The old woman and the fish story
(Favourite story from Asia)
(Favourite story from Asia)
A long time ago, there lived in Indonesia an old widow. She had no sons or daughters and no one knew anything about her family. She lived by collection stick which she sold as firewood. With the money she earned she bought a little rice.
She had never been to school. She did not know about God and so she had never prayed or been to mosque.
One day, she was collecting firewood in the forestnear the hut where she lived. She passed a river which had very little water in it. As she looked down, she saw there were several fish trying to swim in the shallow water. "Ah," “he thought, “It’ll be easy for me to catch them. I shall be able to have a good meal tonight.”
She picked one of them up. It was unable to breath properly. “Kek! Ko! Kek! Ko!” it made a noise like a frog. She felt sorry for it. Suddenly it spoke in a loud voice: “Allah! Almighty God! Please help us. Please send down some rain or we shall die.” All the other fish prayed in the same way.
The old woman put the fish back in the river.
Before long, the sky became dark and it started to rain. The old woman stood in the rain. She did not know what to say. “How wonderful! The fish prayed and Allah helped them.”
When she went home that evening, she sat on the floor and prayed aloud, “O Allah! Almighty God! Please have mercy on me. I’m a poor widow, please send me some money.”
She kept on praying all night. She made so much noise that a rich man who lived in the next house was unable to sleep.
She prayed again the next night, and the night after that.
The rich man thought of a way to keep her quite. He filled a large sack with stones and broken glass. He climbed on to the roof of her hut, made a hole in the atap, and dropped it on her.
“Pla-a-ng!” the sack fell right on top of her head.
The rich man, who was very cruel, laughed. The old woman fell to the found unconscious.
The rich man watched through the hole in the roof to see what she would do when she recovered her sense.
“O Allah!” she cried. “Thank you very much for answering my prayer. I shall never forget your kindness.”
The old woman opened the sack. The rich man was waiting for this moment. He thought that there would only be stones and broken glass inside. But the sack was full of gold and silver coins. Allah had taken pity on the poor old woman and answered her prayer by turning the stones and broken glass into money.
The rich man returned home as fast as he could. He called his wife and told her what had happened. She could hardly believe him. “All right,” he said. “Help me fill a sack with stones and broken glass. I want you to drop it on me tonight.”
He sat on the floor and prayer. “Allah! Almighty God! Please help your poor servant. Please send me some money as you did the old woman.”
As soon as it became dark, his wife climbed on to the roof carrying the sack. It was very heavy. She cut a hole in the atap roof, and dropped the sack in her husband’s head. “Pla-a-ang!” the sack knocked him unconscious.
When he recovered after an hour or so, although his head felt very painful, he was so happy that he laughed. “O Allah! Thank you very much for answering my prayer.”
He opened the sack but there were only stones and broken glass inside. He cried and banged his head on the wall. But Allah refuse to hear him. “This in my punishment,” the rich man told his wife. “I shall never be wicked and cruel again.”