Quick Tales: ‘Envy Kills You’

There has been so many stories about envy. Even the Bible has parables about envy.

But why? We’re all humans and this is just a flaw. Why is envy considered as one of the seven deadly sins?

There is this particular Japanese tale I remember, “Envy Brings Suffering.” It is about two old men; the other very rich and the other one poor.

The poor one just only had one wish: to have a companion since he did not have a wife or kids. So, he acquired a dog who then become very loyal to him.

One day, the dog was walking around and started digging. The Good Old Man knew how smart his dog was so he came back to the house and got a spade. After digging the spot that the dog pointed to him, he found many Kobans (gold coins).

The Good Old Man could have used all of these gold coins for himself. He could have bought a bigger, more grandiose house than the Rich Man living nearby. It could have been the best revenge. But, he did not.

In lieu, he shared all the gold coins to the townspeople who were already very fond of him.

The Rich Man saw this. Even though he basically had more than every other person in the town, he was envious of the Good Old Man’s happiness and popularity. He even got envious of the dog that finds wonders and treasures in the land.

The Rich Man then kidnapped the dog and forced it to snoop around so this time he will be the one to find the treasure. When the dog did not find anything, he killed the dog and dumped its body into the Good Old Man’s yard.

Though the Good Old Man knew who did it, he did not do anything. The Good Old Man continued to prosper, while the Rich Man was put “ in prison where he died a long horrible death.”

The tale was quite literal in its representation of Envy. The envious man had died a long horrible death.

Envy is a dark part of human emotions, but those who choose not to feed Envy prevails.

The concept of Envy is quite simple. It is about yearning for someone else’s blessings when you are supposed to be content and enjoy yours.

The Rich Man could have thought that he had a massive house and a lot of money. He could have used these to entertain and provide for the townspeople just like the Good Old Man. Instead, he wanted the exact same thing.

Everyone of us has our own journeys. We have our own skills and talents and nobody can replace someone’s life.

What Envy does is it reverts our eyes from our own gifts. It tells us that the only way to happiness is to crush someone else’s and get it for your own. But, what Envy does not tell us is even if we get to have, or better yet, possess someone else’s GIFT, then it would not be a blessing for us.

Just like in the Japanese tale above. The Good Old Man has been gifted with ashes that would turn the leaves to fall with abundant cherry blossoms. When the Rich Man asked of the exact same ashes, they were just ashes. This even caused him his life.

What we need to understand about our human journey is the importance of self discovery. Instead of looking at what others have, we need to focus on our own. Instead of envying other’s success, we need to strive for our own. Developing ones full potential is the only way we can truly give back to the world.