GREED AND LUST
[A Teaching Story from the Panchatantra]
There was an old man, a good natured simple farmer, who had a young wife.
The young wife was not satisfied with her aged simpleton husband, neglected her household work, and always yearned for the company of young handsome men.
One day, a smart young good-looking man saw her and seeing that she was alone went to her and said, “You are the most beautiful woman in the world and I am the most eligible bachelor. I have fallen in love with you the moment I saw you. Please give me the pleasure of your company.”
Delighted, the woman said to the young Casanova, “Listen my dear, my husband has a lot of wealth. He is old and of no use to me. I will take out all the money and jewellery and let us elope to some other town and live there happily ever after.”
The con-man was very happy and asked her to bring all her wealth to the mango orchard near the river at midnight where he would be waiting for her.
“We will both disappear in the darkness and head for the next town,” he told assured her.
The lusty woman waited till it was dark and when her husband fell asleep she stole all the money, jewellery and gold, packed it in a bag and left the house at midnight to meet the trickster at a place he had indicated. The trickster took the bag full of money and gold from her on the pretext that he would carry it and walked towards the river.
The smart young handsome man looked at the woman and thought, “What is the point of wasting my whole life with this woman? She seems a bit older than me too and soon may turn into a shrew. Also if she couldn’t be loyal to her husband she may ditch me too for someone else. It is better I dump her but take her money and jewellery with me.”
With these thoughts in mind he told the woman, “Look, my dear, it is very difficult to cross the river. I will first swim with the money bag to the other side of the river and keeping it there I will come back and carry you on my back.”
She readily agreed and gave the bag to her new found lover.
He asked her to take off her clothes too and give them to him to carry across the river as he felt her clothes would hinder swimming. She took off all her clothes and gave them to the man who swam across the river the money-bag and her clothes.
Covering her naked body with her hands, the woman began waiting restlessly for her lover to return.
Just then a jackal with a piece of meat in his mouth happened to pass by. The jackal saw that big juicy fish had been washed ashore by a wave and desperate to catch it the jackal ran towards the fish and in the process he dropped the meat piece from his mouth.
But suddenly another big wave took the fish back into the water.
Disappointed, the jackal went back to pick up the piece of meat, but meanwhile a crow dived down fast and took the meat piece away before the jackal could reach it.
The woman laughed at the greedy jackal who had lost the both the fish and also the piece of meat.
Hurt by the woman’s behaviour, the jackal said, “Don’t laugh you stupid woman. I lost a piece of meat due to my greed but you have lost everything – your husband, your lover and your wealth – due to your lust.”
Tell me, Dear Reader, what is the moral of this story?