Prophet Isa (a.s.) had been travelling in the company of another person when, after having journeyed for a period, they were overcome by hunger. They reached a village where Isa ( a.s.) requested his companion to go and bring some bread, while he engaged himself in prayers.
The man returned with three loaves of bread and waited for Isa (a.s.) to join him, but since his prayers continued for a long time, the person quietly consumed one loaf of bread.
“Were there three loaves of bread?” Isa (a.s.) asked after completing his prayers.
“No, there were only two,” replied the man.
A short while after they had eaten their food, they set off again and on the way encountered a herd of deer. Isa (a.s.) summoned one of the deer towards him, sacrificed it, and both the men sat down to eat it.
When they had finished eating, Isa (a.s.) commanded: “O’ deer! Move by the permission of Allah!” The deer immediately came to life and sprinted away.
Witnessing this, the man stood dumbfounded and uttered,
“Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah).”
“I put you under the oath of He, Who has manifested this sign of His power before you! Tell me what happened to the third loaf of bread?” Isa (a.s.) asked him.
“There were only two loaves of bread!” the man insisted.
They continued on their journey and soon reached the outskirts of a large village where they happened to see three gold bricks lying before them.
“There appears to be great wealth here!” the man remarked.
“Yes. One brick is for you, the second for me and I shall hand over the third to the person who ate the third loaf of bread,” said ˜Isa (a.s.).
The greedy man blurted out, “I ate the third loaf of bread.”
Isa (a.s.) parted company with him and handing him the bricks, said: “All three bricks are your property now.”
The man sat down beside the gold bricks and was lost in thought as to how he would carry them and put them to good use, when three persons passed by. When their eyes fell upon the gold bricks, they killed the man and took possession of the bricks. As they were hungry, they decided that one of them would go to the nearby village
and arrange to get some bread. The person who had gone to get the bread, thought to himself: “I shall poison the bread so that the other two are killed and then I shall have all the three bricks for myself.”
In the meantime, his other two friends had also conspired to kill him upon his return so that they could divide his share of the bricks between themselves. When he returned, they killed him as planned and with great satisfaction in their actions, began eating the bread.
Before long they too died as a result of the poison contained in the bread.
On his return, Isa (a.s.), observing four dead persons lying near the three gold bricks remarked: This is how the world conducts itself with those who covet it.
- Anecdotes For Reflection, Vol 3, Greed, Pg.87, 90.