Folktales With Morals - The Goddess And The Ghost

 The Goddess And The Ghost

The temple of the goddess of wealth was outside the village. It was the richest one amongst the temples of the area. The deity was decorated in gold and jewels and she looked beautiful and compassionate. A little away from the compound of the temple, there was a big banyan tree which gave shelter not only to hundreds of birds but also to a friendly spirit. Often, the goddess used to come to the ghoul and spend some time discussing on various human problems. One day, the goddess said, with a sense of satisfaction, "The villagers here are really devoted and very sincere. They come to me with so many gifts and such devotion that..." "It is all only a show, believe me, O Goddess. These human beings are merely selfish creatures. Their devotion and love can be purchased with the lure of money," interrupted the spirit. The goddess refused to believe the spirit. "I shall prove to you one day that man is a noble and devoted creature," the Goddess challenged. And the spirit accepted the challenge, saying, "I too shall try to disprove you!" After a couple of days, the Goddess selected one of her ardent devotees and appeared in his dream one night. "Satya, I'm Goddess of wealth. I've come to grant your prayer for a good job, as I'm pleased by your devotion to me. Go to the temple treasurer in the morning and ask him for a job. He shall honor my word," said the Goddess. Satya woke up early the next morning with great joy. 

He approached the treasurer and told him about the deity's command. The treasurer, Ketan, was shocked to hear Satya. That night he too had dreamt about the Goddess who had asked him to give a job to Satya. But, unwilling to share his loot of the temple offerings with anyone, he had conveniently brushed aside the dream, justifying to himself, "It is all my imagination. How can the goddess come to me and say such things?" But now the truth of his dream was confirmed by what Satya said. The treasurer feigned innocence and said, "I would have given you the job had you come a day earlier. Just last night I promised to give it to a poor guy. I'm sorry." So saying, he left Satya to his disappointment and went straight to the temple and prayed for her forgiveness. That very night, the spirit approached Satya and told him, "Satya, I feel very sorry for you. The Goddess could not help you, but, I shall see that you become rich in no time. Tomorrow I'll possess the daughter of the village chieftain and I'll not leave her until you come and offer to treat her. People will think that you are a great exorcist and you'll become famous overnight." The next day, everyone in the village came to know that the village chieftain's daughter was violently possessed by a spirit and many an exorcist was being called for the treatment. Satya decided to wait for two days before offering his services, because, he wanted to be sure if what the spirit had said was true. Goddess came to know that Satya had accepted the help of the spirit. 

She went to him the next night and said, "Satya, do not come under the evil influence of the spirit. I've arranged for your job with the village merchant. He is my good devotee. He'll not fail me, I assure you." Then, she went to the merchant and commanded him to employ Satya for which he would be amply rewarded. Satya, once again hopeful, approached the merchant with the request for a job and then told him about his dream. "A dream is only a dream. So why should I oblige this chap with a job even if the Goddess, presuming that it was truly the Goddess of wealth who had come in my dream last night, has told me to do so?" thought the merchant. "I've no job for you. You may look for it elsewhere." The humiliation was unbearable and Satya lost all his faith in the Goddess. He returned home resolving that never again will he go to the deity who seemed to be playing with his emotions. That evening, the merchant went to the temple with big garlands and lots of fruits and told the deity, "O Goddess mine, I feel extremely guilty for not having obeyed you. But how could I help it? Just two days before I transferred all my property to my wife's name and I have nothing left for myself. When I told her about your command, she said that I was putting forth false excuses in order to get back the property. So, pardon me, Goddess of wealth!"

The Goddess knew that the merchant was lying and yet out of her immense compassion she pardoned him. Meanwhile, Satya went to the village chieftain's house and with the cooperation of the spirit relieved the possessed daughter. He felt happy at his success and was grateful to the spirit for his unfailing help. Satya came to be known as a great exorcist and the fame soon spread to the neighboring villages too. It so happened that after some days the daughter of a rich landlord of a neighboring village got possessed by a spirit. Satya was expecting such a thing because the spirit had already informed him about his move of his. The landlord sent word for Satya to come. Satya went to the landlord's house and he was given a warm welcome. When he entered the room of the landlord's daughter and began acting like an exorcist by chanting some incantations, the spirit revolted and suddenly started shouting at him as never before. "I am enjoying my stay here, you fool! I love good food and luxury around. I've decided to possess this lady for good. Abandon all your tomfoolery and quit this place. I'm not going to cooperate with you anymore!" Satya was struck dumb. He could never imagine that the spirit would be so rude to him and leave him in the lurch. Disappointed, he returned home. He could not hear the villagers scoffing at him. 

The patient Goddess again appeared in Satya's dream at night and said, "Did I not warn you not to get tempted by the evil spirit? He won you over by brief success and now he has thrown you out! That is how evil spirits work. Well, I can still help you out of the situation if you are ready to do what I say." She then told him in detail what to do and then disappeared. The next morning, Satyam took the big glass bottle given to him by the Goddess and went to the landlord's house. The spirit, as soon as he saw the bottle, got tempted and exclaimed, "What a beautiful bottle! And how very wonderful is the silken swing inside the bottle! I wish I could...." As the bottle was a magic one, the spirit could see in it an illusion of a silken swing! "I have come to present this to the landlord for his kind hospitality," said Satya. "What use is it for me or for any other human being? We do not know how to get inside the bottle and enjoy the swing! It is said that whoever will swing inside will be able to take any form he or she desires." "I want to become a beautiful lady for the rest of my life, so I'll..." saying so, the spirit immediately entered the bottle in the form of smoke. Instantly, Satya sealed the bottle, and the spirit got entrapped for good. Satya left this dangerous game of acting as an exorcist after this and decided to devote himself to an honest living with the blessings of the Goddess. The Goddess had also come to understand that man is basically good but he is very weak and is easily enslaved by money and power.

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