There was a young man who was always getting in trouble because of the good things that he did for others. Usually when someone does bad things he gets in trouble. But in this young man’s case, whenever he did something good he got in trouble.
His parents were very sad that he kept getting in trouble despite his good intentions. Because they were worried about him, they saved up lots of money so he would have some security when they died. But they were still worried that when they were no longer around to help their son, he would do stupid things and lose all his money. Then there would be nobody to take care of him. While they were alive they would always support him and there would be no financial difficulty. But they were concerned about what would happen after their death.
What kinds of stupid things would he do? One day he was walking along the bank of a river on his way to school when he saw an elderly woman fetching water from the river with a jar. The woman put the jar on her back and started carrying it back home. Since it was quite heavy, after a short while she put it on the ground and took rest. The young man was watching her and when she was about to lift it up again, he said to himself, “Since it is so heavy, let me help her. I will tell her that if she wants my service free of charge, I will carry the pot to her house.”
The boy lifted up the jar for the old woman, only to get a slap from her. She said, “You! How dare you touch my jar! You have now polluted it. I am a brahmin. What class do you come from?”
He said, “I am just a kshatriya.”
She gave him a few more slaps and said, “Now I have to throw this jar away and go home to get another one. Then I have to come all the way back to fetch water again. You have ruined my day.”
The next day he saw an old man chasing a little boy and screaming, “Thief! Thief! Thief! If I can catch you, I will kill you.”
The young man thought, “What can such a little boy have stolen? Even if he is a thief, I won’t kill him. But I will at least catch him for the man who is chasing him.”
So he chased and caught the boy. The little boy was very strong and he struck the young man. The young man said, “You are a thief! Why do you have to strike me?” Then he gave the boy a smart slap.
Just then the old man came running up and said, “How dare you touch my grandson! Out of affection I was calling him a thief. His grandmother made sweetmeats and we thought we would eat them together. But he was so greedy that he took them and ran away. So I was playing with my grandson, calling ‘Thief! Thief!’ Who asked you to come and grab him and give him a slap?” Then the grandfather started beating the poor young man black and blue.
Another day the boy saw an old man and old lady swimming. After some time, the old man got tired so he came out and started reading the newspaper, while the old lady continued swimming. After a little while the old lady said to her husband, “Now I am tired. Can you give me a hand?”
The old man was absorbed in reading the newspaper and he paid no attention to her. The young man, who was nearby, said, “Oh, since this lady is asking for help and her husband is reading, why bother him? Let me go and give her a hand.”
So he went to the edge of the water and offered the lady his hand. The lady screamed as soon as she saw him extend his hand to help her out. Immediately the old man said, “What are you doing?”
The young man said, “She needed a hand and you were reading the newspaper.”
He said, “You idiot! She is my wife. How dare you touch my wife!”
Then he started beating the young man.
After getting such a bad beating, the young man went and lay down in a nearby field. The village head happened to be passing by and asked, “What are you doing there? Why are you lying down there?”
The young man said, “I am miserable, miserable! Every day I go out and try to help people. But despite my good intentions, people only beat me.”
The village head asked, “What do you mean?”
The boy told the stories of all that had happened to him. The village head felt very sorry for him and said, “You come with me. I will inform your parents that I am hiring you. You don’t have to go to school any more. I will put you in charge of my garden, and you will tell me every day how many mangos, guavas, apples and so forth I have. And you can eat as much as you want to.
“You are an honest person, I know. But sometimes honest people can be stupid. I want to save you from your stupidity. I will save you from your stupidity and you will save me from thievery. Your stupidity I will take care of and you will be able to help me when people come to steal things from my garden.”