126. The Barber and the Fairy
A tree-fairy bestowed seven pots of gold on a barber.
When the barber got home, he discovered the seventh pot was only half-full. He felt compelled to fill the pot, so he put in all his own money. The pot was still just half-full.
He sold all his possessions, but even that did not fill the seventh pot.
He went begging, putting all the money in, but to no effect.
"This fairy's gift is a curse!" he shouted, and he told the fairy to take it all back.
So he lost all the gold, and all his own money too.
Inspired by: Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna
Notes: This is story 19 in the book. The story uses the word "yaksha," which I have altered to fairy. In the original story, the barber is the royal barber, so he asks the king for a raise, but even that money is not enough. The king guesses what's going on and explains that the yaksha's gold is a trap; he himself rejected the gift. The king then advises the barber make the yaksha take back the gift. Yakshas are nature-spirits; read more at Wikipedia.