by Shobha Diwakar
Once upon a time, there was a poor man who possessed a golden goose. Surely, everyone has read that story in his / her childhood and enjoyed it. Remember how that pretty goose laid one golden egg daily, which brought the man some money. Tired of getting just an egg per day was not his cup of tea. He wondered, “If this goose can lay one egg day by day I am sure she must have dozens hidden her belly however, she gives me just one. I’ll wait for a few days more and see if she can perhaps lay two instead of one,” and so the poor man counted days for the golden goose to bless him for more than one egg a day but his patience died a slow death when he realized that the goose was not in a mood to do so. Now guess what happened after a week.
The man spent a restless night. He got up very early the next morning and rushed to the pen to have a look at the eggs. He was raged. There was just one egg in the barn and he was agitated. He rushed inside the kitchen, pulled open the drawer, and drew out a knife and without further ado, slashed open the goose’s stomach. To his horror, he stood aghast. The goose lay dead on the floor bleeding with all its organs torn. There were no eggs. He cursed himself, tore his hair, beat his chest but the goose had relieved him of his greed. From the next morn, he found no golden eggs to sell and fetch money for his livelihood. All that he could now do was to lament his loss. Now there was no egg to take care of his needs. At night, he lay awake pondering over his imprudence to no avail.
Subsequently he fell asleep. The sun as usual shone upon his little hut; the man wearily strolled out of bed, gazed at the sky pleading God for forgiveness for his stupidity but just then, the sky turned grey, stray dark clouds floated across the sky raging thunder and lightning followed with thrashing rains pounding upon the hungry earth as never before. The man rushed inside. The sudden torrential rains had split the roof and the rainwater had seeped in flooding his only tiny hut. Now he could do nothing; whatever his little hut held had floated down the rushing rain; his insignificant belongings were all lost. He was in total despair. He crouched on the wet ground and sobbed incessantly like a small babe in arms for now there was nothing he could do. That golden goose had taken great care of his daily needs and now out of his foolishness, it was lost; he ruefully realized there was no end to his sufferings. It seemed as though the golden goose was all set to avenge its sorrowful cruel death.
Crouched on the ground, and nowhere to go the poor man was completely drenched; he shivered and felt the cold rush through him. He got up with a start and looked up. The clouds by now had dispersed and the floating cold breeze greeted him with a sting to remind him of his reckless attitude. He welcomed the tears flowing down his cheeks as if asking forgiveness for his pitiless action. He got up and looked around him, the sun had suddenly broken through those nasty dark clouds and a beam of ray fell upon the remains of his once little hut that had weathered all storms for those last many years. The rubble was still there though doused with the pelting rain. He looked around and found his hatchet buried under the fallen roof and with newfound strength started to rebuild his hut.
The merry wind sang and cooled him as he joyfully began to fabricate and create his hut with great care. Finally, by dusk his shelter was ready however, most of his scanty clothes and belongings were all soaked and his ‘khat’ (coir bed) was too rough and wet. He sat on its edge and took a deep breath, happy that his little sanctuary was with God’s grace ready. He was not sad for the harrowing experience; he felt God had sent the wind, the clouds and the rains to teach him a lesson to respect all innocent lives.
The next morn he got up early and trudged along to the nearby village. He went to the market and bought himself a robust hen with the little cash he had tucked in his loin. No doubt, it was crumpled and wet, yet the old man selling hens took the same without any qualms. The man tucked it under his arms and returned to his shelter. He placed the hen in the little pen he had managed to make and went out to cut some leaves and branches to lay on his ‘khat’ and then realized his ‘robust hen’ also needed to be cozy! He went out, broke some leafy, small branches and placed them in the pen on which the hen proudly perched itself to sleep. The man too, tired of his exploits fell asleep.
It was late morning when he yawned and got up. His first thought was to rush out and check whether the hen had laid him an egg. He resisted the thought and out of the scanty things he had tried to retrieve from the rains, he found an old pot and boiled water to drink to satisfy his longing for a cup of hot tea. Then he went out and pried into the pen; the hen was clucking and was trying to announce there was an egg for him to pick up. To his joy, the man picked up the hen, petted it and gratefully clutched the solitary egg, which was to be food for him for the day. Of course, this was an ordinary egg and not the golden one he previously got. Nonetheless, the next day he found two eggs of which he sold one and the routine continued until he had enough money to buy more hens and cocks. He was no longer greedy; God had taught him a grave lesson, so he gratefully thanked Him every day for the blessings He was showering upon him.
The man had lost his Golden Goose; God had punished him severely to make him realize the value of all living creatures.
Moral of the story is that Greed and Temptation ruin a persons’ life; so beware of falling into such pitfalls because Greed has never done anyone any good.
About the Author: Dr. Shobha Diwakar lives in Jabalpur, India and retired as the head of English department at C.P. Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur. She has published many research papers, stories, poems and essays in national, international and online journals. She contributes regularly to writerslifeline and Indian Periodical.