“I Am Not Like Others”
Once upon a time there lived a vegetable seller who was so blameless that people called him the holy man. He often thought about how blameless, good and righteous he was. But because of his militant sense of justice, he never extended help to other people.
He spoke unkindly about those around him because of his lack of mercy. He was always saying things like, “I am not like others”, and “you should learn from me”.
The holy man’s wife was a short woman who wore simple, unflattering clothes. She would get up early in the morning to make breakfast and pack her husband’s lunch. The rest of her day was spent taking care of the children and the house. Her husband wouldn’t come home until late at night.
In the 17 years of their marriage, the holy man had never spoken a word of thanks or love to his wife. Her life was full of loneliness and tears.
Her only comfort was talking to the man who lived next door. They became good friends.
One day, the holy man unexpectedly came home at noontime. What he saw—an illegitimate relationship between his neighbor and his wife—made him furious. The news spread quickly through the village. Everyone thought the holy man would beat his wife and leave her. What else would such a blameless and righteous person do? But he told everyone that he forgave his wife. I am not like others, he thought to himself. I am not cruel.
But from that time onward, the holy man started sleeping in another room. He refused to even look at his wife. Vengeance and spite festered in him. He started hating this weak woman who had defamed him.
Because he feared losing his reputation in the village, he would not leave her. But in his mind they were already divorced. Day by day, his hatred grew as poisonous as a cobra’s venom.
None of the villagers knew what he was feeling. But the holy man’s guardian angel reported the whole story in heaven. The angel received orders to punish him for his bitterness.
From then on, whenever the holy man treated his wife with hatred, a link was added to a chain around his neck. The chain increased and his shoulders became heavy with the burden. This only increased the hatred and bitterness inside him.
Like a creeper climbing a tree, chains eventually covered his entire body. He became hunched over and could only walk with the help of a walking stick. He started thinking about death.
With time, his face darkened and he looked older than his age. Bitterness and vengeance had turned him into a cruel man.
He started physically assaulting his wife, cursing her with cruel words: “I am only like this because of your wickedness. Because of you, God’s punishment fell on me!”
His wife could do nothing but cry.
To see what happens next, read part two.