A Betting Man

A man and his wife went to visit friends in another part of the country and were taken to a racecourse. Fascinated by the sight of horses chasing one another around a track, the two of them kept betting all evening till they had no more than two dollars left.

The following day the man prevailed upon his wife to let him go to the course alone. There was a horse with a fifty-to-one odds on it in the first race. He bet on the horse and it won. He put all the money he won on another long shot in the next race and again he won. He kept doing this all evening and his entire earnings came to fifty-seven thousand dollars.

On the way back home he passed by a gambling den. An inner voice, the same that seemed to have guided him in his choice of horses, said, “Stop here and go in.” So he stopped, went in, and found himself standing in front of a roulette wheel. The voice said, “Number thirteen.” The man put the entire fifty-seven thousand on number thirteen. The wheel spun, and the croupier announced, “Number fourteen.”

So the man walked back home with nothing in his pocket. His wife called out to him from the porch, “How did it go?”

The husband shrugged his shoulders. “I lost the two dollars,” he said.

This is from The Heart of the Enlightened, a book of spiritual stories by Anthony de Mello.

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