Shiva was a wealthy merchant. He had three sons. One day, he fell severely ill. Believing that he was on the verge of death, he divided all of his wealth and property among his three sons.
Fate had other ideas for Shiva as he went on to live for a few more years. However, those years were far from happy for him, and were filled with abuse and torture. His sons did not treat him well and gave him very little food. And, to make matters worse, he was forced to live in the storage room. Far from respecting their father, they treated him worse than a beast.
Shiva cursed his fate for leaving him alive to experience such days. The very sons who would go to any extent to please their father, had suddenly stopped caring for him. They had, after all, got the wealth and property that they were after. Fed up with their selfish behavior and inhumane treatment, Shiva paid a visit to his childhood friend for advice. Feeling sorry for Shiva, his friend gave him an idea.
“Your sons will know that you visited me and will inquire about it. You must tell them that you had dropped by to collect an outstanding debt. Then tell them that you are now many times richer than you were before. Here, take this bag along and never let them discover what’s inside until you have left this world.”
Saying so, his friend wished him luck. Shiva did as he was told. As his friend had rightfully predicted, his greedy sons treated him the way they had never done before. He was given the best room in the house and was served to the best of his satisfaction every day. Thanks to his friend’s advice, Shiva lived lavishly for the remainder of his life.
His death brought more joy than grief to his sons. After all, now they could stake their claim to their father’s newly-acquired wealth. But little did they know what awaited them. After performing their father’s last rites, they rushed back home and began looking for the bag that supposedly contained gold. When they finally got their hands on the coveted bag, they were stupefied to discover that the bag was filled with gravel and stones, not gold.
…now that you’re here
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Ananya both loves to read and reinterpret folk tales from different parts of the country. Feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more about her.
Folk tale adopted and paraphrased from the works of Professor D.L. Ashliman.