Three old men, one of whom had a bad reputation, came one day to Abba Achilles. The first old man asked him, "Father, make me a fishing net."
"I will not make you one," Abba replied.
Then the second said, "Of your charity make one, so that we have a souvenir of you in the monastery." But Abba Achilles said, "I do not have time."
Then the third one, who had the bad reputation, said, "Make me a fishing net, Father." Abba Achilles answered him at once,
"For you, I will make one."
Then the two other old men asked him privately, "Why did you not want to do what we asked you, but you promised to do what he asked?"
Abba Achilles gave them this asnwer: "I told you I would not make one, and you were not disappointed, since you thought that I had no time. But if I had not made one for him, he would have said, "The old man has heard about my sin, and that is why he does not want to make me anything," and so our relationship would have broken down. But now I have cheered his soul, so that he will not be overcome with grief."