A king had four wives. He loved the fourth one the most. She was very beautiful and many a king would give anything to have her. He gifted her with the finest of robes and jewellery to wear. He fed her exotic fruits and delicacies prepared by the best chefs. But he always feared that she would leave him one day, because she was very vain and did not think much of the king.
He loved the third queen a lot too and enjoyed her company. She was the intelligent queen, who helped and advised him in state matters. She was kind and considerate and was always a pleasure to be with.
The king loved his second wife too but he was not able to spend as much time with her as he would have liked to, for the first two wives seemed to take up almost all his time. She was weak and would often fall sick.
The first wife was a simpleton. The king did not love her at all, but she loved him dearly.
One day the king fell very ill and realized that he would soon die. So he was very sad that he would be separated from his wives and the wonderful life he led with them. He sent for the fourth wife first of all and said, “Dearest, I have loved you the most. Now my time is getting over, will you come with me, so that we can be united for ever?” She just turned her heel and said, “No.” She did not bother to look back for she was a woman of the world and the king could never take her along, however much he wanted to.
The king sadly sent for the third wife and posed the same question to her. He was very hopeful of getting a favourable response, for she was an intelligent and considerate woman. She said, “Oh King! I’m still young. I am still beautiful, whereas you have gone old. I’ll find a suitable man and marry again. I can’t die for you but, I’ll walk with you till your last step.”
Full of remorse, the king called for the second wife. He repeated his request. She said, “Oh king! No one can go with you. You have to walk this path alone. The best I can do for you is that I can come with you, till your grave. From there on we shall have to bid good bye to each other.”
The King’s eyes brimmed with tears. His heart was full of pain. Through the tears he noticed his first wife entering the room. How neglected and weary she looked! He did not have the courage to say anything to her, for he had neglected her all his life. She put her hands on his chest and said, “My Lord! I shall come with you. I shall walk with you till the throne of God. I shall always be a part of you. Wherever you go, shall mark the path for me to tread upon. For without each other we are incomplete. I firmly believe that we are one.” The king was overwhelmed. He realized how foolish he had been in understanding the true nature of his four wives.
In the real sense, all of us have four wives.
The fourth is wealth, which is the first one to leave us upon our death.
The third is our family and friends, whose roles in our lives end the moment we die.
The second is our physical body that accompanies us till our grave and then bids us goodbye.
The first is our good deeds and character that go along with us to the kingdom of God. They speak and canvass for us to help us earn the favour of the Lord. But we in our ignorance give the least importance to this first wife i.e. good deeds and character building. We are slaves to family, wealth, status and our body, little realizing what an exercise in futility it is.