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The story “The Miser” is about a mean and greedy man named Surender, who had stored money, gold, silver, diamonds and precious stones in three huge storehouses. But despite his wealthy status, he was so stingy that he hated to spend any of his hoarded treasure. He bought the cheapest clothes for his children and almost starved his family members. They supped on gruel most of the time, so that more money could be saved.
One day, while walking through the market- place, Surender saw a man eating a large, soft, yellow ladoo rich with raisins and cashew nuts. As the man bit into it, Surender’s mouth began to water and he desperately began yearning for a ladoo. He knew that his wife Vandana would make him a ladoo,but she would prepare many ladoos to share them with their children and friends.
Surender did not want to waste his money on so many ladoos. So, he decided to keep quiet. But, the desire for a ladoo was so much that his legs became weak.The thought of wasting his money on the ingredients made him quite ill, so he decided not to express his longing for a ladoo infront of his wife. Vandana guessed that something was wrong with her husband so she asked him about the matter.
Surender finally expressed his appetite and requested her to make him a ladoo. Vandana was glad and said she would make dozens of ladoos and give them to their children, neighbours and servants. Surender was horrified at the thought of his money being wasted on so many ladoos so he said that there was no need to share them with neighbours and friends. He even rejected the idea of the ladoos being shared with his own family.
Disappointed, Vandana said she would make two ladoos, one for him and one for her. This was also not acceptable to Surender and he told her to make only one ladoo for him. Vandana was ashamed of her husband’s miserliness but as a dutiful wife, she made a single ladoo, and Surender ate it greedily.
A lesson for the miser
Sakka, the King of Gods and the Ruler of the Heavens, watched all this from above and decided to teach Surender a lesson. The next day, when Surender went for a walk in the morning, Sakka assumed Surender’s form and entered his house. He told Vandana that he was going to share all his wealth and told her to open the doors of his treasure houses and invite people to take away whatever they wanted.
Vandana was very happy at this change in her husband. She sent a servant to invite people and open the barn doors. The people came running and started taking away the wealth. Sakka told them that if an imposter who looks like him tries to stop them, they should drive him away. Surender returned and found his wealth being robbed. He tried to stop them, but was driven away. Surender went to the king and complained against the people plundering his wealth. The king wanted to know who had given the order to invite people.
Then, Sakka in the form of Surender came to the court accompanied by Vandana and the children. There was a huge confusion between the two Surenders. The confused king requested Vandana to identify the real Surender. Vandana asked both the Surrenders if it was better to be generous to all or not. The make-believe
Surender accepted the idea of being generous and keeping others happy while the real Surender did not agree with her. Vandana chose the make-believe Surender as her husband. Then Sakka appeared in his original form and told the king that he had come down from heaven to teach Surender a lesson.
He told Surender that his miserliness and selfishness had brought him to such a situation that even his wife and children did not want him, because they were fed up with his greedy and piggish nature. Sakka advised Surender to be more generous and warned him, if he did not do so, he would come back for him. Sakka vanished in a cloud of smoke. Surender embraced his wife and children happily. Vandana said that she would celebrate the occasion by making dozens of ladoos and sharing them. Surender unwillingly agreed.