Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I’m reminded of a story of a man who was traveling in his wagon.  Up the road came a merchant who was not at all paying attention as he drove his own wagon.  The man noted that the merchant was swerving wildly along the road, but refused to call to the man or pull off to the side.  “He should be more responsible and pay attention” the man was heard to grumble as the two carts neared.  “I have every right to be on the road, I will hold my ground and force him to drive the way I think he should drive” he grumbled some more.


As one would expect, the merchant’s cart struck the man’s cart.  By now the man was very, very angry as the man felt it was the merchant’s own negligence that caused the accident.  “Had you been more attentive, like me, you would have seen me coming and steered straight, you fool!” the man bellowed at the merchant.  “The damage can be repaired, let me fix it” said the merchant.  The merchant’s good demeanor only served to make the man angrier.  “He should be more sorry for running into me” thought the man as he became angrier and angrier.


“YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT YOU’RE GOING TO FIX IT!” screamed the enraged man at the merchant who, by now, wanted only to get as far away from the enraged man as possible.


The merchant repaired the man’s cart, but that wasn’t enough for the man.  “I’m going to make him pay” grumbled the man, who demanded a portion of the merchant’s goods as punishment for his negligence.


The merchant argued.  He then offered some of his goods, but that offer wasn’t enough.  The man wanted to make him pay more.  The merchant offered more, but the man demanded that the offer STILL wasn’t enough.  Eventually the merchant relented only to make the man shut up and get out of his life forever.  The merchant handed over half of his goods to the man, who greedily placed the goods in his cart.  “That’ll teach him” the man angrily thought.


The problem was that the man’s cart was not as sturdy as the merchant’s cart.  As the merchant rode away and the man yelled “I hope you’ve learned your lesson!”  The merchant called back “I hope you have a good day!”  The man called to his horses to pull the cart, but the horses couldn’t move it.  The axles on the cart were straining and as the horses strained, the axles broke.


Now the man was stuck.  He believed that if he went for help others would think him weak and take all that he believed he rightfully owned.  So, he clung greedily to all that he fought for and won, stuck there in the middle of the highway with only his treasure and anger, which had so burdened him and his cart that the wheels came off and he was never to enjoy it.  Eventually bandits came along and found the stranded man and laid upon him taking everything the man had—even the broken cart.


Moral?  Sometimes, when you fight so hard to make others pay for the wrongs they cause, you end up losing everything.


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