Saturday, 31 October 2009
The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey
A man and his son were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"
So the man put the boy on the donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."
And thus the man ordered his boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along."
Well, the man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his boy up before him on the donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours?"
The man and boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, where the donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.
"That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them "Please all, and you will please none."
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
Two travelling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.
As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem."
The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest.
When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.
The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel: "How could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him", she accused. "The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die."
"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied. "When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it."
"Then last night as we slept in the farmer's bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead."
Sunday, 18 October 2009
The son’s letter
A mother passing by her son's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was
nicely made, and everything was picked up.
Then, she saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow.
It was addressed, 'Mum'. With the worst premonition, she opened the
envelope and read the letter, with trembling hands.
It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope
with my new girlfriend, because I wanted to avoid a scene with Dad and
I've been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew
you would not approve of her, because of all her piercings, tattoos, her
tight motorcycle clothes, and because she is so much older than I am.
But it's not only the passion, Mum. She's pregnant.
Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods,
and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter.
We share a dream of having many more children.
Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt
anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves, and trading it with the other
people in the commune, for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want.
In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so
Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it!!
Don't worry Mum, I'm 15, and I know how to take care of myself.
Someday, I'm sure we'll be back to visit, so you can get to know your many
Love, your son, Nicholas.
P.S. Mum, none of the above is true. I'm over at Jason's house.
I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the
school report that's on my desk.
I love you!
Call when it is safe for me to come home."
Saturday, 10 October 2009
The Elephant and the Fly
A young man and his teacher were walking through the forest. The disciple was disturbed by the fact that his mind was so restless.
He asked his teacher: "Why are most people's minds restless? What can one do to still the mind?"
The teacher smiled at the student and said:
"I will tell you a story. An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more".
This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly:
"Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can't you stay for a while in one place?"
The fly answered: "I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My five senses pull me constantly in all directions and I cannot resist them. What is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?"
The elephant stopped eating and said:
"My five senses do not rule my attention. Whatever I do, I get immersed in it. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule and control my attention, and not the other way around."
Something in the young man clicked. "I understand! If my five senses are in control of my mind and attention, then my mind is in constant unrest. If I am in charge of my five senses and attention, then my mind becomes calm".
"Yes, that's right", answered the teacher, " The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind".
Saturday, 3 October 2009
The Blue Ribbon
A teacher did a class project honouring her students. She gave each of them a blue ribbon and told them how they had made a difference to her. Then she gave them three more ribbons and told them to honour other people who made a difference to them and then go back and see what impact it had.
A student went to a junior executive in a nearby company who had helped him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon, thanking him for making a difference. Then he told him about his project and gave him two extra ribbons. “Can you find somebody to honour, give them a blue ribbon and the extra blue ribbon to give to a third person, then please report back to me and tell me what happened."
Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who was a bit grouchy. He told his boss that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. He told his boss about the project, gave him a blue ribbon and the last extra ribbon and told him to pass it on to some-one who made a difference to him.
That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and told him, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. I was thrilled! He gave me an extra ribbon to honour some-one and I want to honour you. I am so busy and I’m not always there for you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough marks in school or for your bedroom being a mess. But I want you to know that you make a big difference to me. Beside your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great kid and I love you!"
The startled boy started to sob, he couldn't stop crying. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, "I have been contemplating suicide, Dad, because I didn't think you loved me, but now I know you care."
We all make a difference, but we don’t always realise this. Who would you like to acknowledge today?