A man had just made a journey through a forest. He brought with him a strange story. He said that in a cave in the forest there were three dead men, a bag of gold, some food, and three bottles of wine. He had come into the cave just as the last of the men was dying. The dying man told him what had happened and here is the story:
There were once three robbers who plundered all who passed through the forest. One day they had stolen a bag of gold from a rich merchant and went to their cave to share the spoils. They were hungry. One of them, the youngest was sent to bring food and drink. While he was gone the two others began to plot among themselves. "Why should we share the gold with that young fellow? If he were not in the way that would mean two shares instead of three. As soon as he comes back we will set upon him and kill him. Then our shares will be larger."
The young man bought the food and on the way back, he, too, began to plot. "Why should I share the gold with those two old fellows? If they were not in the way I could have all the gold for myself. I will poison two of these bottles of wine, then all the gold will be mine." He put poison into two of the three bottles he had bought and put a mark on his own bottle so that he would know it. Then he went back to the cave. As soon as he came in the other two set upon him and stabbed him to death. Then they sat down to share the gold and to enjoy the food and wine. First one fell dead. The other lived long enough to tell his story to the man who was passing by.
Covetousness or greed is a dangerous thing. It leads to other sins. In our story it led men to steal and kill. It can lead you to commit sins too if you are not careful. Gunner Graball never knows when to stop. This is how he thinks, "I feel just like having an ice-cream soda. I will say that something which I bought for my mother from the grocers costs ten cents more than it did. Then I'll keep the dime." Greed had led to two sins — a lie and a theft. When asked about the money he will deny that he took it — another lie. How easily greed leads us into sin. Once you begin stealing it is very hard to stop. Beware of the beginnings.
If a person would never steal his first nickle he would never steal his second. See what greed did to the robbers in the story. It made them steal and kill. Here is a very simple rule to conquer greed. If you find that you are greedy; that you want everything you see
even when it belongs to someone else; try this cure. When you covet something very badly, instead of taking it, give something of your own away.