Saturday, February 2, 2013

Interpretive Reading Project 1 - Four Wives

[I have came out of  the one-and-half year hiatus and have resumed delivering project speeches. My goal is to achieve Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS) by mid -2014. This speech is the first step towards this goal.]

There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives.
He loved his 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.
He also loved his 3rd wife very much. He was very proud of her and always wanted to show her off to his friends. However, the merchant was always in great fear that she might run away with some other man.
He loved his 2nd wife too. She was a very considerate person, always patient and in fact was the merchant's confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times.
However, the merchant did not love his first wife. She loved him deeply, but he hardly took notice of her and neglected her totally. 

One day, the merchant fell very ill. He knew that he was going to die soon. He thought about his luxurious life and said to himself, "Now I have 4 wives with me. But when I die, I'll be alone. How lonely I'll be after my death!" 

He asked the 4th wife, "I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company wherever I go after I die?" He expected her to say yes. But she answered, “My dear husband, I know you always loved me. But you are going to die. Now it is time for me to separate from you. Goodbye, my dear”. The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant's heart.

He called his third wife to his sickbed and begged her to follow him in death. He said, “My dear, you know how much I loved you. Sometimes I was afraid that you might leave me, but I held on to you strongly. My dear, please come with me.' "No! Dear husband, how can I follow you? You loved me only for your own selfish sake. Life is so good over here! I'm going to remarry when you die!” replied the 3rd wife. The merchant's heart sank and turned cold. 

He then asked the 2nd wife, "I always turned to you for help and you've always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?"  The 2nd wife replied, with tears in her eyes, “My dear, I pity you and I feel sad for myself. But I'm sorry; I can't help you out this time! I can only accompany you till the graveyard.” The answer came like a bolt of thunder and the merchant was devastated. 

Three wives had refused to follow him after his death. Now he recalled that he had another wife, his first wife. He had not cared for her very much. He had treated her like a slave and had always showed much displeasure with her. He now thought that if he asked her to follow him to death, she would certainly say no. 

But his loneliness and fear were so severe that he made the effort to ask her to accompany him to the other world.
The first wife gladly accepted her husband's request. 'My dear husband,' she said, 'I will go with you. Whatever happens, I am determined to be with you forever. I cannot be separated from you”.
The merchant looked at his first wife closely. She looked sick from neglect and malnutrition. Greatly grieved, the merchant regretted, "I should have taken much better care of you!”

And then he died! 

Actually, we all have 4 wives in our lives. 

The 4th wife is our body. We love our body day and night. We keep it clean, well dressed and well fed in the same manner the merchant kept his fourth wife.  But unfortunately, at the end of our life, the body, the 4th wife cannot follow us to the next world.  No matter how much time and effort we spend in making it look good, it'll leave us when we die. 

Our 3rd wife?  The third 'wife' stands for our fortune, our material things, money, property, fame, position, and job that we worked hard to attain. We are attached to them. We are afraid to lose them and wish to possess much more. There is no limit. At the end of our life these material possessions cannot follow us to death. When we die, they all go to others just as the third wife told her husband “I'm going to remarry when you die!'

The 2nd wife represents all our near and dear ones - parents, sisters, brothers, wife or husband, relatives, friends. They are all helpful and sympathetic to us when we are alive. But no matter how close they were to us when we were alive, when we die at the most what these people can do is to go as far as the graveyard or cremation ground with tears in their eyes.

The 1st wife is in fact our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material, wealth and sensual pleasure. Guess what? It is actually the only thing that follows us wherever we go.  Let us cultivate and strengthen our soul NOW rather than to wait till we're on our deathbed.

[Date delivered: January 19 2013

Advanced Communication Manual - Interpretive Reading
Project 1 - Read a Story


  •  To understand the elements of interpretive reading.
  • To learn how to analyze a narrative and plan for effective interpretation.
  • To learn and apply vocal techniques that will aid in the effectiveness of the reading.
Time:  Eight  to Ten Minutes

I chose to read this story  because its message closely resonates with my own views about life.
The author of the story is anonymous.
There are many versions of this story available on the internet. I combined the following two versions and  I created the content for my speech by combining two such versions. These two versions are available at:

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