Rita found a purse containing money when she was returning home from school. She took the purse to her father, Praveen. He asked her, ‘Where did you find it?’ Rita answered that she had found it under the neem tree near Babu’s sweet shop. Praveen counted the money and found that it contained thousand rupees.
Praveen was an honest man. He went to Babu’s shop to find out if the purse was his. He found everyone frantically searching everywhere in the shop; under the tables, near the cash counter and in the cupboards on the wall. He showed Babu the purse and asked him whether it belonged to him. Babu immediately snatched the purse and said, ’Yes, where did you find it?’ Praveen replied, ‘My daughter Rita found it under the neem tree outside your shop.’
Babu was a cunning and greedy man He counted the money and said, ‘But there was thousand five hundred rupees inside the purse. Now there is only thousand.’
Praveen replied, ‘I counted the money before bringing the purse to you. It contained only thousand.’
‘No it did not! You and your daughter are liars and cheats. She must have taken five hundred. I am going to the headman to report you.’
Praveen was angry at the false accusation, ‘I would like to come too, with Rita. The fair headman will decide who is honest.’
The headman heard the story. He knew what a greedy man Babu was. He also knew Rita and Praveen were simple, honest people. He said. ‘Since your purse contained thousand five hundred and the purse Rita found contained thousand, this purse cannot belong to you. I will have it in custody until the right owner turns up. You can go back and search for your purse.’
Babu was dumbstruck. His plan had backfired! He apologized to the headman, Rita and Praveen and admitted that his purse had contained only thousand rupees. The headman reprimanded him, ‘If you want your purse back, pay the extra five hundred you claimed was inside it to the treasury. It will be used to serve the poor and bring redemption for your dishonesty and lies.’
Moral: Greed leads to dishonesty and lies, making you a lesser person.