The Miserly Millionaire

This story is about a millionaire who lives in a village. He was well known for his miserliness. When any of the villagers approached him for a loan or asked for charity; the millionaire would question them in surprise, saying,

“Where do you come from, good man?”

“I live in this village,” the man would reply.

“Impossible!” the millionaire would exclaim, “there is not a living soul in this village who does not know that I am the greatest miser living on this earth! How is it that you do not know what is common knowledge?”

A shoemaker also lived in the same village and was known for his generosity and willingness to help a person in genuine need of money.

One day the millionaire be- came seriously ill and died a few days later. He was buried without ceremony in a shallow grave, which was dug beside the road. And because the tomb was so shallow, the jackals soon found his body and dug it up.

As usual, the needy people of the village continued to go to the shoemaker for alms. But the shoemaker no longer gave them any assistance. Instead, he would send them away, saying, “What has a poor man like me got to provide to you? Go away, good people and never come to me for anything anymore.

On hearing this, the head of the village sent for the shoemaker and asked, “Good man, you have earned the reputation of being a great giver of alms. Now how have you suddenly stopped helping people in need?”

“Sir,” replied the shoemaker, “the millionaire, who has just died, used to give me the funds, to distribute to all the poor and needy people of our village. He made me promise never to tell anyone of this deed of his. And now that he is dead, a charity in this village has become like a well that has suddenly gone dry.”

When the villagers found out that the millionaire had been their benefactor for so many years, they felt very ashamed of the mean and disrespectful way in which they had treated him when he died.

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