1. Describe how the three families called in an astrologer to suggest ways for them to get richer.
2. Describe how the astrologer taught them to find out which of the three families was the richest and most virtuous.
3. Describe how each family cheated so that they could boast to one another.
4. Describe how they found out that the astrologer was a swindler.
One day, members of three families invited Yog Fu, an astrologer from Tibet, to suggest ways in which they could become richer.
Living in a competitive neighborhood, the Chens, Lims and Gohs vied with one another fiercely to secure the most wealth. Each wanted to have the most to boast about. After several sessions with the astrologer, Mr. Lim finally asked him which of the three families would become the most prosperous.
Yong Fu smiled benignly, and took out three ornamental boxes with velvet. He gave each of the couples a box and told them to keep it in their prayer room. He then told them that money would soon appear in the box of the most virtuous family. If money appeared in all three boxes, the one containing the most money would be the most virtuous and of course, the richest family.
However, the families had to surrender half of the money that appeared in the box, to the astrologer. He would then offer this money to the goods. If they failed to do this, their whole family would meet with a tragic and fatal end. The superstitious families all gasped and swore to abide by the condition.
The subsequent days, they checked their boxes anxiously but no money appeared. Each felt humiliated as this meant that none of them was virtuous.
One day, during the third week, however, Mr. and Mrs. Lim announced their discovery of a hundred dollars in their box. Following that, each couple claimed that money kept appearing in their box. Of course, half of the money was promptly given to the astrologer.
A month later, a sensational news item appeared in the local newspaper: Bogus Astrologer… Police are searching for Yong Fu. A Tibetan “astrologer” has swindled about thirty thousand dollars from wealthy families. He uses a scheme in which he gives people ordinary boxes and says money will appear in them if the person is virtuous. People who are ashamed normally plant their own money in the box to boast to others.
All three families looked rather sheepish when they read this news and shifted out of their neighborhood in a great hurry. They had each paid about two thousand dollars to learn an expensive lesson that when one attempts to deceive others, he only ends up deceiving himself!