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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

When Gods walked the earth

Apparently we British owe £230 billion to credit card companies and banks for loans other than mortgages. Greed on the part of the lenders and the stupidity of punters have created this mess, with the average debt being £5000 per adult.

Now the Government plans to prevent credit card companies from issuing cheques as incentives to open an account and increasing credit limits that have not been asked for.

A rare act of intelligence, which prompted my friend Daz Valladares the media buying magician to send this story by Rudyard Kipling.

In the days when Gods walked the earth, Lord Shiva was strolling along accompanied by his wife Parvati. She spotted a naked beggar, a long time devotee of Lord Shiva.

She was moved by his plight and asked her husband to do something about it. They were near the temple of Ganesh, the elephant headed son of Shiva. He was asked to help the beggar and promised that in three days this poor man would be given 100,000 rupees.

The conversation was overheard by a greedy moneylender who went to the beggar and offered him five rupees for all he could collect in the next three days. The beggar who was lucky to get rice and vegetables to eat thought the offer was excessive. His wife was shrewd and knowing the moneylender would never make a deal that lost him money advised the beggar to reject the offer.

The moneylender, increasingly desperate, upped the offer to 50,000 rupees, which the beggar and his wife accepted.

On the third day, this greedy man went to the temple to spy on the conversations of the Gods. He was intrigued by the nature of the gift to come. Suddenly a crack appeared in the temple floor, trapping the moneylender by the heel.

Lord Shiva asked his son about the proposed gift. Ganesh answered his father:

“Father, one-half of the money has been paid and the debtor for the other half I hold fast by the heel. Surely he whom the Gods hold by the heel must pay to the uttermost.”.

The money was paid at evening, all silver, in great carts and thus Ganesh did his work.

The moral: Never seek to cheat and if an offer seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

Nearly twenty years ago another good Indian friend, Sridhar, gave me a beautiful statue of Ganesh, which I fear may have been lost in the wreckage of my last marriage. Ah well.

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