John, The Monster

in Stories

Long ago in a small village in Persia, a man, named John, lived with his beautiful wife and a lovely little daughter.

They had a small house, but their love for each was immense.

In the yard of the house was an apple tree, which grew three apple daily.

John and his family lived on the apples, which were both delicious and satiating.

But John wanted to do more for this wife and daughter.

Illustration by: Neha Kumari

I want to build you a bigger house. I want to earn money to buy you a horse-cart and all other comforts of life. I want to take us to live in a town,” he told his wife and daughter one evening.

But we are happy with what we have: our apples and lots of love for each other,”replied his wife, carrying their daughter in he lap.

Then, one summer day, a rich merchant came to the village. The merchant carried with him bottles of oil, which he claimed to give people supernatural strength.

Before the merchant could start selling the oil, he began looking for a partner from among the villagers.

I seek a man most eager to make money and be rich,” the merchant enquired.

A lot of villagers tried their luck, but none could convince the merchant.

When John heard of the merchant, he knew he was the one the merchant was looking for.

Can you do anything for money?” the merchant asked John.

I can do anything for the comfort of my wife and daughter,” answered John.

The merchant immediately hired John, and gave him a bundle of money to take home.

There is not much you have to do,” said the merchant, handing John a baton and a lash.

Tomorrow, I will set up my stall in the middle of the village and start selling my magic oil to the people. A lot of them will buy it for sure, but some, who will be jealous of my success, may complain that it doesn’t work. You will have to silence the latter with your baton and the lash.”

In the morning, the merchant began selling his oil outside the house he had settled in. John stood guard.

A lot of people came to buy the oil, and no one complained.

The next morning, John heard a knock on the merchant’s door. A young man was standing outside the door, with the bottle of oil in his hand.

This oil doesn’t work,”he shouted, demanding his money back.

John went to awaken the merchant.

There is a man outside complaining,”he said to the merchant.

Is dealing with him not your job?”

John returned to the complainant and started thrashing him.

The more the man complained, the more John beat him, until the man yielded.

I was wrong. This oil works,”he said.

John stopped. The man ran away.

There were more complainants. John gave all of them the same treatment.

As the word about the treatment to complainant spread, people stopped complaining. Rather, the people began telling false stories about how magical the oil was, gaining the merchant more buyers and less complainants.

Every night, John took home a bundle of money.

But his wife kept it all untouched in a cupboard.

After months, John returned home from work happy, as he was sure he got what he wanted.

But he found his house empty. His wife and daughter had left him.

As he looked around, he found bundles of his money lying untouched in the cupboard with a mirror on it.

He looked in the mirror and cried.

Greed had turned him into a monster.


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