Once upon a time there lived a wealthy merchant in the village Vettipan. He was the richest person in the village. All the people revered him for his talent and wealth which made the merchant prouder day by day. Finally this madness reached to such a level that he started looking down on people who were not well off. His behavior became nasty day by day. He would not listen to anyone. When anyone objected to his behavior he would say that he is the undisputed monarch in the village and he can do anything because he is a wealthy man and he doesn’t care what others think. He felt that he only is fit to be respected and there is no need for him to respect others who are working under him or who are not well off.
Though the merchant was proud, he was very good at heart, but his wealth made him blind. The merchant’s wife was not at all like him. She was very gentle and people loved her for her hospitality towards everyone.
The Merchant’s wife was very afraid and worried that one day the whole village will soon boycott them because of the merchant’s attitude towards the people. She pleaded the merchant many a times to change his ways and also questioned him many times that why he has become such a selfish nasty creature. He would just say that if money is there nothing else is required and what happens if these people go. There are many people to come and work for money. It doesn’t change anything. We have money and we can hire people to get our work done.
The merchant’s wife prayed a lot to gods to change him and her prayers were answered soon enough.
One day when the merchant was sleeping in his farmhouse. He had a very strange dream that night.
A goddess came into his dream and asked “what will happen if you remove a few workers who are under your employment?”
The merchant replied “Nothing will happen. They will find a new job and I can replace them with some other people.”
The goddess asked another question “what happens if I remove your fingers one by one without any reason? Will you find new fingers? Or replace yours with some other’s fingers?”
The merchantin a fit of rage answered “Are you mad? If I lose my fingers how will I work? Every finger is needed for me to work. And what is the relation between fingers and people? There is no relation between the both of them.”
“So be it” saying thus the goddess vanished from his dream and the merchant woke up thinking that it was such a weird dream.
In the morning one of the workers came to the merchant requesting for a hike in his pay to which the merchant said “I already pay you so much. You don’t even work properly. This is what you will get. You can continue to work or you can leave. But as you have raised your voice against me I have changed my mind and decided to fire you. Now you can leave and search for another job.”
How much ever the worker requested the merchant didn’t relent on his decision. The worker left in tears. The whole day passed on uneventful.
In the evening all the workers left home and the merchant also left for his home. On his way back in palanquin, the palanquin bearers after going some distance requested the merchant to give them some time to relax because they were tired and the weight is also too heavy. The merchant denied them any rest and asked them to walk faster so that he can reach home earlier and they can take rest once they reach.
The palanquin bearers speeded up their movement fearing their master’s wrath. After sometime one of the palanquin bearers stumbled upon a rock and fell down. As a result the other three lost balance and fell down throwing the master down.
In his fit of rage he fired all of them and asked them to not show their faces again in his life.
The merchant reached home very late in the night injured by the fall. He was very tired and went to sleep immediately.
He was in a deep sleep when he felt he heard something. He felt someone was calling him. He was disturbed from his slumber and very angrily got up to see who it was disturbing his slumber. He woke up to find his wife weeping calling his name. He didn’t understand what was going on. He was about to wake up but he was unable to move his hands. He tried again but failed. He wondered what happened to him and brought his hands forward and to his horror he found out that all his fingers on one hand had been chopped off. He started shouting out in pain and sorrow. He couldn’t understand what was going on and how did all this happen.
Nobody had any idea or reason to tell him.
Word spread in the village that the merchant was cursed for his deeds by some witch and that whoever will work for him will have the same fate. Slowly people stopped working at the merchants business. People stopped buying things from him. Life started to become tough and difficult to him as he had to do things by one hand.
Days passed by, months passed by and slowly all but merchant and his wife were left out. All their wealth disappeared. They both struggled to make ends meet.
A day came when they had nothing left except for the clothes which they were wearing.
The merchant decided to go out to the next village and look out for a new job so they can sustain themselves.
He was on his search for a job and while walking through the jungle he felt very tired. His feet demanded rest. So he settled down under a big banyan tree and decided to take a small nap.
While sleeping the only thing which he got in his mind was only if he had a chance to change things back as they were. Only if he had listened to the goddess that day things would have been much better and different today.
After sometime he woke up and was on his way to look out for a job.
He reached a small village called Vishwanamak.
There he thought that he would try his luck. He strolled in the streets and found a sign board in front of a shop saying they are in need of workers.
He immediately entered the shop to offer his services and try his luck.
As soon as he entered the shop to offer his services he stopped in his steps. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He saw there at the counter the same servant who used to work under him and the very same person who was fired by him just because he asked him to increase his wages. He was bitten hard by what he saw. The servant seeing the merchant recognized him immediately and came running to offer his greetings to him. He said “Welcome to my humble home master. What brings you here? Please be seated. All this which you are seeing is all your blessing. That day if it was not for you, I would never have left the village in search of a new job and would never have been in the position in which I am today.”
The merchant was dumbstruck. He couldn’t find words to talk. He could only muster courage to spit out the words. “I came here looking for a job”. He later explained all that has happened to him.
The servant humbly bowed to the merchant and said. “Sire all this is yours. It is your wealth and is at your command. You don’t need to work at all. This is your shop. You can take my place. I am very willing to offer my services to you.”
The merchant was moved. He had tears in his eyes. He didn’t know what to say. Here was a man offering his life to an unworthy lousy person, who never cared for him.
The merchant couldn’t accept this offer and said he had to leave. The servant pleaded a lot to take his place but “I not the right and worthy person to sit on it. It is all your hard work that you are here today and it is not because of me. It is you who worked hard to come to this position. It is too much for me. I cannot accept it.” Said the merchant.
After a while the merchant decided to leave. He took leave from the servant and was about to leave when the servant handed him a few gold coins saying “please accept this humble gift from your loyal servant.”
The merchant was all set to leave and was passing through the jungle. It was night time and vey dark. The merchant was not able to see properly. On his way back a few dacoits robbed him of the gold coins along with other belongings.
The merchant feeling doomed slowly walked home crying desperately.
As he was walking home four horsemen came galloping fast in his direction. He was afraid that they might have come to rob him too. To his surprise the horses came to a halt and the merchant was greeted by their leader. He was surprised to hear a familiar voice. It was one of his palanquin bearers’ whom the merchant has fired. When he looked up he was shocked to find them all in royal uniforms. They asked him what’s the matter and the merchant narrated his whole story to them. The riders were very happy to see their old master but very sad to see him in such a bad condition. They told him that on that day when they were fired. They were walking back home through this jungle when they heard someone shouting for help. The king’s daughter was being kidnapped by a few dacoits so that they can get huge ransom; they fought the dacoits fearlessly and saved the princes. As a result the king being very happy made them the royal guards of the princess and also the made them in charge to look after dacoits.
They promised the merchant that those thugs will be caught and brought to justice and that his belongings will be returned very soon.
The merchant returned home and narrated the whole set of events to his wife. She just hoped that they will get back the money so that they can live a few more weeks till they can find a new job.
The merchant went to sleep thinking how well these men’s lives have been transformed into because of his arrogance but yes he lost very honest men too. He thought that if only he had a chance to apologize to them and make things right.
The next day in the morning he was aroused from his sleep by the voice of his wife. He could see a few people in front of his house. When he went there he saw the palanquin bearers standing there with his belongings and the dacoits.
They arrested him and brought back his belongings. He thanked them profusely and also asked them to forgive him for his arrogant behavior in the past and the injustice he did to them.
They said that they are the persons who have to thank him because if it was not for him they wouldn’t have been in such a great position.
The merchant was very happy as he got his belongings back and with that money he can start his business afresh. He made preparations to leave in the morning the next day so that he might know which place is the best place to start working.
That night again he dreamt of the goddess. She came to him and said “I am happy that you have learnt your lesson. Hope now you understand that just as every finger is important for you to work, every person in your life is important.”
“Thank you very much goddess for making me realize the truth. From now on I promise that I will never ever ill treat any person and value each of them irrespective of their position in the society”
“I can give you back your fingers since you have learnt your lesson” said the goddess to which the merchant replied “No I am happy with my hand being like that because from now on whenever I see them I will be reminded of the things that happened and will not alter my course to the past.”
The goddess was pleased with the merchant’s reply and granted him that till his death he will prosper in life and will be revered as a great man wherever he goes.”
Moral: “What work you do is not important. Whether you are a professional, rich person or you are a very poor person sweeping the roads. Every person and every profession is equally important to sustain in life just like the five fingers on our hand. Each has its own significance yet you cannot do any work properly if any one finger is missing.”