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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished


the-back-stabberHave you ever done something good for someone and they repaid you with bad? If you answer with anything other than a resounding YES, you must be from mars or from some planet with no jerks. It could be your employer, your spouse, fiance, or friend. But more importantly, do you routinely pay good with bad? Ponder as you read the story...

A farmer travels through the woods; he is gathering kindling for his fire. He and his wife have a goose–a rare treat–to cook for dinner. He finds a hyena trapped beneath a tree. The hyena asks him to free him, but the farmer answers, “No, you’ll eat me,” to which the hyena replies, “I won’t, because of my gratitude.” The farmer sees the hyena’s point, and frees the hyena, at which point the hyena replies, “Now prepare to be my lunch!” The farmer protests, but the hyena says, “Haven’t you ever heard? No good deed goes unpunished!” For the Farmer’s good deed, however, the hyena agrees that the next three travelers they meet in the forest will decide his fate.

The first is a tired old horse. The horse replies, “In my youth, I carried my master wherever he desired. Then when I grew old, and my bones tired and weary, my master cast me aside. Eat him hyena, eat him for his naivety, for no good deed goes unpunished!”

The next is a tired old dog. The dog replies, “In my youth, I herded for my master. Then when my teeth fell out, my master cast me aside. Eat him hyena, eat him for his naivety, for no good deed goes unpunished!”

The third was a leopard. The leopard said, “This is most interesting. In order to place my verdict, I must see the situation, exactly as you describe it.” Finally, the hyena allows them to trap it beneath the tree. Then the leopard turns to the farmer and says, “you are free now.”

The farmer, overcome with gratitude tells the leopard that he and his wife have a plump goose at home. Such a feast is rare to them, but for his life, the leopard surely deserves it. When he tells his wife his story, she gets angry with him. She says, “Surely you are mad! Shoot the leopard and collect his skin! There is no need to waste a perfectly good goose along with the chance to sell beautiful leopard skin!” The farmer argues for a long while, but at last, he concedes. He kills his savior and with the leopard’s dying breath he croaks, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

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