The Good and Bad Neighbors

In a village lived two neghbors with very different characters. One was rich, but was greedy and mean. The other was poor, but was honest and kind-hearted, and helped anyone in trouble.

One day, a couple sparrows built a nest in the window of the poor man’s house and laid eggs there. After a few days, the eggs hatched and the parent sparrows went in search of food for the younglings. One morning a little bird fell out of the nest and broke its leg. The poor man rescued the little bird, splinted its leg and carefully put it back in the nest. When it recovered and grew up, it returned one day with a few grains of rice in its beak to show its grateful thanks. The sparrow told the man to plant the grains in his yard and wait for it to bloom. The sparrow was actually a good spirit and only had the appearance of a sparrow.

A several weeks later, precious jewels appeared in the stalks instead of rice in his yard. He became rich by selling off the jewels. His neighbor was very jealous and curious on how that had actually happened. So he invited the honest man to his house for dinner and asked him. The honest simpleton told him everything.

The neighbor, being greedy, decided that he too should profit from such puny tasks. He had a nest as well in his house. He climbed up to it and picked up a little bird and threw it to the ground and broke its leg. Then he ran downwards and picked up the fledgling, strapped up its leg and put it back in the nest in hopes of being rewarded as his neighbor had been.

He did receive a few grains from the bird after a few weeks, and proceeded to plant them. But when the time came to yield the crop, a frightening demon with a few scrolls appeared. The demon demanded that the man pay his debts from all his previous lives or be killed. The greedy man lost all his properties and money and became poor.

These events installed more hatred in the greedy man towards the honest man. One day, the honest man asked his neighbor to look after a bag of coins while he went away on a trip. The greedy man replaces the bag of coins with sand, and when his neighbor returned told him that the coins had mysteriously turned to sand. The honest man went home without complaining.

Some time passed and the neighbors were on good terms with each others. One day the greedy man had to go to another village for a few days. He decided to leave his son with the good neighbor. Actually the good man wanted to teach him a lesson. He taught a small monkey to say, "Father, father, I'm your son."

When the greedy man returned, he asked where his son was. The honest man told him that his son had changed mysteriously into a money while he was gone. Not believing that, he went inside to see and found the small monkey saying, "Father, father, I'm your son."

The mean man realized his own cheating and how much it had been a bad thing. He promised to return the bag of coins back to the good man and swore that he would never cheat in the future.

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