Avaricious and Envious, The Aesopic fable found in various collections throughout the world. Two neighbors came before Zeus and asked him to grant their hearts’ desire. One was full of avarice, and the other was eaten up with envy. To punish them both, Zeus granted that each might have whatever he wished for himself, but only on condition that his neighbor had twice as much. The avaricious man prayed to have a room full of gold. No sooner said than done, but all of his joy was turned to grief when he found that his neighbor had two rooms full of the precious metal. Then came the turn of the envious man, who could not bear to think that his neighbor had any joy at all. So he prayed that he might have one of his own eyes put out, by which means his neighbor would be made totally blind. Moral: Vices are their own punishment. This is one of the most popular Aesopic fables. It occurs in the Indian collection The Panchatantra and in various collections of the Middle Ages. It is told by Hans Sachs, the German poet and dramatist of the 16th century, and by John Gower, the English poet and friend of Chaucer, in his Confessio Amantis (book 2:2).
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow – Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante