He Who Made Good
There was once a wealthy merchant who had three sons. After they had finished their studies, he called them to him one after the other and asked- ed each one, “Son, what will you do for your living?”
“Father,” the eldest son replied, “I want to become a doctor. Give me enough money to study medicine, and I shall become a doctor, treat my patients and earn my livelihood.”
The father agreed and gave him the necessary funds.
“I want to become a trader like you, father,” the second son said. “If you can provide me with the necessary capital, I will earn profits and live upon them.”
The father agreed and provided his second son with the capital he needed.
Only the third son hesitated to answer his father’s question. The father insisted upon an answer, so the boy named Chandra-Kanth, at last, blurted out, “I want to become a thief, father.”
His father was shocked by these words. So were his elder brothers. Then they got angry.
“What do you mean by that?” his father demanded. “Why should you become a thief? Stop fooling and select a more honourable way of life.”
But Chandra-Kanth would not change his mind.
“In this world,” he said, “thieves have the utmost honour and wealth. I will become a thief and nothing else.” Neither his father nor his brothers could dissuade him from becoming a thief.
“Go and become a thief,” his father shouted at him. “Get out of my house. You shall not have a pie from me. And don’t expect any help from me orders or me when they catch you and hang you! I mean it!”
Before news of this quarrel spread, Chandra-Kanth went to his father’s cashier and said, “I want five thousand rupees at once.”
The cashier gave the sum without hesitation, and that very night, Chandra-Kanth departed with the money.
Some years went by. The merchant became old. His trade dwindled, and he had several rivals. Some of them joined together and ruined his business. They bribed the officials to delay his goods’ dispatch and arrival. He could not get credit. His debtors did not pay him. Slowly his condition became so miserable that he had to depend upon his sons for his existence.
But, as ill luck would have it, his sons fared no better. The eldest son studied medicine, became a doctor, and established practice in a particular town. The town doctors did not like this new person; they wanted to drive him away. They came to see him and said, “We shall look after you, don’t worry. Being a new doctor, you may get no patients for some time. But we will send you some of our rich patients. After a time, you will become famous and need no help from us.”
Then they sent their hopeless cases to him, and most died under his treatment. All diseases are not curable, and he got only fatal patients.
After a time, the local doctors again paid a visit to the merchant’s son and said, “Unfortunately, the persons who died while in your charge were important. We have reliable news that the Chief Minister is thinking of trying you for neglect of patients and even murder. We advise you to be on your guard!”
The merchant’s eldest son was frightened. He got disgusted with his profession. Without telling anyone, he left the town with his wife and children and went to his father’s place.
A similar misfortune befell the second son too. As a result of his father’s reverses, he got no credit. Soon he had to wind up his trade and take to shop-keeping. Having failed in this, too, he went to his father.
There was no news of Chandra-Kanth at all. The father and the elder brothers thought he must have been jailed or hanged long ago. But in this, they were quite mistaken.
After taking five thousand rupees from his father’s cashier, Chandra-Kanth journeyed for several days and arrived in a petty kingdom.
Chandra-Kanth paid a visit to the King and gave him a gift of the five thousand rupees he had with him.
The King was pleased with the gift and the young man who made it. “Who are you?” the King asked Chandra-Kanth. “What do you want from me in return?”
“Your Highness,” Chandra-Kanth replied, “I have not come to you seeking property or fortune. Admit me to your court and grant me a private audience for a few minutes daily; I shall give you five thousand rupees each time.”
The King was both surprised and pleased. He had several courtiers who constantly demanded gifts, but none made them. So the King looked upon this young man with great favour and agreed to his request.
The next day, Chandra-Kanth attended court. He had already obtained information regarding the worth of each one of the courtiers. While talking to the King confidentially, he kept looking at one of the wealthy courtiers.
Later, the wealthy courtier approached Chandra-Kanth and said, “Sir, the King was telling you, in confidence, something about me. It made me anxious. Will you kindly let me know what he spoke? I shall suitably show you my gratitude.”
“I do not know why,” Chandra-Kanth replied, “but the King seems very angry with you.”
“Kind sir,” the courtier said anxiously, “pacify the King, and I will give you whatever you want.”
“Well,” Chandra-Kanth said, “there is nothing impossible with money. Give me ten thousand rupees, and I shall try to alleviate the King.” He got ten thousand rupees, giving the King five thousand.
In the entire court, not a single person did not suffer from a guilty conscience. So, each day, Chandra-Kanth looked at one of the courtiers while he and the King whispered together, and the victim approached Chandra-Kanth and paid him money. Chandra-Kanth, in his turn, paid the King. Even the ministers were not spared. Chandra-Kanth robbed all, produced the King, got more and more into the King’s favour and prospered very well.
Soon he was the wealthiest person in the land, and his influence was enormous.
While Chandra-Kanth prospered, his father and brothers reached utter destitution. At times they went without food. Even their wives and children were starving.
Then, one day, a large caravan arrived at their door. Some soldiers entered the house and asked for the old merchant. Then they showed him heaps of fine clothes and costly ornaments and said, “Sir, your youngest son sends you all these gifts. We are ready to take you to him as soon as you are ready to start.”
The merchant and his two elder sons were pleased. They were amazed that the one who wanted to become a robber should make good. They wore the new clothes, put on the ornaments, got into the palanquins sent for them, and started to join Chandra-Kanth, who had prospered.