There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives. He loved the 4th wife the most
and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took
great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.
He also loved the 3rd wife very much. He's very proud of her and always
wanted to show her off to his friends. However, the merchant is always in
great fear that she might run away with some other men.
He too, loved his 2nd wife. She is a very considerate person, always
patient and in fact is the merchant's confidante. Whenever the merchant
faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always
help him out and tide him through difficult times.
Now, the merchant's 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great
contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking
care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife
and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.
One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to
die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, "Now I have 4
wives with me. But when I die, I'll be alone. How lonely I'll be!
Thus, he asked the 4th wife, "I loved you most, endowed you with the
finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will
you follow me and keep me company?" "No way!" replied the 4th wife and she
walked away without another word. The answer cut like sharp knife right
into the merchant's heart.
The sad merchant then asked the 3rd wife, "I have loved you so much for
all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me
company?" "No!" replied the 3rd wife. "Life is so good over here! I'm
going to remarry when you die!" The merchant's heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked the 2nd wife, "I always turned to you for help and you've
always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you
follow me and keep me company?" "I'm sorry, I can't help you out this
time!" replied the 2nd wife. "At the very most, I can only send you to
your grave." The answer came like a bolt of thunder and the merchant was
Then a voice called out : "I'll leave with you. I'll follow you no matter
where you go." The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. She
was so skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition. Greatly
grieved, the merchant said, "I should have taken much better care of you
while I could have!"
Actually, we all have 4 wives in our lives...
The 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in
making it look good, it'll leave us when we die.
Our 3rd wife? Our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go
The 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been
there for us when we're alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to
The 1st wife is in fact our spirit, often neglected in our pursuit of
material wealth and sensual pleasure. Guess what? It is actually the only
thing that follows us wherever we go.