Goddess Of Misery

In a village, a peasant always worshipped the Goddess of Wealth. So Wealth always favoured him.

One day the Goddess of Wealth came towards the village of the peasant accompanied by her elder sister, the Goddess of Misery. On the way, the younger one showed the elder a paddy field and said, “See, sister, how nicely the crop is coming up. This field belongs to a peasant. He is so lucky that if he touches brick, it turns to gold.”

Misery surveyed the field with narrowed eyes. “Just within a week,” she said ominously, “there will be such heavy rain that this field will yield-nothing.”

That evening Wealth went to the peasant’s house and said, “My man, sell all your crop in advance tomorrow. Otherwise, you will be a ruined man.”

The peasant went to a merchant, sold his crop and took half the money as an advance. A few days later, there was a continuous downpour of rain. Of the fields in the locality, the peasant’s was the worst hit.

The sisters went there to survey the ruin, “Didn’t I tell you so?” said Misery. “Tell me what the peasant will get out of this field.”

“I think he has already got it,” replied Wealth. “He sold the crop in advance to a merchant.”

“Is that so?” said Misery with compunction. “The poor merchant will be ruined, won’t he? I must make the field yield a better crop than usual.”

Wealth went to the peasant again and advised him to repurchase the crop from the merchant. The peasant went to the merchant and said, “Sir, you sustained a terrible loss. I shall take back the crop. You need not pay me the rest of the money.”

The merchant gladly accepted the offer and gave the peasant in writing his word, in which he surrendered all claims on the crop to the peasant.

The uprooted crop stood up again as if by magic, and at the end of the season, there was a bumper yield for the peasant.

Misery showed her younger sister the standing crop in the peasant’s field and said, “You can see that I have managed to give the merchant full value for his money.”

But Wealth said, “No, sister. The peasant repurchased the crop from the merchant, and the profit is all his.”

Misery ground her teeth in rage. “The wretch!” she hissed. “He keeps undoing whatever I want to do. I will see that he gets not more than two measures of grain per stack.”

Wealth again went to the peasant and advised him thus, “After cutting the crop, put it up in as many stacks as you can. Otherwise, you will be ruined.”

The peasant did likewise; he had so much grain that his barn could not hold more than a third of it. To store the rest, he got two more barns built.

A few days passed by. Misery was shocked when she saw the newly built barns. “What is the meaning of all this?” she asked.

“It’s all your own doing,” Wealth replied. “You wanted him to get two measures of grain per stack, and he put up the sheaves into thousands of stacks. He had so much grain that he had to build new barns.”

At long last, Misery could guess that her sister was helping the man she had intended to ruin.

“All right!” Misery said threateningly, “See what I am going to do to him next!”

“What is your plan?” Wealth asked her.

“Oh, no!” said Misery, “I’m going to tell you nothing. You’ve been helping him.”

But Wealth was not to be stumped. She went to the peasant and told him what to do. The following day, when the sisters went to the peasant’s house, the whole place was noisy and astir with music and bustle.

The sisters took on the shapes of poor women and went into the house. Wealth asked the peasant, “What is all this bustle about, my man?”

“Well, auntie,” the peasant replied. “I am going to worship the Goddess of Misery. Thanks to her, I made a lot of profit this year.”

When they came out, Wealth said, “Why, sister? He has known that you had been helping him all along, though you blamed me for going to his help.’

“Yes, my dear.” said the stupid Misery. “He seems to be a nice fellow. I am sure he deserves all that I did for him.”

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