Very short stories in English with a great and deep moral and existential meaning and value.
The Foolish Donkey
A salt seller used to carry the salt bag on his donkey to the market every day.
On the way they had to cross a stream. One day the donkey suddenly tumbled down the stream and the salt bag also fell into the water. The salt dissolved in the water and hence the bag became very light to carry. The donkey was happy.
Then the donkey started to play the same trick every day.
The salt seller came to understand the trick and decided to teach a lesson to it. The next day he loaded a cotton bag on the donkey.
Again it played the same trick hoping that the cotton bag would be still become lighter.
But the dampened cotton became very heavy to carry and the donkey suffered. It learnt a lesson. It didn’t play the trick anymore after that day, and the seller was happy.
Moral of the story:
Luck won’t favor always.
Nails In The Fence
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”
The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”
“Of course I can,” said the father.
Hole in the fence or better mind your own business…
Once I was walking down the road adjacent to a mental hospital. The hospital’s compound had a tall fence separating it from the road. I could hear shouting coming from the other side, the patients were shouting, “13! 13! 13!” On and on and on. I was intrigued. And then I saw a tiny hole in the fence. Even though it felt stupid, I decided to put my eye there and look inside. And as soon as I did, some idiot poked my in the eye with a stick!
All the patients started shouting, “14! 14! 14!”
And that’s how I learned to mind my own business.
The Cockroach Theory for Self Development
At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.
She started screaming out of fear.
With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.
Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.
The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but
it landed on another lady in the group.
Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.
The waiter rushed forward to their rescue. In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.
The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.
Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?
If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.
It is not the cockroach, but the inability of those people to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach, that disturbed the ladies.
I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.
It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.
More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.
Speech by Sundar Pichai – an IIT-MIT Alumnus and Global Head Google Chrom
The Wise Man
People have been coming to the wise man, complaining about the same problems every time. One day he told them a joke and everyone roared in laughter.
After a couple of minutes, he told them the same joke and only a few of them smiled.
When he told the same joke for the third time no one laughed anymore.
The wise man smiled and said:
“You can’t laugh at the same joke over and over. So why are you always crying about the same problem?”
Moral of the story:
Worrying won’t solve your problems, it’ll just waste your time and energy.
Enjoy your life
An old man lived in the village. He was one of the most unfortunate people in the world. The whole village was tired of him; he was always gloomy, he constantly complained and was always in a bad mood.
The longer he lived, the more bile he was becoming and the more poisonous were his words. People avoided him, because his misfortune became contagious. It was even unnatural and insulting to be happy next to him.
He created the feeling of unhappiness in others.
But one day, when he turned eighty years old, an incredible thing happened. Instantly everyone started hearing the rumour:
“An Old Man is happy today, he doesn’t complain about anything, smiles, and even his face is freshened up.”
The whole village gathered together. The old man was asked:
Villager: What happened to you?
“Nothing special. Eighty years I’ve been chasing happiness, and it was useless. And then I decided to live without happiness and just enjoy life. That’s why I’m happy now.” – An Old Man
Moral of the story:
Don’t chase happiness. Enjoy your life.
Grow Through Adversity
“The lobster’s a soft mushy animal that lives inside of a rigid shell. That rigid shell does not expand.
Well, how can the lobster grow? Well, as the lobster grows, that shell becomes very confining, and the lobster feels itself under pressure and uncomfortable. It goes under a rock formation to protect itself from predatory fish, casts off the shell, and produces a new one. Well, eventually, that shell becomes very uncomfortable as it grows. Back under the rocks. The lobster repeats this numerous times.
The stimulus for the lobster to be able to grow is that it feels uncomfortable. Now, if lobsters had doctors, they would never grow because as soon as the lobster feels uncomfortable, goes to the doctor, gets a Valium, gets a Percocet, feels fine, never casts off his shell.
I think that we have to realize that times of stress are also times that are signals for growth, and if we use adversity properly, we can grow through adversity.”
Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski
You can also read the following articles: