Never give the cat a home in your life

A hundred year-old saint was about to die. The villagers asked him for a final teaching. He replied:

“Never give the cat a home in your life.”

And the saint died. And everyone was puzzled.

When news of the saint’s final teaching reached an old man in the village, he laughed and told everyone:

” ‘Never give the cat a home in your life‘ sounds puzzling because you guys don’t know the story of this saint’s life. Let me explain what happened.”

The saint was a renunciant in his youth. He had abandoned everything except two loin cloths. When he wandered to the village, the villagers were glad to welcome him. They wanted to have a renunciant staying nearby because it was considered a blessing. So they housed him in a small hut just outside the village.

Everything was fine except the rats in the hut. The rats were eating up the loin cloths. When the saint told the villagers about it, they quickly said:

“Oh, don’t worry, we’ll get you a cat. The cat will get rid of the rats for you.”

And so the saint had a cat, and indeed the cat got rid of the rats. Except now the saint had the problem of getting milk to feed the cat.

When the saint told the villagers about it, they quickly said:

“Oh, don’t worry, we’ll get you a cow. The cow will produce milk that you can feed the cat with.”

And so the saint had a cow which could produce milk to feed the cat. Except now the saint had the problem of getting grass to feed the cow. The only grass patch available was far away from the hut.

When the saint told the villagers about it, they quickly said:

“Oh, don’t worry, there’s a widow in the village. We’ll get her to grow grass beside your hut. She can grow wheat and other fruits too, and she can also take care of you should you fall ill.”

The widow agreed to the villagers’ proposal very quickly. She was glad to serve the saint, especially since the saint was a young man and she was now a woman alone.

She started taking care of everything, and indeed everything grew. The grass, the wheat, the fruits, the love… And soon, even the stomach of the widow grew. Children appeared in the hut one after another. The saint had to get a proper job and to bring the kids to school…

And one day he thought, “Shit, isn’t all these what I tried to leave behind? I renounced the world, and now the world is back again! It’s amazing how things grow when you give them a home in your life!”

 

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