There was a man who accumulated a lot of wealth. He never wanted to go to church to confess or donate. He had a ten-year-old son. It happened that the wealthy man fell seriously ill, and his family members advised him to confess and do something for the salvation of his soul. He refused, “May my son be in good health. He will do everything I need for the salvation of my soul.” The man was conquered by the devil, and nothing could make him change his opinion.
There was a pious elder in that area. He shaved his beard and put on secular clothes, and then went to the rich man’s house.
“What do you want?” they asked him when he knocked at the door.
“I’m a foreigner. When I happened to come to your village, I learned that your ruler is ill. I’ve come to see him, for I’m a doctor.”
They let him in immediately. All the rich man’s family gathered around the elder.
“How is the patient right now?” the elder asked them.
“I feel awful,” was the rich man’s own answer.
“What do local doctors say?”
“They say that I’m terminally ill.”
The elder-pretending-to-be-doctor took his hand and said:
“Yes, that’s right. You’re dying. However, if you could find a certain remedy, you wouldn’t die.”
“What’s that remedy that we have to find?”
The elder ignored that question and asked:
“Do you have kids?”
“Just one boy.”
“Don’t worry, your remedy is at hand. I promise that you won’t die.”
He requested a cup of water and some flour. He mixed the water and the flour, pretended to add some other substance into the mix, and then said:
“Now, the remedy is almost ready. One last thing: your son has to come here, and I’ll prick his little finger with a needle and add three drops of his blood into the mix. You will recover as soon as you drink the remedy.”
The rich man’s son was playing in the backyard of their house. They hurried to bring him to the doctor, saying:
“Sonny, please return to the house. There’s a doctor who can make your father well again.”
The boy wasn’t happy with that but they dragged him to his father’s bed.
When the doctor saw the boy, he said:
“My boy, I’ll prick your little finger with a needle and take three blood drops to prepare a remedy for your father to get well.”
“Am I a fool to allow you to injure my little finger?”
The doctor exclaimed:
“Sonny, it’s you who can help your father to survive this illness. Can’t you see how much wealth he has accumulated to leave to you?”
“I don’t care if he lives or dies, I’m not going to give you my blood,” the young man retorted and left.
Then the doctor said to the ruler:
“I am the spiritual counselor of this land, and I set this up trying to show you that you mustn’t expect any kind of care for your soul from your child.”
The rich man rose from his bed and said:
“I neglected my soul for the sake of my son to leave him a large estate but he didn’t want to sacrifice three droplets of his blood to rescue my life? You’re right, Father.”
He tore his will into pieces and gave all his possessions to the poor, leaving his son without any inheritance. He went to the Paradise where he’s always happy.
Now you who have children, don’t lay your hopes on them saying that they are good people and that they will take care of your souls. You’ll be left in the afterlife only with what you’ve done in this life on the earth.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds