Co-operation means living in accord with others. People should be helpful to one another. They should accept other people’s point of view, if it is mutually beneficial. Co-operation is very useful thing. It leads to accord and brings in happiness. On the other hand non-cooperation leads to discord, disharmony, suffering and ruin. Here is the story of an old woman, who lacked sense of accord and co-operation and had to pay for it by death.
One day the weather was stormy and the fisherman could not get a good catch. He could catch only three small fish that day and returned home in the evening with his catch. The fisherman’s wife shouted, “This is what you have caught! You have been idling away all the day,” the fisherman dare not utter a word. The fisherman’s wife fried the three small fish for the supper.
The old woman brought fried fish in a plate and placed the plate on the floor. Both of them sat down for the supper. The fussy lady gave only one fish to the fisherman and kept the other two for herself.
The fisherman said, Oh dear! The fish are very small. Let us share them fifty-fifty, i.e. one and a half fish each.” But the lady was very fussy, she said, “You have done nothing all the day. You can have only one fish. I shall eat two of them.” The old fisherman co-operated and politely said, “Well! You may have the two. I shall satisfy myself with only one.”
The lady still wanted to create a fuss. She said, “No, I won’t accept it as a charity from you. I shall have the two fish by way of justice. We shall make a bet. Let both of us lie down quietly, whosoever breaks silence and speaks first will have to remain contented with one fish. The other will have the two.”
The poor fisherman co-operating as he was, agreed to the bet. Both of them lay down on the ground. Some hours passed, but none of them uttered a word. The fried fish remained lying in the plate as such. The night passed and even on the next morning none of them spoke a word. The old couple remained laying down on the floor with their eyes shut.
Next morning a neighbor dropped into borrow something and found the old couple lying down on the floor motionless, with the late of fish lying in between them. She called out the old woman, but there was no reply. Then she called out the old fisherman and again there was no reply. Both of them were lying motionless with their eyes closed. The neighbor took them to be dead. She ran back home and told her husband and the other neighbors, what she had seen. They suggested that the matter should be reported to the police.
A neighbor went to the police station and reported the matter to the police. A police party consisting of a sub-inspector and two constables arrived. The sub-inspector popped the sides of the old woman calling out, “Hey! Old woman” but the old woman kept silent. She remained motionless still, with her eyes closed. The sub-inspector said, “The old couple appears to be dead.” He asked his men to place the old couple on bed, but still they remained motionless. By that time a large crowd had gathered there from the neighborhood. They were speaking words of sympathy of the old couple.
The sub-inspector said, “Let us cremate the old couple.” He asked the people to carry the dead bodies to the cremation ground outside the village, but still the old couple did not move or say a word. The bodies were placed on two separate pyres.
It was decided to cremate the old woman first. The police sub-inspector said to one of his constables. “Take this match box and set fire to this pyre. The old woman was listening all this. Now she realized her folly. Death stared her at the face. At once she sprang up from her pyre and shouted to the old fisherman, “Well! Get, you may eat two and I shall eat one.
The policemen mistook them to be the ghost of the dead couple. They imagined that they wanted to eat them up. On hearing these words the sub-inspector and his two constables took to their heels for their lives. The people gathered there also got frightened. They ran helter-skelter, but a strongman who had a club in his hands, took courage and hit hard on the head of the old woman. She died than and there.
The old fisherman who had also got up from his pyre, stood with folded hands and requested the people to hear him. The told the whole story. The people let him go. When the old fisherman returned home, he found the plate of fish empty. To his surprise some dog or cat had eaten up the fish.
Moral of this story:
This story tells us a lesson. The old fisher-man’s wife brought about her ruin, because she was not cooperating. Had she not been fussy, she would not have created a trouble for herself and her husband. You mush learn to cooperate with others. You should cooperate with the people with whom you are supposed to live. Learn to live in perfect accord and harmony with your companions and colleagues. It will bring you happiness. If you fail to co-operate with the people, with whom you are to live, you will be in trouble. It may bring in ruin as the old woman in the above story.