|12-The Evil and the Good|
12-The Evil and the Good
A woman used to cook food for her family. She had a habit to cook an extra Chapaatee (flat bread cooked with unleaven flour dough in normal Indian houses) for a hungry passerby. She kept the extra Chapaatee on the window sill, for whosoever would take it away.
Everyday, a hunchback came there and took away that Chapaatee. Instead of expressing any gratitude, he muttered the following words as he went his way: "The evil you do remains with you: the good you do, comes back to you."
This went on, day after day. Everyday the woman kept Chapaatee on the window sill and everyday the hunch-back picked up that Chapaatee and uttered the words: "The evil you do, remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you." and went away.
The woman felt irritated. "Not a single word of gratitude," she said to herself... "Everyday this hunchback utters this jingle. What does he mean by it?" So one day, exasperated, she decided to do away with him. "I shall get rid of this hunchback," she said. And what did she do? She added some poison to the Chapaatee she prepared for him. As she was about to keep it on the window sill, her hands trembled. "What is this I am doing to him?" she said. She felt bad and immediately she threw the Chapaatee into the fire, prepared another good one and kept it on the window sill. As usual, the hunchback came, picked up the Chapaatee and muttered his usual words: "The evil you do, remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you." The hunchback proceeded on his way blissfully, unaware of the war raging in the mind of the woman.
Everyday, as the woman placed the Chapaatee on the window sill, she offered a prayer for her son who had gone to a distant place to seek his fortune. For many months, she had no news of him.. She prayed for his safe return.
That evening, the day she was about to keep the poisoned Chapaatee on the window sill, there was a knock on the door. As she opened it, she was surprised to find her son standing in the doorway. He had grown thin and lean. His garments were tattered and torn. He was hungry, starved and weak. As he saw his mother, he said weeping bitterly, "Mom, it's a miracle that I'm here. While I was but a mile away from here, I was so famished that I collapsed. I would have died, but just then an old hunchback passed by. I begged of him for a morsel of food, and he was kind enough to give me a whole Chapaatee. As he gave it to me, he said, "This is what I eat everyday: today, I shall give it to you, for your need is greater than mine."
As the mother heard those words, her face turned pale. She leaned against the door for support. She remembered the poisoned Chapaatee that she had made that morning for that hunchback. Had she not burnt it in the fire, it would have been eaten by her own son, and he would have lost his life. It was then that she realized the significance of the words:
Created by Sushma Gupta on May 27, 2001
Modified on 10/01/13