The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

The Sin of Envy

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I know we all try not to be envious of our friends and neighbours, but as sinners we sometimes fail and find ourselves looking at their new car, their new computer, or their 60inch plasma TV, with just a little touch of envy.

A long time ago, there was a story told of a Burmese potter who became very envious of the King’s “washer man.” The job of the washer man was to carefully wash and keep clean the entire King’s herd of black elephants of which the King was very proud. He was a conscientious worker and enjoyed the King’s favour and was suitably rewarded for his labours. The potter schemed to put this man out of business and persuaded the King that a man in his position should have a least one white elephant in the royal herd. The King thought about this and then summoned the washer man and ordered him to wash one on his elephants until it became pure white and fit for a King.

The washer man had friends in the King’s court and knew all about the potters scheme to put him out of business, but he could also be devious, so the man told the King that in order to scrub one of the elephants white he would need a vessel large enough to hold the elephant if he was to scrub it white. He suggested to the King that the potter should be ordered to provide a vessel of suitable size and the King agreed and so ordered.

The potter constructed a giant bowl, but when the elephant stepped into it, the structure cracked beneath the weight of the enormous beast. The potter spent weeks making stronger and stronger vessels, but each one was crushed in the same way. Eventually, the King got tired of all these failures and banished the potter out of his kingdom. So it was the potter who was put out of business by the very scheme he had devised to ruin the man he envied.

“Wise men talk, because they have something useful to say.
Fools talk, because they feel they must say something.”

Published Fri 30th Sep 2016 23:02:38
Last Modified on Fri 30th Sep 2016 23:02:38

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