Once there was a rich and prosperous tradesman who was happily married and living with his wife. But as time passed, they, like oil and water, were no longer getting along, in constant disagreement and never liking the same things nor having the same perspective. So, they got divorced and the lady went back to her father’s home.
At the time of the divorce, the woman was pregnant. Nine months later, she gave birth to a baby boy. Someone informed the man and he rewarded those who told him. He went and bought all the necessary food and clothing for both the baby and his mother and then sent her everything. He was also checking in on her and doing everything necessary to make sure she didn’t need anything. It seemed as if he had been ordered by a judge to do all of this and that he was only doing what he had been told to do. Actually, no one had requested that he do such a thing. He was doing all of it willingly and, after all, it was for his son and the mother of his son.
One day, the lady got married. Her second husband was also a rich tradesman and was deeply in love with her. He gave her everything that he had, and each time he bought something he put it in her name, whether a house, a workshop, land, a hotel, until she had a box full of contracts.
Meanwhile, the ex-husband hadn’t seen his son since his birth, so he didn’t know him well and he couldn’t recognize him. The baby had grown and was two or three years old when his father was missing him and wishing to see him. So, he sent someone to tell her:
“I miss my son and I would like to see him. Could you send him to my house or someplace else you may prefer?”
“Go tell him to forget that he has a son,” she said.
“What? Forget about my son? My son lives in the same town that I do and I don’t even know what he looks like! What am I even living for?”
He decided to go right away to meet the judge. But each time he went to see him, something got in his way to postpone it. He asked the bailiffs for help, until eventually he was able to meet the judge.
“Sir, I’m a divorced man and I have a son whose mother is now married. She won’t let me see my son. I miss him so much.”
“But son, since you don’t pay alimony, you don’t have any rights to your child.”
“No, sir. I’ve been doing everything necessary since his birth as if I was ordered to, and there are witnesses to that.”
“Alright, you know what? I will see about it. But tell me, to whom is she married now?”
And the man gave him the name of the new husband and told him his neighborhood.
“Alright, then you can go now. Tomorrow she will be sent an agent of the court. You can stay waiting in a café tomorrow late afternoon. Which café do you prefer?”
“It doesn’t matter, sir. As you wish.”
“Then you can stay in the so-called ‘Perfumers Café’, and in the late afternoon, this agent will bring you your son to sit with you. Have a great time eating and buying candy and clothes if you wish. Then the agent will take him back to his mother, you will pay him, and so every two weeks he will do the same thing and bring you your son to this café.”
“Thank you, sir. May God bless you.”
Then the man went on his way. But as we all know busybodies are always present and someone couldn’t wait to share the gossip and tell the lady:
“Your ex-husband has met the judge and he’s going to order you to send him the kid every two weeks. You’re going to lose your son as he gets to know his father, you know.”
So what did she do then? She went right away to buy 100 eggs and 6 chickens and headed to the judge’s house.
“Sir, today this man… came to you wishing to see his son,” she said. “I am the child’s mother and I am sure that once he gets to know to his father, he’s going forget about me.”
“Alright then,” he said. “You can go your way.”
“Then I know you’re going to handle this, sir.”
“Have no worries.”
The next day early in the morning, the man went out to the marketplace, looking for cloth from one store to another until he found what he liked. From it, he had a suit tailored for his son. He bought a hat, shoes, candy of all types, and went to wait in the café for the afternoon. He was extremely happy and excited to see his son. But then late afternoon arrived and no one had come. Fifteen more minutes had passed, half an hour, an hour…, and he was still hoping that they would come and kept thinking they could be on their way, until finally it was evening. Then it was night and no one would come that day, so he lost hope, and went on his way.
The next day, he went to the court hoping to meet the judge. But the bailiffs kept procrastinating and making him go this way and that, back and forth, each day of the week. They were taking advantage of him for his money. He waited until it was as if he were dead on his feet.
The week ended and they finally let him meet the judge.
“Sir,” he said. “The last time we talked you promised me that you would bring me my son so that I could meet him in that café… but I haven’t seen him or the agent of the court.”
“And is this any of my business to care whether you see your son or you don’t?” said the judge.
“But sir, you were the one who ordered this!”
“Take this man out.”
The bailiffs tugged on him as he resisted, until they got him out. He went on his way feeling defeated.
“Why am I even still living in this town?” he said.
He began selling all his property and collecting his money, until he had nothing left to sell.
“If a place doesn’t suit you,” he said, “you will leave it even if it grows diamonds.”
Then he headed for another town among all the towns out there.
Meanwhile, the boy had grown up and become a man. His mother had died as well as her husband, and so he inherited all the property, until he was at the age of marriage and he got married. He was a well-known rich man. One day, he bought his wife a gold bracelet.
“I want you to wear this and don’t ever take it off no matter what happens,” he said to his wife.
And so, year after year, until three years had passed, the wife always wore the bracelet.
Meanwhile, the father wasn’t doing well and his trade wasn’t working well. He had sold all his property in order to live, until nothing was left for him. He asked himself why he was still abroad.
“East or West, home is best,” he said.
Out of money, he went on his way, step by step, until he made it to his town. There an old friend of his saw him.
“Oh sir, what a coincidence! But what happened? What did this to you?”
“It’s a long story.”
“Come on, let’s have some coffee.”
As they entered the café, another old friend of his had also joined, and they started talking.
“Why wouldn’t you go to your son, he’s prosperous and well-to-do,” they suggested to him.
“I don’t like to be a burden to anyone even if it’s my son,” he said.
“Why not? He can at least give you something to buy some materials in order to bring people water and earn money.”
The man liked the idea.
“Where does he live?”
“You can check in this neighborhood.”
He found the house and knocked. When his daughter-in-law opened the door and saw him like that, she thought he was a beggar. She quickly went to bring him a piece of bread.
“No,” he said. “I am not a beggar. I am your father-in-law.”
“Yes exactly. I’m the father of your husband.” And he gave her his name.
“But where have you been? And how have you come to this?”
“It just happened, my back was against the wall. I came to ask him to give me something to buy some materials in order to bring people water and earn money, as I don’t like to ever be a burden to anyone.”
Then, since she didn’t want to delay him until the arrival of his son and thinking he might be absent that day, and since she didn’t have any money in the house, she took off her bracelet.
“Here, this may help.”
Her husband didn’t notice the first day or the second or the third, it wasn’t until the fourth day when he said:
“Hey where’s your bracelet? I told you I don’t want you to ever take it off!”
“But I forgot to tell you, my father-in-law was here.”
“Your father-in-law? But who’s that?”
“It’s your father, he needed some materials in order to work… I didn’t want to delay him so I took it off and gave it to him.”
“Oh, yeah? He’s in trouble.”
He went out to look for him. He asked everyone and went everywhere until someone said:
“Your father is in that café.”
He went there looking for him as he had been described until he found him. He stood there and said:
“How dare you come to my house?”
Then he slapped his father and went out. Everyone sitting with his father asked:
“How can a son dare to slap his dad in the middle of a café in front of everyone?”
He said “I don’t blame him. It’s all the judge’s fault who deprived me of him, as well as his mother, until he became cold-hearted towards me. But my son is not the one to blame, seeing that he doesn’t even know me.”
As for the son, he went back home.
“I slapped him,” he said to his wife.
“Oh yeah? Well done.”
She went to the door.
“What’s the matter?,” he said.
“I’m going back to my house.”
“I won’t stay with someone who’s abusive to his parent.”
“How is that any of your business? It’s between me and my father.”
“But you’re abusive, and so your children are going to be the same… I don’t want this to happen, I won’t stay.”
He felt so guilty, so he pulled himself together, and went back to his father. He fell down on
the floor and started hugging him saying:
“Dad, will you please forgive me ?”
And then he brought him to his house and offered him the most important room, and kept asking forgiveness every single day saying:
“Will you be content with me?”