Table of Contents
Chapter in a Nutshell
The chapter emphasizes on the need to have a pure heart and the importance of generosity. Narrating the story of two neighbours, with entirely different principles who upon doing the same actions receive contrasting results, it very admirably warns one to remain far from greed.
The Golden Discovery
There was an honest couple that lived with their pet dog. One fine day the couple were working in their garden and the dog accompanied them. The dog was playing around when suddenly it stopped and began barking. The old couple thought he found something to eat and dug the space.
However, what they found was no edible but expensive metals. There was gold, silver and other precious goods. The old couple showed no greed and donated a part of the treasure amongst the poor. They bought rice and corn fields for themselves with the remainder of the treasure and became wealthy.
A Wicked Scheme
In their neighbouring house, lived a greedy old couple. On looking at their success, the neighbours also wanted the same fate, so they hatched a plan. They borrowed the dog and prepared a feast for him. The wicked couple were in the hopes that by fawning the dog with a feast, he will sniff out some treasure for them too, but the dog was not easy to fool.
He did not help the greedy couple who had always cuffed and kicked him, and were now suddenly acting sweet. All he sniffed for them was dirt and animal organs. Furious with the dog, the evil couple killed the poor animal.
The good old man came looking for his dog and was devastated by the news. They told him that the dog was buried under a pine tree. The old man visited his pet’s grave with flowers, treats and teary eyes. That night, while the old man slept, he had a dream. His dog appeared and thanked him for always being kind.
The dog then asked his master to make mortar from the pine tree he was buried under and use it in his memory. The old man did as instructed. When the old man ground his rice in the mortar, each grain turned into some rich treasure. Such was the magic of the mortar.
Once again, the neighbours upon seeing this, came and borrowed the mortar. However, no sooner had they used it, all their rice turned into dirt. Raged, they broke the mortar and burnt it. Meanwhile, the good old man wondered why his mortar was not returned to him.
A Revelation and Revival
The old man had a dream again, this time the dog revealed what had happened to the mortar. He further revealed that if the old man sprinkled the ashes of the mortar on dead trees, they would revive and blossom once again. The old man went weeping to the neighbours and pleaded for the ashes of his mortar.
Once he acquired it, he first tested its power on a withered cherry tree. As soon as the ashes touched the tree, it sprouted and blossomed. Amazed by this enchantment, he put the ashes into a basket, and went around the country, announcing himself as an old man who had the power of bringing dead trees to life again.
When a certain prince heard about this strange miracle, he asked the old man to exhibit his power. Once all the withered plum and cherry trees shot out and put forth flowers, the prince was convinced and rewarded the old man with silk and other presents. The old man returned home rejoicing.
The Envious Impostor
When the evil couple found out about this, they collected the remaining ashes and the wicked old man went around posing as the man with reviving powers. Soon the prince summoned him and he was asked to perform his magic. When the old man scattered the ashes, instead of a bud sprouting, the ashes flew into the princes’ eyes and mouth, and blinded and choked him. For his action, the evil old man was beaten by the guards and he returned home in a broken state.
All’s Well That Ends Well
When the neighbours realised that what they were doing was wrongful and would never reap them anything good, they scolded themselves and decided to change and become righteous people. The good old couple shared with their neighbours from their fortune, that had now increased by repeated strokes of good luck. The wicked old people were no longer wicked or envious but now lived virtuously.
The wicked couple were always up to some trouble. If only they had good intentions and worked hard, they could have avoided all the misfortune. There is a lot to learn from the good couple too. Although they were wronged by their neighbours several times, they never resorted to evil conduct and even forgave them.
From honesty and generosity reaps treasures while from envy and greed reaps nothing but misfortune. Everything borrowed must be returned and it should be returned in a good state. The story revolves around the themes of honesty, kindness and altruism.