The miser's just punishment

There was a man who was very rich and, at the same time, extremely miserly. He would not spend money even for the basic necessities of life. Even when he had to go to the market, he would walk. He was ready to cover the distance of three miles in the hot sun to save the few rupees that a carriage would cost. Everybody in the village knew that he was the wealthiest person and the worst possible miser. His reputation had spread far and wide.

One day the miser was on his way to the market. As usual, he was proceeding on foot. There were many carts and carriages passing by. One cart stopped and the driver said, “Come in, come in! You do not have to walk all the way. Just give me a rupee and I will take you there in half the time. Instead of walking, you can afford to give me a rupee.”

“One rupee? No! I can afford only half a rupee,” said the miser.

“Half?” cried the driver. Then he said, “It is beneath my dignity to deal with a poor man like you.”

“You are calling me a poor man? Do I look like a poor man?” said the miser. He was furious with the driver. “I am the richest man in this district,” he said. “I am carrying three thousand rupees with me at this moment!”

When he made this astonishing revelation, the driver of the cart said a few unkind words to him: “Three thousand rupees you are carrying, and you cannot even give me one rupee!”

Then both of them exchanged harsh words. The miser was so proud of his wealth that he said he had three thousand rupees in his pocket. Still he did not want to part with one rupee. He was only prepared to spend half a rupee to go to the market.

A hooligan happened to be nearby and he overheard the whole story. As soon as the cart driver left the scene, this hooligan came and grabbed the miser. The miser was absolutely helpless. In a rough voice, the hooligan said to him, “Now, give me all your money or I will kill you here and now!”

The miser emptied his pockets and the hooligan found that this richest man had only one hundred rupees and not three thousand rupees as he had boasted. This hooligan had been so happy at the prospect of getting three thousand rupees but, instead, he was able to steal only one hundred rupees.

The hooligan said, “Since you do not have three thousand rupees, I have something for you!” Then he slapped the miser extremely hard. Another slap followed and finally a third one.

The first slap was for being the richest man and at the same time being so stingy. Then another slap the miser received for being so proud of his wealth. The third slap was for telling a lie. He was such a rogue! So three slaps he received from the hooligan.

Finally the hooligan said to him, “Had I known that you had only one hundred rupees, I would not have taken the trouble of coming to you.” Then he took the one hundred rupees and left the miser in the street, still smarting from the three slaps.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Life’s bleeding tears and flying smiles, part 6, Agni Press, 2001
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