Two neighbours

There were two neighbours who were at times good friends and at times worst enemies. It happened that one of them needed some money, and he became extremely nice to the other one, so that he would then be in a position to ask for money. The man borrowed twenty rupees, which is equal to about two and a half American dollars. He said it would take him only a month to return the money.

His friend said, "Don't worry. Whenever you can, you will give it back."

Several months passed and still the neighbour did not return the money. Instead, the neighbour was always trying to avoid his so-called friend.

Finally, after six months the friend became disappointed and disgusted. A few times he went to his neighbour's house, but the neighbour was never at home. Actually, his wife would say that her husband was not at home even if he was. She would always tell lies. This happened seven or eight times.

One day the fellow who had lent the money told a mutual friend what a bad fellow his neighbour was because he was not returning the money. The friend said, "I tell you, you will get the money without fail."

The friend went to the culprit's house and scolded both the husband and the wife. He said, "You two are such liars! You are bringing disgrace to our village. Who asked you to borrow money, and why are you not returning it? If you do not return it, I will tell each and every person in the entire village. Then everyone will have a low opinion of you."

The friend said, "Please don't tell anyone. I shall give you a rupee if you promise not to tell anyone."

The man took the rupee and left. A few days later he came again and asked, "Have you returned the money?"

The neighbour said, "No!"

His friend said, "This time I am definitely going to tell everyone what a bad fellow you are."

Again the man begged him, "Please don't tell anyone." This time he gave him ten rupees so that he would not tell others.

In a few days' time the friend went to the man's house again. When he found out that still the man had not returned the money, he became furious. The man said, "I will give you another ten rupees if you remain silent." The man had borrowed only twenty rupees, but he had paid his friend twenty-one rupees in bribes. The friend assured him that he would never tell anyone about the debt.

In a few months' time, the man who borrowed the money and the one who lent the money accidentally met on the street. The one who borrowed the money was most apologetic. He said, "I promise that tomorrow without fail I will come to you with the money. Please believe me."

The friend said, "You don't owe me anything. You have already paid me."

The neighbour couldn't believe his ears. "How?" he asked.

"Our mutual friend gave me all the money that you gave him as a bribe," the man explained.

So the mutual friend had not actually taken any bribes. He had only wanted the bad fellow to return the money. He had threatened and frightened him so that he could get the bribe money and then return it to his friend.