Story No. 85 – Four wives
Once upon a time. There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives. He loved the 4thwife the most and
adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her & gave her
nothing but the best.
He also loved the 3rdwife very much. He’s very proud of her and always wanted to show off her to
his friends. However, the merchant is always in fear that she might run away with some other men.
He too, loved his 2ndwife. She is a very considerate person, always patient & in fact is the
merchant’s confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his
2ndwife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times.
Now, the merchant’s 1stwife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in
maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the
merchant did not love the 1stwife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.
One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of
his luxurious life and told himself, “Now I have 4 wives with me. But when I die, I’ll be alone. How
lonely I’ll be!” Thus, he asked the 4thwife, “I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing
and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”
“No way!” replied the 4thwife and she walked away without another
word. Answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant’s heart.
The sad merchant then asked the 3rdwife, “I have loved you so much
for all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me
“No!” replied the 3rdwife. “Life is so good over here! I’m going to
remarry when you die!” The merchant’s heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked the 2ndwife, “I always turned to you for help and
you’ve always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep
me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2ndwife.” “At the very most,
I can only send you to your grave.” Answer came like a bolt of thunder & merchant was devastated.
Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.” The merchant
looked up and there was his 1stwife. She was so skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition.
Greatly grieved, the merchant said, “I should have taken much better care of you while I could
Actually, we all have 4 wives in our lives. The 4thwife is our body. No matter how much time and
effort we lavish in making it look good, it’ll leave us when we die.
Our 3rdwife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others.
The 2ndwife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when
we’re alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.
The 1stwife is in fact our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material wealth & sensual pleasure.
Guess what? It is actually the only thing that follows us wherever we go. Perhaps it’s a good idea to cul-
tivate and strengthen it now rather than to wait until we’re on our deathbed to lament.