A barber was passing under a haunted tree when he heard a voice say, “Would you like to have the seven jars of gold?” He looked around and saw no one. But his greed was aroused, so he shouted eagerly, “Yes, I certainly would.” “Then go home at once.” said the voice. “You will find them there.”

The barber ran all the way home. Sure enough, there were the seven jars—ail full of gold, except for one that was only half-full. Now the barber could not bear the thought of having a half-filled jar. He felt a violent urge to fill it or he simply would not be happy.

So he had all the jewellery of his family melted into coins and thrown info the half­filled jar. But the jar remained as half-filled as before. This was exasperating! He saved and skimped and starved himself and his family. To no avail. No matter how much gold he put into the jar it always stayed half-filled.

One day he got the King to double his salary. So the fight to fill the jar was on again. He even took to begging. The jar devoured each piece of gold that was flung into it, but stubbornly refused to fill.

The King now noticed how starved the barber looked. “What’s wrong with you?” he asked. “You used to be so happy when your salary was smaller. Now it has been doubled and you are worn out and dejected. Can it be that you have been given the seven jars of gold?”

The barber was astonished. “Who told you this, Your Majesty?” he asked.

The King laughed. “But these are obviously the symptoms of the person to whom the ghost has given the seven jars. He once offered them to me. When I asked if the money could be spent or was merely to be hoarded he vanished without a word. That money can’t be spent. It only brings with it the compulsion to hoard. Go return it to the ghost this minute and you will be a happy man again.”

Beware of greed. When it strikes you, you may not even realise. And when if catches hold of you, you will not be satisfied by how much ever you hoard! Let go, and you will be free. 

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Divya Pai

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