In the classic folktale “Greedy Brahmin” a Brahmin is asked to look after a wealthy man’s house while he is away. The Brahmin becomes greedy and steals some of the man’s possessions.  As he leaves the house with his stolen goods, he encounters a group of monkeys. The monkeys trick the Brahmin into thinking he should give them his possessions for a much greater reward. The greedy Brahmin agrees and throws his possessions into the river, only to realize too late that the monkeys have tricked him and he has lost everything.


My informant is my uncle (BS) aged 65 years living in India. While growing up in the village, BS heard this from my grandparents and relatives. 

Interviewer : What does this story highlight?

Informant : “I believe the story of the greedy Brahmin highlights the dangers of greed and the importance of integrity. ”

Interviewer: What life lesson does this story teach us?

Informant: “First, it reminds us that the desire for material possessions can cloud our judgment and lead us to destruction. Next, the story emphasizes the importance of honesty and ethics in all aspects of life.”


The Brahmin in the story becomes blinded by his desire for material possessions, leading him to steal from his wealthy employer.  His greed ultimately leads him to fall victim to the monkeys’ trickery, losing everything he has gained through dishonesty.

I believe the story emphasizes the importance of integrity and honesty, reminding us that these values are essential for leading a fulfilling and happy life.  It also highlights how greed can cloud our judgment, leading us down a path of destruction that can have far-reaching consequences.

The story of the greedy Brahmin teaches us that we should not let our desire for material possessions override our moral compass.  Instead, we should value honesty and integrity in all aspects of life, recognizing that true success and happiness come from leading an honest and virtuous life. The story serves as a reminder to prioritize our values over our desires and to live with integrity, even when no one is watching.