Thursday, November 13, 2008


A country was engaging a war with a neighbouring country. The king ordered that all should contribute generously to support the military. He placed large barrels in all streets where people could contribute milk for the use of the army. The officials arrived to collect the milk on the first day. They poured out the contents of a barrel into the large containers in the chariot. But instead of milk, it was pure water. The reason was simple. Everyone thought that the others would pour milk and so no one would notice if they added water instead of milk. It is said that light is the best police man. Fear of revelation would prevent many crimes.

A milk merchant used to sell milk mixed with water regularly. He amassed a lot of wealth by this unscrupulous practice. He set out to buy new cows, carrying his money in a cloth bag. On the way he slept under a tree on the bank of a river. Some monkeys were residing on the tree. One monkey came down, snatched the bag lying near the sleeping merchant and returned to the tree. Seated on a tall branch, he opened the bag and started to drop the money down. Half of it fell on the ground. The other half fell into the flowing river and was lost. The merchant awoke and saw the sad scene. He was in tears. A passer-by who knew about the merchant’s fraudulent business thought, “What was gained from water has returned to the water!”

There are several families in India who earn a livelihood looking after cows and selling milk. Once a small live fish was found in a bottle of fresh milk sold by a villager. The cause was found out soon. The boy who sold the milk had added water into the bottle directly from a stream full of tiny fishes.

The practice of adulterating milk is very common. Once a family planned a trip and so needed milk earlier than the usual time. So the father went to the home of their neighbour who used to supply milk to them every day. He met a small girl there and asked her for their usual bottle of milk. The girl replied, “The milk is ready, but Mommy has to return from Church. Only she knows how much water is to be added to the milk!”

Adulteration is a common menace today. Many businessmen take it very lightly and with an elastic conscience remark that it is a part of every business. Truthful and sincere businessmen should be encouraged. Much enlightenment is required in this area as many businessmen easily resort to fraudulent practices like adulteration of commodities and evasion of legitimate taxes. Both are against the commandments of God, “Do not steal "{Exodus 20:15, Matthew 19:18} and “Do not steal or cheat or lie” {Leviticus 19:11}. The Bible teaches us, “It is better to have a little, honestly earned, than to have a large income earned dishonestly” {Proverbs 16: 8}.


By Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India. This is Story No. 14 in this site. Please click ‘Older Post’ at the bottom of this page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Post' at the bottom of this page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

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