The children answered, "No, we don't want free haircuts. Our parents will kill us. They have always told us, 'If you get any help from anyone, you have to pay.'"
The man said, "Your parents are all fools. Whenever you can get anything free, you should take it."
Immediately the children started striking the middle-aged man. But one little fellow, who was six years old, didn't join the others. He said, "I want a free haircut."
The man said, "You are my boy. Come with me."
So the boy followed him. The man said, "Since you are the only one, would you like something to eat first?"
The boy wanted ice cream and candy, and the man bought it for him. Then he said, "Let us go for a haircut."
They went to a barber shop where the barber was just finishing somebody else's hair. The man said to the barber, "I have to get a shave and my son has to have his hair cut. It will be nice if you can shave me first and then, while you are cutting his hair, I will be able to go and get a newspaper from the booth on the corner."
The barber said, "Fine!" and he shaved the man first.
The man said, "Now, you cut my son's hair. I am going to get a newspaper." He was gone five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes. By that time, the little boy's hair was cut.
Then the barber said, "Why is your father taking such a long time?"
The boy said, "Who is my father? That man? I don't know him. He is not my father."
The barber said, "But you came with him."The boy said, "He told me that you give free haircuts. I said I wanted a free haircut, but my friends didn't want to have one, so they didn't come." The child started crying, and he did not want to tell his parents' names. So the barber took him back to the park to join his friends who were still there playing.
He bought many things to take back to his wife and show off. Then he went to a very fancy restaurant and said to the headwaiter, "Give me anything that you want to. I don't care how expensive it is; only it has to be most delicious."
The headwaiter said, "Fine," and entered into the kitchen to bring the food. In the meantime the villager took off the tablecloth and tied it around his neck so that he would not ruin his new clothes. When the headwaiter came back, he said, "What is this? He is all ready for shaving, and I have brought this food!" He was so disgusted!
One of the headwaiter's joker-friends said to the villager, "You have come to the right place for a shave."
The man said, "I want to eat food. I have lots of money."
The joker continued, "It seems you have come here for a shave, the way you have put this cloth on. Wait for a few minutes. We have sent for the barber. Do you need a shave or a haircut?"
The villager said, "They told me this was a restaurant."
The joker said, "No, this is a barber shop, only the barber is missing. But they have sent for him so you can have a very nice, clean shave and haircut. The barber is coming."The man stood up and said, "I came to the wrong place. I do not need a shave. I need food." So the man left.
The lady said, "All right, I will tell you what I have been suffering from for months and months," and she went on to tell him all her complaints about her ear.
The doctor asked her how old she was and she said, "I have forgotten how old I am, but let me think. Since I never tell a lie, let me not make a mistake in telling you my age. I was married when I was twenty and my husband was forty. Just the other day my husband said that our marriage is forty years old. So my husband is double the age that he was when we were married. I must also be double the age I was. So I am forty. Am I not correct?"
The doctor laughed at her and said, "Yes, you are correct. You are forty and he is eighty."
The lady got mad at the doctor and said, "My children and grandchildren are all educated, but they have such respect for me. They think that I know much more than they do. Here you are a doctor and you think that I don't even know how to count. Anyway, my main complaint is that I don't hear well."
The doctor said, "It is a great blessing that you don't hear well. Your children and grandchildren are leading their own lives, and all kinds of calamities are taking place. You are fortunate that you can't hear about these problems."
The lady said, "But when they have good news, I can't hear either. This hearing problem is a punishment."The doctor said, "For each piece of good news that you would get, you would hear twenty bad things. So the best thing is for you to have a bad ear, so you can avoid hearing anything."
The husband said, "What do you mean?"
The wife said, "You are becoming mean in every way. Any time I ask you for a favour, you won't do it. But there once was a time when you used to please me in every way. What have I done to you?"
The husband said, "Be specific. What do you mean?"
The wife explained, "I mean you are not pleasing me."
"I am not pleasing you? But I try my best to please you," the husband said.
The wife said, "No, you don't try to please me anymore. When we first got married, you used to think of me more and give me more. If we had anything to share, always you used to give me the larger share."
The husband said, "Be specific. What do you mean?"
The wife continued, "I am talking about when you eat. When we were first married, whenever I made a delicious cake and asked you to cut it, you used to take the smaller piece and give me the bigger piece. When I used to ask you to cut the meat, you used to take the smaller piece. Now you are taking the bigger piece and giving me the smaller one. In those days you would not have done that."The husband said, "In those days you didn't know how to cook at all. Your food was terrible. That is why I used to take the smaller piece. Now everything you make is most delicious. That is why I take the larger portion and give you the smaller one."
The wife said, "No, people only cut jokes with you."
The husband said, "Let me stand on the scale and see what kind of fortune I get.
He stood on the scale and it said 230 pounds. Then he got his fortune. Since he had not brought his glasses, he said to his wife, "Can you read it out for me?"
The wife read, "It is good to remain fat. If you are fat, then you will not have beauty. If you do not have beauty, nobody will bother you and you will be compelled to remain faithful to your wife. Nobody will care for you and your wife will be stuck with you."
The husband was shocked. He asked, "Is it like that? Is it better for me to be fat so nobody will pay attention to me?"
The wife said, "Yes, it is good. In that way you can remain faithful to me."
But the husband said, "No, I want beauty also. I do not have to worry about my faithfulness. It will automatically come to me, because my father was faithful to his wife and my grandfather was faithful to his wife. Everybody in my family always has been faithful. But I want to lose weight."
Inwardly the wife said, "O God, what kind of message have I read out?" She said to her husband, "Can I read it out again?"
The husband said, "But it will be the same message."
She said, "If you stand on the scale again, I think you will have a better message."
This time, because the wife was reading the scale, the husband's weight had decreased five pounds. Then the wife said, "This time the message is very simple: 'You will never find such an obedient, faithful wife in this incarnation. She is always proud of you.'"The husband said, "All right, since you are very proud of me and I am proud of you, let us go home."
One girl in Spain felt that he truly loved her most of all. She felt inwardly that some day he would not pay any attention to any other girls. It was her hope that he would one day marry her. Unfortunately, as the years passed, the situation became worse and the girl was becoming disgusted with the sailor. But his letters still used to come to her, saying that he loved her only.
One day, while he was sailing near a tropical island, a very beautiful parrot flew into his boat. He caught the bird, put it in a box and mailed it to his girlfriend in Spain with a note. The note said, "I love you only. Soon we are going to get married."
The girlfriend was thrilled to get the box. She wrote him a few letters, asking him to tell her the exact date when they would get married. He answered that definitely they would get married soon, but he could not tell the date. He said, "I have no idea when I am going to land in Spain again. I have to go to various places."
Two years passed, and there was still no sign of his coming. The girl finally got mad at him and also at his parrot, because the bird had brought such false news. So she killed the parrot and threw away all of the sailor's old letters. She cried, "I don't want to have anything to do with him. Anything that came from him I do not want to keep." She destroyed all his letters and gifts.
The following day who came, but the sailor!
The girl opened the door and said, "What? You have come?"
"Yes," said the sailor.
Then the girl said, "I am so sorry. I thought that you were a rogue and you would never come back to me. I thought that you would never come and that you were laughing at me. So I got mad and destroyed your letters and killed your parrot."
The sailor was shocked. "I can understand that you would not want our love letters, our heart-to-heart letters. But how could you kill such a beautiful bird?"
The girl said, "I was so angry and upset. Anything that belonged to you, I destroyed. Now I feel so sad. Please forgive me."
The sailor said, "Let us have mutual forgiveness. I have delayed in my coming, so you were angry. Now you forgive me for my delay, and I will forgive you for destroying my letters and bird."
The girl asked, "When do you plan for us to get married?"
The sailor said, "Oh yes. Now the thing is, do you want me to marry you or do you want me to invite you to a wedding party?"
The girlfriend was puzzled: "What are you talking about?"
"You and I are getting married," the sailor said. "Definitely we are getting married. But a third party is unfortunately involved. So I came here to offer you an invitation to my wedding party instead of writing you a letter."
The girl fainted. The sailor started putting water on her head and shaking her, telling her, "Get up, get up."
Finally the girl said, "I am getting up."
The sailor said, "Tomorrow I will come with your sister."
"What?" the girl exclaimed. "I don't have a sister."
The sailor said, "I will bring a friend to meet you."
The girl was sad. But she said, "I can't blame you for planning to marry somebody else."
The sailor said, "I am sorry. I just told you a lie; I have already married. Nine months ago I got married. Tomorrow I will bring my wife to meet you and she will be like a sister as well as your best friend on earth."Both the girl and the sailor looked at each other and cried. They weren't crying for each other. They were crying for the way they had behaved towards each other. She cried for how he had deceived her, and he cried because he had broken her innocent heart.
The students said, "There are many, such as great boxers and wrestlers, who are physically strong but mentally useless. And there are many who are mentally strong, such as great scholars, who can't lift one pound."
The students were arguing, and the teacher was trying to convince them. The students gave so many names of people who were physically strong but in the mental field were absolute idiots. Again, they were naming poets and scholars who were very weak.
Finally the teacher said, "Whatever you want to say, you can say. But I know many, many scholars who were very physically fit. In Greece, I know of one professor who was physically strong and, at the same time, mentally strong. He took all kinds of exercises."
One student in the history class happened to be a swimmer. She said, "I don't consider anybody physically strong unless he swims. Did this professor in Greece swim?"
The history teacher said, "Yes, he did swim and he used to ask his students to swim every day. It was compulsory that they swim. They had a very big pool and, before the class began, everybody was supposed to swim laps. Although it was a very big pool, they had to swim the length five times. They would leave their clothes and belongings at one end of the pool and swim the length of the pool five times. Then they would go to class after completing the five compulsory laps."
The girl started giggling and laughing. Then the teacher got furious. He said, "Come stand in front of me and kneel down. You are absolutely audacious! What an unruly student! Others I can keep under control."
The girl said, "How can you keep me under control if you are such a fool?"
All the students were so embarrassed. They didn't dare say that to their teacher. The teacher said, "I will report you to your parents."
The girl said, "You can report me to my parents, but I didn't know you were such a fool."
"What?" screamed the teacher.The girl continued, "You said that swimming the pool five times was compulsory. If the students put their clothes at one end, then when they completed five laps, they would be on the wrong end. Do you think they would have gone inside the classroom in their swimming costumes? It has to be six laps or four laps, not five. I'm sure the teacher didn't allow them to sit there in the classroom in their swimming costumes and to leave all their belongings on the other side!"
The husband told her, "It is so expensive, and we are poor people. Besides, how do you know it is the right size?"
The wife said, "I inquired and the sweater is my size."
Every day the wife continued to beg the husband, but the husband would say, "We are very poor. We will starve. It is fifty dollars, and we cannot spend fifty dollars just for a sweater."
The wife was so sad that she could not even cook properly. The husband felt miserable and finally he said, "All right, for us to spend fifty dollars is really something. But I am giving you fifty dollars to buy the sweater."
He gave her the money before he went to work. In the evening he came back and asked, "Where is the sweater?"
The wife said, "I went to the store to buy the sweater, but when I saw it on display, something entered into my mind."
The husband was so happy. "You were thinking that we really don't have enough money. Am I not correct? I am so grateful to you that you have not spent the fifty dollars on a sweater. You knew I was all the time protesting, so you didn't buy it."
The wife said, "No, I was not thinking of you or our poverty. I was just thinking of one thing. The brilliant thought entered into my mind that if the sweater had been really beautiful and really comfortable, I am sure by this time someone would have bought it. I thought that perhaps I was a fool, and the sweater couldn't really be that beautiful and that comfortable. For two weeks I have been begging you for the money. In two weeks' time somebody else would have bought it if it had been really beautiful. That is why I didn't buy it."The husband said, "I am so happy for this brilliant idea. Every day you can be a great discoverer. One day you will discover an infinitely greater truth in life. From your discovery, you will make us rich. Then we will lead a most comfortable life and we will be able to buy not only one sweater but hundreds of sweaters. We will be able to buy any dress or anything that you want. You should always have these good, effective ideas."
The bartender gave him a drink and then continued attending to the others in the bar. In five minutes again the man said to the bartender, "Please, give me another one quickly before the real problem starts."
The bartender was so busy that he didn't ask the man what kind of problem he was referring to. He just gave him another drink and went on serving others.
Once again the man said to the bartender, "Please, give me one more. I'm in a terrible hurry. Soon I will be having serious problems."
Finally the bartender asked, "What is wrong? Is there something happening at home? What has gone wrong in your life?"
The man said, " I will tell you, but first give me one last drink. My most serious problem is just about to start."
The bartender gave him one more drink.The man said, "Thank you," and started getting up to leave. "A serious problem has arisen. Even from the time I took the first drink I didn't have any money. Before you harrass me or punish me for not paying, before I get into trouble, I am disappearing. This is the trouble I was talking about." Then the man ran away.
The older sister was consoling her brother, saying, "On your birthday, I am sure our parents will give you something very nice. I got the violin on my birthday. I'm sure they will give you any instrument that you like on your birthday."
The little boy's birthday came in a few months' time. Since he was very little and he always liked to make noise, his mother gave him a drum. The father was a little bit disturbed, but the mother said to him, "What did you do at his age?" The father himself had played a drum, so he kept quiet.
Day in and day out the little boy played on the drum. Whenever his sister tried to play her violin, he would ruin her music by banging on his drum. Sometimes she felt sad and cried. Other times she would just say, "What can I do?" Her father told her, "Since your brother is so little, in a few weeks he will stop playing altogether. Children are fond of doing things only for a short time." So she decided she would just tolerate the situation.
Unfortunately, this went on and on, and everybody in the house became very disturbed. But nobody had the heart to stop the little boy. He was the youngest and they had such love for him. What could they do? One day the little child's maternal aunt came to visit the family. She was a very unkind and shrewd lady. For a few days she appreciated the boy like anything, saying he was a great musician. Just before she left, the aunt told him, "I am going to give you a gift that will make you happy and also make your family happy." Then she gave him a knife to play with.
One day the boy was playing with the knife when, quite unexpectedly, he struck the drum and ruined it. He cried miserably and felt so sad that he no longer had the drum. Of course, in the back of her mind the aunt had hoped that one day he would ruin the drum with the knife. The message went to the aunt's house that the boy had broken the drum and that the parents were very happy — especially the father, who had not had the heart to stop his son from playing.
Over the years the boy became very attached to that beautiful knife. Always he used to keep it with him. When he was a teenager, he was once attacked in a park by two drug addicts who threatened to beat him if he did not give them money. He had only ten dollars, but he was so furious that he took out the knife and waved it in front of them. Both of them ran away.
The boy said, "This knife really has saved me today." So he went to his aunt's house and said, "When I was a little child, you gave me this knife and today it has saved me. Out of gratitude, I shall give you what I have. I have only a ten dollar bill, but I wish to give it to you."As soon as his aunt saw the knife and the ten dollar bill, and her nephew's tears of delight, she said to herself, "O God, Your world is even because there are bad people like me and good people like this boy." The boy never knew what had been in the back of her mind.
On his last day in the village, the artist wanted to give some money to his host because he had stayed there for so long. But the farmer said, "No, you are our guest. A guest is like God. How can we take money from you?"
The artist insisted: "In this world everybody needs money. Nothing is free. For everything we need money. Please take it."
But the farmer remained firm. He said, "No, I can't take money."
The artist told him, "If you won't take my money, please take something else from me."
The farmer said that he would like one of the artist's paintings. The artist was very pleased and said, "Yes, please take any painting you want."
The farmer carefully selected one. The artist thanked the farmer and the farmer thanked the artist.
Finally, when the artist was leaving, the farmer said to him, "I have not accepted money from you for a special purpose. Money will come and money will go, but it won't solve my main problem in life, which is my son. My son wants to become an artist, and I have been pleading with him not to, because artists cannot make a living. I have told him he should take up my profession. He should become a farmer and learn mechanical things. But he will not listen, and he has left home to stay at my brother's house."I want to show my son how ugly a picture can be. Your paintings are so bad! I am showing him this one so that he will be frightened that if he becomes an artist, he will also paint as horribly as you do. He will be horrified, and he will give up the idea of becoming an artist."
The man answered, "I am very happy because I have a very peaceful life. The members of my family are all good to me, especially my wife. We have been married for twenty years and we have not quarreled even once."
The colleague said, "Unbelievable! Please tell me exactly how this is possible. I wonder if in God's creation there can be even one more woman like your wife. Your wife is so nice. Please tell me how you keep everything so peaceful in your household."
The gentleman said, "Life depends on decisions, big and small. I always give my wife the chance to make the small decisions."
The friend was very curious. "What kind of decisions?" he asked.
The man continued: "What to buy at the market, what I should wear, what time I should go to sleep and get up in the morning — everything she decides. About things like whether we should go to a party, I gladly listen to her. But I make the major decisions."
The friend asked, "What kind of decisions do you make?"
The man said, "I decide what Roosevelt and Churchill should chat about when they meet, and how much time they should spend together. I make decisions about when ministers of different countries should start talking and how the developing countries should not be so greedy. I talk to the souls of Churchill, Roosevelt and other great world figures, and inwardly I make many decisions. I tell them what kind of things they should discuss. My wife is quite happy with this arrangement. I deal with world decisions and she makes home decisions. So that's why we are very peaceful."
The friend said, "Oh, that is why you are so peaceful and happy. And what does your wife say if someone asks her how she manages with you?"The man said, "My wife says she is always proud of me and she will always be proud of me as long as I remain faithful to her. She says that no matter what I say or do, she won't mind. She wants only faithfulness from me, and she has got it. That is why she is so proud of me, and why she allows me to make decisions involving world politics and so forth."
One day he wrote on a piece of paper, "Please tell me in what ways I can please you. I will immediately do so."
The wife said, "Enough! I have had enough from you in my life. I don't want anything from you."
Then he said, "If you need any favour from me, I will be willing to do it for you."
She said, "I don't need any help from you or any favour from you. But if you want any favour from me, I shall grant it."
The husband said, "Even if it is a very difficult task, will you do it?
The wife said, "There is nothing that I cannot do for you."
So the husband became so happy, excited and delighted. He said, "That means our long standing quarrel has come to an end."
The wife said, "I think so."
Then the husband said, "Please do me a favour. Tomorrow I have to be at the school early, at six o'clock, because an examination is being held. I have to get up at five o'clock. So you won't forget, I am writing down my request on a piece of paper." He wrote, "Please wake me up at five o'clock." Then the husband and wife went to their respective rooms.
Early in the morning, at five o'clock, the wife wrote down on a piece of paper, "Gentleman, get up! It is five o'clock." She put the note in her husband's room. He didn't hear her come into the room, so he did not wake up.
Finally, at nine o'clock, he woke up. When he looked at the time, he felt sad and mad. He said to his wife, "How is it that you didn't call me?"The wife said, "You wrote me a note asking me to wake you at five o'clock. I wrote you another note telling you to get up. It was an exchange of notes. The wife of a gentleman has to behave in a gentlemanly way. A gentleman does not make any noise when he enters into a room. He does everything very calmly and quietly. So calmly and quietly I put the note in your room. What more can you expect from a gentleman's wife?"
The husband said, "Every day you make a most delicious meal. I am so proud of you and grateful to you."
The wife said, "No, today it will be absolutely the most delicious meal. But can you not do me a favour? I have many postcards and Christmas cards. I have got stamps also. Please write a few Christmas greeting cards to our friends and relatives, since I am busy cooking. You can sign my name too, although it is coming from you."
The husband said, "Certainly, I will do it. I am going upstairs."
She said, "Yes, you take a shower, write the letters and then come down when the meal is ready."
The husband went upstairs and took a shower. He wanted to take a short rest and then get up and write the letters. But he fell asleep very nicely, and the next thing he knew his wife was screaming, "Come and eat, come and eat!"
The husband came downstairs and confessed, "I am so sorry. I fell asleep, so I did not write the letters."
The wife said, "I fully understand. You are exhausted. Never mind. Tomorrow you can do it."
The husband said, "No, I will be able to finish all the letters in ten minutes."
The wife said, "How can you? You have at least fifteen cards."
The husband said, "Even in five minutes I can do it."
The wife said, "Don't cut jokes with me about this."
He said, "As a matter of fact, I actually finished all the letters before I fell asleep."
"Is that so?" asked the wife. "I am so grateful to you."
"Yes," said the husband, "I will go upstairs to get them."
"You have signed them?" the wife asked.
"Yes," the husband said.
The wife was very grateful and told him, "I assure you, today's meal is most delicious."
The husband went upstairs and brought back at least twelve letters and greeting cards, all stamped properly.
The wife said, "But these cards are totally different from the cards that I gave you. The stamps are also different. These are ten cent stamps, but the rate is now fifteen cents. Where did you get these cards and stamps?"
The husband said, "You don't know? You have been living with a magician. In only two hours, I have totally transformed all the cards and stamps." The husband paused. Then he said, "What happened is this. Last year you asked me to do the same thing, but I never mailed last year's cards. Just a little while ago I remembered that last year I wrote the cards, put stamps on them, but never mailed them. These cards are from last year."The wife scolded him mercilessly. Then she said, "Now go into the kitchen and eat." But she herself went upstairs fuming.
The daughter answered, "First of all, when I wear glasses, I see less clearly. I don't need glasses because my vision is quite good. Also, the ones you bought don't fit.
"Secondly, my boyfriend says that when I wear glasses and make-up, at times I look more beautiful but at times I look ugly. Every day when he looks at me, he has different feelings. Some days when I wear glasses and make-up, he says I am not as beautiful as I am without them. On other days he says I am more beautiful."
The mother said, "So, what is wrong if he thinks you are more beautiful? If he feels you are more beautiful, soon you will be engaged and then you will get married. Then you will become more settled. I will be very happy if you settle down. Every day you are creating worries and anxieties for me. I want you to get married, so I will have fewer problems."The daughter explained, "Mother, if I wear glasses and make-up and I look ugly, he does not want to look at me. If I look more beautiful, he becomes very insecure and feels that other boys will bother me. He is afraid that if other boys show interest in me, he may lose me. That is the real reason I don't wear glasses and make-up."
From:Sri Chinmoy,The sailor and the parrot, Agni Press, 1981
Sourced from https://srichinmoylibrary.com/sp