Greed Is an Expensive Thing A Cautionary Tale for the Greedy Ones

Before the judge stood a man convicted of bribes.

The judge offered the accused to choose between one of three possible punishments:

  • either to pay 100 gold coins,
  • to be hit 50 times with a stick,
  • or to eat 3 pounds of raw onions.

Being greedy, so he decided that the best punishment is also the cheapest one: eating 3 pounds of raw onions. However, after finishing the second pound, he could no longer stand the sight of onions.

– Oh, high court, – he begged, – please spare me from eating the last pound. I can’t stand it anymore. It would be better to endure the beating.

“Even that punishment would save me money,” the convict thought to himself.

A moment later, he was stripped and lied down on a bench. Every time he was hit, he cried from the bottom of his heart. On the tenth time, he gave up.

He prayed to be allowed to pay the 100 gold coins.

In the end, wanting to save some money, the man received three penalties, instead of one.

The Lesson

  • The greedy ones pay twice – and sometimes even three times.


  • Pezeshkyan N. The Merchant and the Parrot. Eastern Stories and Psychotherapy. M., 1992
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