THE GREEDY NEIGHBOUR
A poor family had gone without food for several days. They were starving, but their devotion to God was unsurpassed. They prayed to God, to show mercy. It so happened that an Angel passed by just then and heard their prayer. He appeared before them and gave them a box. The angel said, “This magic box has only two Laddoos(round shaped sweetmeat, yellow in colour) in it. You must take out only one and close the lid. After you eat it and open the lid again, there will be two in it as before. You can do this any number of times; but if you take out both the together, the box shall lose its magic.” So saying, the angel disappeared. As directed, the man took out one Laddoo, closed the box and fed his son. He opened it again to find two ! Similarly he fed his daughter, then his wife and last of all himself. The family feasted on several times in the day. Soon they became healthy and strong.
Their neighbour saw their rosy cheeks and robust bodies and felt jealous. She asked the lady of the house, how they had suddenly become so healthy and prosperous. The lady confided to her neighbour about the magic box.
A few days later, the magic box vanished from their house. Some body obviously stole it. Not surprisingly, the neighbour’s family became fat and chubby. The first family prayed to God again. As luck would have it, the same angel was passing by that way and heard their prayer. The angel got very angry, thinking that these people were very greedy. The angel came and gave them another magical box. He said, “Make sure you open this box only when your doors are locked. Let no one see you or hear you, when you open it.” As soon as the angel left, the man gathered his family into the inner room and bolted the door. Carefully he opened the box. Out of it flew invisible slaps, punches, pushes and blows…. All four of them got a terrible beating by some invisible hands. With difficulty they were able to close the box. Their faces were red and swollen after the sound beating they had just got.
Meanwhile, the neighbour decided to try just once, what would happen if they had both the Laddoos together. After that, the magic box failed to produce any more Ladoos. The neighbour was very upset and dejected indeed. That evening the neighbour noticed her friend, with a swollen red face. She asked her, “How come your face is so red? Do you have another magic box?” By now the lady was sure that the earlier box had been stolen by the neighbour, so she answered contemptuously, “Yes, and it’s even better than the first one.”
Sure enough, the very next day the second box went missing. As soon as the neighbour’s family opened the box, they were showered with blows, punches, slaps etc. They rushed out of the house, screaming in agony.
The angel meanwhile decided to come and check out the plight of the family. He was surprised to hear the screams coming from the neighbour’s house! The angel entered there and saw both the magic boxes lying there. He understood what had happened. He restored the magic to the first magic box and restored it to the first family.
As far as the second family was concerned, they had had enough of magic boxes. They never wanted to go near a magic box again.