A Greedy Man

Vern Feuy Liam Saephan

Once there was a greedy man. Every time someone found something, the greedy man would always claim that it was his. He argued that he just didn’t have a knife to mark it as his own. In the olden times, a person’s mark wasn’t made with a pen. Marks of ownership were made by cutting two sticks and binding them into a cross pointing to the found object. That was how people made their claim. They didn’t have any pens to make marks.

Every time someone reported a discovery, the greedy man would claim it. If a person found a beehive, he would say it was his. The other person couldn’t claim it. If someone tried to challenge him, then he would sue the person. When a person found a bird’s nest, that person couldn’t go shoot the bird because the greedy man claimed it. If he shot the bird, the greedy man would sue him.

After he had done this many times, people began to get angry at him and wanted revenge. One time a man went hunting and came upon a snake’s lair. This gave him an idea of how to get even with the greedy man who had caused him so much trouble and loss. So he planned to fool the greedy man.

When he returned home, he told the greedy man, “While I was looking for a field, I found a big bird’s nest today. I’m planning to go hunt the bird.” The greedy man said, “Where is it? It might be the same one that I found. I also saw a big bird sitting on its eggs, but I haven’t had a chance to go hunt it yet.”

The greedy man wanted the other man to describe his discovery. So he gave him many details of the nest and where to find it.

When he finished, the greedy man claimed, “That’s exactly the same one that I already found! I found it first.”

So the man gave him further information about the way to the nest. But the greedy man didn’t have a gun. He said, “I’m going to wait a few days until the eggs are about to hatch so that the mother bird won’t be easily frightened away.”

The other man told him, “Oh, don’t worry about it flying away. When I saw it, the eggs were already about to hatch. The mother didn’t fly away until I almost stepped on her.

So the greedy man went to search for the nest. When he got to it, he saw a big snake’s head sticking out. He thought it must be the big bird’s head. So he jumped into the nest and grabbed hold of the snake’s neck. Then he felt it wasn’t a bird. It was a snake.

The snake uncurled and wrapped itself around him. He couldn’t get loose, and no one came to rescue him. He struggled with the snake until they rolled down to a stream. At the stream he found a sharp flint. He used the flint to cut the snake’s neck until its head fell off and it died. Then he got loose from the snake and went home. His body was all bruised.

From then on, he no longer wanted to claim other people’s discoveries. Whatever people found, he would leave alone.

This story is told to teach people, whether they are American, Mien, or any other people, not to have a “big want”. People should learn to have a good heart. Whatever is not yours, you shouldn’t try to claim. You should only claim what is your own. If you meet a weak person, you could claim something falsely. But if you meet a clever or strong person, he could find a way to harm you. Then it would be too late for you to feel sorry.