A well-educated Brahmin got married at the request of his parents. After his parents passed away, his wife also died. He gave away his family possessions and brought his young son to the mountain. They built a hut and lived as recluses.
They lived happily for many years.
One day, the father went to gather wild fruits. A nearby village was pillaged by a gang of bandits. They took a lot of hostages with them. A young lady ran away from them and found refuge at the hermits’ hut. She quickly corrupted the young man and asked him to go back and live with her in her village. The young agreed but asked to have a word with his father before leaving. She glumly said: “Go ahead and talk with him. When you are ready, you’ll find me by the road.”
When the father hermit came back, the young man asked: “I have this doubt in my mind. Will you please help me? If I should stray from our hut and arrive at the city, how can I recognize a good friend? What school of morals, sect or learning would make wise friends?”
The father replied: “Anyone who can gain your confidence and love. She can trust your words and be patient toward you; and in thought, word and deed will never offend you. Then you should cling to her as friend. On the other hand, men who are capricious as monkeys, unstable like crows and self-serving like hyenas will not be good friends. You’d be better off alone rather than be in their company.”
The young ascetic replied: “Oh Dear! How can I find people with such virtues? I will not go. I’d rather stay here with you.”
He remained to serve his father and took delight in the simple life and the bliss of meditation.
They both were reborn to the heavens.