Story: Greedy wife of a Fisherman

Story: Greedy wife of a Fisherman

Trying to gain more than one needs or deserves, will only lead to destruction. Jaggu, a fisherman, was sitting all day in his boat waiting for a catch, but there was none. 

Just as he was about to wind up and go back home, a huge golden fish got stuck in his net!

Jaggu was delighted. But as he pulled up his net, the fish spoke, “My dear man, I am a divine being, living in the form of a fish due to an evil curse. It is almost time for me to go back to deva-loka. So, please do not harm me. Be kind enough to let me go.”

The fisherman was stunned to hear a fish talk, and instantly threw it back into the river. When he went back home empty-handed, his incensed wife shouted at him for being useless. The fisherman replied how he caught a beautiful golden fish, but upon its request for release, he had let it go. The wife was furious. She raged, “Oh! You are mad! You should either have brought it back alive, or asked for some boon in exchange for its release!”

She did not let him sleep a wink that night, pestering him to go back to the fish and ask for a comfortable house to live in. She was tired of living in a dingy hut, she said.

Next day, the fisherman went back to the spot where he caught the fish, and reluctantly said, “Oh divine being, Can you please give her a comfortable house to live in?”

The fish, which was grateful to Jaggu, granted his boon, and said, “When you go back, you will find your wife in a comfortable house in the place of your hut!”

Jaggu was happy to see this development, and thought that was the end of the story.

However, that was not to be. His wife lamented that she had asked for too less – after all, a divine being's life was worth much more. So, she drove her husband back to the fish, to ask for a palace with all comforts. The divine fish granted that too. That was not the end. Now, the wife wanted her husband to become a king. He refused, saying that he had no desire for wealth or power. “Then, I shall rule,” she said, and sent him back to the fish. The fish granted this boon too, seeing Jaggu's dilemma. When Jaggu went back home, his wife was the queen of a small kingdom, shooting out orders to all those around her. But the greedy woman was not satisfied with being a queen, she now wanted to be the empress!

When Jaggu refused to go back to the fish with more requests, she said that she was ordering him as the queen of the region, and threatened him with punishment if the order was disobeyed.

Not knowing what to do, Jaggu went back to the fish, hoping this would be the last boon the greedy woman would ask for. The fish too reluctantly granted it. When Jaggu came back home, he found his wife in a big fort, as the empress of all surrounding kingdoms.

However, her desires knew no bounds. She now wanted to be in control of the Sun and the Moon! When a hassled Jaggu came and asked the fish for this, the divine being replied,

“Dear man, go back home, and you will find your wife in the same dingy hut you were once living in!” And so, it was that the woman's unbound greed brought her back to square one. Here is an easy sloka to remind us of the fate of greedy people… Greed leads to sin, causes calamity, gives rise to enmity, and ultimately destroys a person

Janani G. Vikram 

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