The Burning Cat

The Burning Cat

“Can the results justify the means? Fair ends through foul means can never be right.” Bhagwan Baba).

An old man died leaving behind four sons. They divided all his property and valuables equally. After everything was accounted for, a pet cat that the old man loved dearly was left. The question before them was how to divide the cat. Eventually it was decided that all four of them would look after it. Each of its legs was allocated to one of the sons. Each of them was to take up the responsibility of feeding the cat once, at four different times of the day.

The cat became a VIP and was absolutely pampered. One day the cat hurt one of its legs. So one of the brothers who was the designated owner of that leg, took the cat to a vet and got a bandage done. The next day all the four brothers were away to work and the cat was limping around the house. Its foot happened to brush across a burning oil lamp. Its bandage being oily caught fire. The frightened cat ran helter-shelter with its burning leg, all over the house. It ran up the sofas, across the curtains, into the kitchen and the bed rooms crying desperately for help. But there was no one around to help the miserable creature.

With its burning limb, the cat managed to spread the fire to many pieces of furniture and finally the whole house caught fire. The cat just managed to run out of the door in agony.

When the brothers returned home they were devastated to see the cat crying piteously and the whole house up in flames!

The brother, who owned the injured leg, nursed the cat while he wept over the loss of the house. The other three brothers blamed the fourth one saying that it was because the bandaged leg had caught fire that this misfortune had befallen them. So the owner of the bandaged leg should pay up and compensate for the loss of the other three.

The brothers got into a bitter quarrel and no solution seemed to be forthcoming. So they took the matter to the king. The king heard them out and realized that it was really not any body’s fault. But whatever had happened; had happened! The other three brothers were being quite unreasonable in putting all the blame on the fourth brother who was the owner of the injured leg. The king said, “It seems that the injured leg caught fire and the cat ran from pillar to post looking for help. But it could not have run around on its injured leg because it would have been very painful being hurt as well as burning. The other three healthy legs ‘ran’ from here to there, thereby causing the fire to spread. So the cause of the inferno is the three healthy legs and not the injured leg. You three brothers should pay compensation to the fourth one!”

All things cannot always be divided amongst children. Parents always remain equally inclined towards all their off springs and it is futile to try and divide their love.