my place? My wife will be very kind to you. She is quite old. You can help her with the housework and I will pay you.”

At this, the strong man became furious with the gentleman and said, “My wife will work at your place? How dare you suggest such a thing!”

The wife replied, “I am ready to do it. I see that he is a very kind-hearted gentleman.” To the gentleman she said, “I will be happy to work at your place.”

But the strong man said, “No, I will not allow you to work.”

The son always took his father’s side. He said to his mother, “You cannot work.” Both father and son felt that it was beneath their dignity for her to go and work at somebody else’s place.

Again, the gentleman said to himself, “What am I going to do? This strong man is not going to change his nature, and they need money.” To the husband and wife he said, “I have no idea how I can solve this problem.”

Then the teenager said to the gentleman, “I know the answer. If you give my father a very large amount of money, he will stop ruining the street.”

But the wife cried, “No, no! Do not trust my son and do not trust my husband!” The wife herself did not trust her own son and husband.

The gentleman said, “All right, somebody has to be brave.”

The wife was very sincere and brave. She wanted to work at the gentleman’s place, but her husband and son would not allow her to do so.

Now the boy saw tears in his mother’s eyes and he realised that she was suffering very deeply. So he said to the gentleman, “I can solve this problem. I will work at your place. I can even work as your servant. I will do whatever you want. Then if you give me a large amount of money — whatever I deserve — I will not allow my father to do the kind of mischief that he does. Every night he goes out with a bucket and collects water. Then he deliberately ruins the street so that he can take money from kind people like you.”

Then the father and son began to fight. The father exclaimed, “Look, I cannot give this up. I have formed a habit. Even if you get money from this gentleman, even if you go out and work, how can I get rid of this habit? It is impossible! Right now, money is not the problem. I have money, but I cannot get out of this habit!”

The gentleman said, “Let me go to an astrologer and see if he can tell us how you will be able to give up this profession of ruining the street as well as the joy of all the drivers who pass this way.”

The gentleman left and came back with an astrologer. The astrologer immediately cast the strong man’s horoscope and said, “I can clearly see that you are going to die very shortly. In a month’s time you will no longer be in this world.”

The wife was very smart. She did not cry, nor did the son. The strong man said, “What is this? I will die in a short while, and even then you two are not crying? How can it be? Do you not realise that I will soon die?”

The wife turned to the astrologer and said, “Please, can you not see if there is any way to stop this from happening?”

The astrologer replied, “I can clearly see that if you do not ruin the joy of the drivers any more, then your horoscope indicates that you will be able to have a very long life.”

“Then I am giving up the habit right from this very moment!” the strong man exclaimed.

From that day on, the strong man did give up his mischief. He never ruined the street again. So in this way the astrologer saved the family, the street and all the drivers who came by that way every day.