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Aesops fables retold - The miser

Updated on May 20, 2013

'The miser' is one of the collection of Aesops fables, part of a large number of ancient stories and fables available to us to read, enjoy, ponder over and learn from. Though short and simple many of these stories offer us interesting insights into people's behavior and also present valuable morals that we would do well to imbibe.

The miser, a story from the Aesop's fables, is retold below.

Raj was quite wealthy. He lived in a small town. But he hated spending money, and was a real miser. In spite of having a lot of money, Raj lived very frugally. He wore tattered clothes, ate but once a day and never gave a penny to anyone for any reason.

As he grew older Raj became still more miserly. Even the one meal a day would be old stuff he would purchase cheaply from the town hotel. Even when he got quite ill, Raj refused to call a doctor. He just lay down in his room and waited for the fever to pass.

As Raj grew older he became more and more worried about the safety of his wealth. He had a lot of money in his house, several houses, jewels, money in the bank etc. So one day, Raj sold all his assets and bought a huge lump of gold, so that it would be easier to take care of.

Raj buried the gold in a small pit in his garden, that he dug one night. Every hour or so Raj would go and gaze at his gold. This gave him great joy and was his chief joy in life.

But alas, not all in the town were honest. There was a thief in the town; he say Raj gazing at something hidden underground in his garden every day. He guessed it would be something valuable. Having set his heart on that the thief observed Raj for several days. One day, after Raj had just seen his gold and gone inside, the thief reached the pit and took a look. On seeing a huge lump of gold, the thief was overjoyed. He quickly took it and went away

After a while when Raj came out to check on and gaze at his gold, he found it missing. Raj was devastated. He started lamenting and crying loudly. He started becoming mad with grief.

A passer-by stopped and inquired what happened.

"I have lost all my money," cried Raj.

"Oh! Did a thief break into your house and take away everything," sympathized the passer-by.

"No, all my money in the form of a lump of gold was kept here, in this pit," cried Raj. "Oh dear what will I do now?"

The passer-by was confused.

"You mean you keep all your money in the garden," he said in disbelief. "How did you spend it then. How did you buy things you needed?"

"My hard-earned money was never for spending," shouted Raj flying into a rage. "I was keeping my gold here, and I would look at it every now and then each day."

"You mean you would never have spent the gold?" asked the passer-by.

"Never," cried the miser. "Are you joking! If I spend the money, it would be over! I would just keep it and look at it every day thinking , 'This is mine!'"

The passer-by took a huge stone from the road and dropped it into the now empty pit where the gold was.

"In that case, you may as well look at this stone," he said. "You can think of it as yours!"

Of what use are possessions that don't benefit us or anyone, like the gold buried in the ground?

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