Gold’s Gloom

In the southern country is a city called Mahilaropya, and in its neighborhood, there is a Shiva shrine. In a cell nearby lived a hermit named Tamrachud. Every day he would travel into the city to collect alms, and come back to cook his meal with the food he had collected. After his meal, he would hide the leftovers in the alms-bowl and leave them hanging on a peg, keeping it for the servants’ breakfast.

In the same house lived a mouse named Hiranyaka, he was the leader of all the mice. One day, all the mice went to him and complained, “O Lord, the hermit is storing the food in his bowl and hanging it high on a peg. We are not able to nibble at it. You alone can reach any place. Please help us.”

Accompanied by his subjects, he went to the hermit’s place and springing at the bowl brought the stored food down. All of them had a good meal and repeated this act every night and the hermit was disgusted. He moved it from place to place, always hanging it higher but they would get to it easily enough and devour it with my subjects. hermit brought a bamboo and began striking the food bowl with it. That noise used to frighten us and we would have to wait for him to fall asleep before getting close to the food bowl.

Now one day a guest arrived, a holy man named Brihat. Tamrachud received him with great respect and did whatever he could to make the honored guest happy. At night they lay on the couch and started to relate holy tales. But Tamrachud’s thoughts were so preoccupied with mice that he kept striking the alms bowl with the bamboo and returned an absentminded answer to Brihat as he asked him a question.

Angered with Tamrachud’s indifference, Brihat told him, “O Tamrachud! You aren’t a great friend of mine anymore. You are not paying attention to our talk. So, night though it is, I shall leave your place and go elsewhere.”

“Status and ownership of this cell has gone to your head. You do not care for my friendship anymore. You seem to dwell here, but in reality, you have earned a place in hell. You have become vain and proud.”

On hearing this, Tamrachud pleaded with him, “Holy sir, please do not speak like this. There is no other friend apart from you. Here is the reason for my inattention. There is a mouse that jumps and climbs to my alms-bowl, however high I hang it, and he eats my leavings. As a result, I am not able to feed the servants and they refuse to tidy up. So to frighten the mouse, I strike the alms-bowl repeatedly with my bamboo. This is the whole story. But I should add that the villain has such cleverness in jumping as to put cats, monkeys, and other creatures to shame.”

Then Brihat said, “Do you know where the mouse-hole is?”

“Holy sir,” said Tamrachud, “I have no idea.”

Brihat said, “Surely, this mouse must have stored a lot of food under his hole. Beyond doubt, it’s the fragrance from his plentiful hoard that gives him the energy to jump so high and eat all your food. When a man earns a lot of wealth, that pile of money increases his strength and confidence.

Brihat continued, “There is an explanation for everything in this world. There is a reason for Shandili trying to exchange husked sesame seeds in return for degraded sesame seeds.” and told the story of Shandili and Sesame Seeds.

After completing the story, Brihat asked Tamrachud, “Do you know his manner of attack?”

“Yes, holy sir, he comes with a school of mice,” answered Tamrachud.

“Well now,” said Brihat, “is there any digging tool around here?”

“Indeed there is,” said Tamrachud. “Here is an iron bar.”

“In that case, let’s wake up early and follow their tracks together, while their footprints are still fresh on the floor,” said Brihat.

The mouse was nearby and heard all of their plans and thought that his end had come. Just as he had marked my food store, he will surely discover my fort too. So terrified, he deserted the regular route to his fortress, and with his followers started on another track. Just then a fat cat sighted us and pounced on the group and killed a number of his retinue.

And the mice who survived the slaughter scolded the mouse for picking a bad trail, and took shelter in the old fortress, leaving a trail of blood on the floor. Then he departed, alone. The others plunged into the old fortress.

Brihat and Tamrachud saw the trail of blood and following it reached his fort. They started digging and discovered mouse’s hoard, the smell of which used to guide him back to the fortress. Then Brihat was filled with glee and told Tamrachud, “Here is the secret of the mouse’s energy. Now, you can sleep in peace.” So they took the hoard and turned to their cell.

When the mouse returned to the spot, he could not bear to look at the sad, disturbing sight. he did not know where to go and what to do to get back peace of mind. Somehow, he spent the day in sorrow and when it was night went to Tamrachud’s cell followed by his companions, though he was disturbed & short of energy. And when Tamrachud heard the patter of the pack, Tamrachud again began striking the bowl with the bamboo.

Seeing this, Brihat laughed and said, “Have no fear, my friend. His jumping energy is gone with his property.” This angered mouse so much that he made a desperate jump for the alms-bowl, but missed and fell to the floor. And his enemy saw this and said to Tamrachud: “Look, my friend! It is quite wonderful. Having lost his wealthy store, this is now just a regular mouse and nothing more. It is rightly said that like a fang-less snake, a cash-less man is just a name and nothing more.”

When mouse heard this, he thought, “This person may be my enemy but he is speaking the truth. With my wealth gone, I am unable to jump a mere finger’s breadth. Losing money is surely a curse upon any being. A person is nothing without his cash. In fact, people who are born in scarcity suffer less than those who move from plenty to poverty.”

With this grief, he saw my own hoard of wealth converted into a pillow for my enemy, and crept into the deserted fortress. His sadness increased when he heard his attendants telling each other that he was no more capable of providing food for them and they should immediately give up serving him.

He began to ponder deeply, “Struck by fate, when a man is crushed under poverty, he loses the best of his friends. Life of poverty is indeed a curse. Out of wisdom, speech, passions, character & cash, the loss of cash ends up changing him the most. Ah! The curse of poverty is dreadful as death.”

After all this mouse decided that the only recourse left for him is to recover the very treasure that Brihat has stolen from his fortress. he must regain his property.

Having decided, he went there at night and gnawed a hole in the bag after the two friends had gone to sleep. Unfortunately, Brihat woke up and banged the mouse on the head with the bamboo. But the mouse somehow managed to escape death.

and then the mouse realized that prosperity comes from contentment and not vice versa. Any amount of riches are too less for a greedy person. A person’s greed can make him lie, steal, and do other tasks that bring dishonor.”

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