The Third Brother’s Share
Once there were three brothers in Kashmir. They were Shyam, Krishana and Mohan. Their father was an expert in embroidery. His name was Murlidhar.
Murlidhar was soft-spoken , honest and hard working. He was so accomplished in the art of embroidery that there was none in Kashmir who could match him. He used to embroider shawls.
He used to work day and night for six days and on the seventh day, he used to go to the nearby market to sell them. He fetched very good money for his merchandise. During marriage seasons he used to be so much in demand that he could hardly spare any time for his meals and little rest. His sons did not have the deftness that he possessed. In fact they never tried to learn from him. It was only Mohan, the third son, who was very good at it but was nowhere near his father. The result was that Murlidhar had to do everything alone.
Hard work brings good results. Murlidhar’s business flourished and he prospered. With the money he earned, he built a big house for himself and bought a grand houseboat. The houseboat became another source of earning for him.
Everything was going well when one day he fell ill. Since there was no dearth of money in the house, the best doctors were consulted. But nothing worked. His condition deteriorated day by day. When Murlidhar became sure that his end had come and his days were numbered, he called his sons and said- “Children! I have worked hard all my life; I have earned good money also; but as you know, no living creature is immortal, and so, I too am not immortal. I am already past eighty and my days are numbered now. But before I die, I want make sure that no dispute regarding property occurs among you all after my death.”
Mohan, the youngest one, became very sad to hear this and began weeping.
“O father! Why do you talk of death? Don’t lose heart. It’s just that due to certain physical disorder you have fallen ill. The best doctors of Kashmir are giving treatment to you. You will be all right soon. Please don’t think that death is inevitable in your case,” said Mohan in a sad tone.
Shyam and Krishna also nodded in agreement. Murlidhar made Mohan sit by his side and said with tearful eyes, “My son, I thank you very much for your encouraging words, but something in me is telling me that my end is near. No medicines can save me from the clutches of death.” Murlidhar paused for a moment and then said, “Shyam and Krishna! You too come near me and listen to me carefully.”
“You know, my sons! I have got only three things in my possession; and these three things are – this house, the houseboat and my skill of embroidery. And now it’s up to you to decide, who wants to have what.”
Shyam said, “Please give me five minutes time I shall consult my wife and let you know.”
Murlidhar allowed him. Shyam came back and said that he wanted to have the house in his share.
Krishna didn’t have to consult his wife, as only two things were left now- the houseboat and the skill of embroidery. In all his cleverness, Krishna decided to have the houseboat in his share as it was a very good source of income.
Now only one thing- the skill of embroidery was left. Mohan said, “Father , my elder brothers have already had their shares and now only the skill of embroidery is left to fall in my share. I gladly accept it. I am happy with my share.”
Mulidhar taught him the intricacies of embroidery and made him perfect in this art. Within a short period Mohan became. Accomplished as his father. Now he was happy and satisfied.
One day Murlidhar’s condition became very alarming. Doctors were called. They did everything they could not save him. He died.
On the very next day of his father’s death, Shyam asked Krishna and Mohan to leave the house. They were shocked at the rude behavior of their elder brother, but since the house was legally in Shyam’s possession, they vacated the house.
Krishna shifted to his houseboat with his family, but did not take Mohan with him.
Mohan rented a two – room house and began living there. He too, like his father, was hard working, soft –spoken and honest. Also he had attained perfection in the art of embroidery. So, it did not take him long to catch up with the market. And a day came when shawls embroidered, by him were just as much in demand as the shawls embroidered by his father used to be.
His business flourished and he began earning a lot of money.
He had a neighbour whose name was Manohar. He was very much impressed to see Mohan’s good behaviour. He had a beautiful daughter whose name was Radha. One day he came and proposed his daughter’s hand for marriage to Mohan. Mohan gladly accepted the proposal.
Gradually Mohan’s income increased and he built a big house for himself and bought a big piece of land.
Sometimes thing take a queer turn. There was an earthquake with great seismic shocks. And within no time shyam’s house collapsed leaving a mass of pieces of bricks, metals and concrete. Fortunately Shyam had gone out marketing with his family. They remained unhurt but were rendered homeless.
Two hours later there was a big storm. Krishna had gone out to see his in- laws along with his family when his gimcrack houseboat capsized due to the storm. He too was left with no roof above his head.
Now Shyam and Krishna came weeping to Mohan along with their families, asking for shelter in his big house.
Both were feeling sorry for their ill behaviour toward their youngest brother.
Shyam said, “Now I feel sorry not to have learnt the skill of embroidery from my father. At least with this art I could have earned my livelihood. I also feel sorry to have turned you out of the house.”
Krishna said, “At least I had a houseboat where I shifted my family, but I had become so blind in selfishness that I too did not care for you and we rendered you homeless.”
Krishna again said, “We both are sorry for our heartlessness. Kindly forgive us and allow us to live in your house for a few days and as soon as we have made arrangements we shall leave your house.”
Then Mohan’s wife came out who had been listening to their discourse. She said, “Why for a few days only? You can live with us permanently. After all you two have realized your mistake. But it’s never too late”
It was Radha who came forward and brought a happy reunion among the brothers . they embraced each other with true love for each other and began living together.