The Widow's Two Mites And The Parable Of The Three Merchants

There was once a lone widow who was very destitute, and having

gone to the mountain she beheld hermits holding a religious

assembly. Then the woman was filled with joy, and uttering

praises, said, "It is well, holy priests! but while others give

precious things such as the ocean caves produce, I have nothing

to offer." Having spoken thus and having searched herself in vain

for something to give, she recollected that some time before she

had found in a dungheap two coppers, so taking these she offered

them forthwith as a gift to the priesthood in charity.

The superior of the priests, a saint who could read the hearts of

men, disregarding the rich gifts of others and beholding the deep

faith dwelling in the heart of this poor widow, and wishing the

priesthood to esteem rightly her religious merit, burst forth

with full voice in a canto. He raised his right hand and said,

"Reverend priests attend!" and then he proceeded:

"The coppers of this poor widow

To all purpose are more worth

Than all the treasures of the oceans

And the wealth of the broad earth.

"As an act of pure devotion

She has done a pious deed;

She has attained salvation,

Being free from selfish greed."

The woman was mightily strengthened in her mind by this thought,

and said, "It is even as the Teacher says: what I have done is as

much as if a rich man were to give up all his wealth."

And the Teacher said: "Doing good deeds is like hoarding up

treasures," and he expounded this truth in a parable:

"Three merchants set out on their travels, each with his capital;

one of them gained much, the second returned with his capital,

and the third one came home after having lost his capital. What

is true in common life applies also to religion.

"The capital is the state a man has reached, the gain is heaven;

the loss of his capital means that a man will be born in a lower

state, as a denizen of hell or as an animal. These are the

courses that are open to the sinner.

"He who brings back his capital, is like unto one who is born

again as a man. Those who through the exercise of various virtues

become pious householders will be born again as men, for all

beings will reap the fruit of their actions. But he who increases

his capital is like unto one who practises eminent virtues. The

virtuous, excellent man attains in heaven to the glorious state

of the gods."

The Vanity Of Worldliness The Woman At The Well facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail