Inspiration: Folk Tales & Stories

The Rabbi’s Gift

The Rabbi’s Gift

Once a great order, a decaying monastery had only five monks left. The order was dying. In the surrounding deep woods, there was a little hut that a Rabbi from a nearby town used from time to time. The monks always knew the Rabbi was home when they saw the smoke from...

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A Wicked Tyrant and the Howl for Justice

A Wicked Tyrant and the Howl for Justice

There was a wicked tyrant; and the god Indra, assuming the shape of a hunter, came down upon earth with the demon Matali, the latter appearing as a dog of enormous size. Hunter and dog entered the palace, and the dog howled so woefully that the royal buildings shook...

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Fable of the Forgiving Father

Fable of the Forgiving Father

This version of the parable of the prodigal son is a real tongue twister: Feeling foot-loose and frisky, a feather-brained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the farthings. He flew far to foreign fields and frittered his fortune, feasting fabulously with...

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The Monkey and the Fish

The Monkey and the Fish

There once lived a monkey and a fish. The monkey followed the golden rule, always trying to treat others as he wanted to be treated. But he sometimes applied the golden rule foolishly. Now one day a big flood came. As the threatening waters rose, the foolish monkey...

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Hell, Heaven and Long Spoons

Hell, Heaven and Long Spoons

A woman died and was taken to heaven. The angel wanted her to see hell, so they stopped there first. Hell had a lake of nutritious stew, but the people had only 12-foot spoons and so were frustrated when they tried to feed themselves. So the people were miserable and...

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Gandhi’s Shoe

Gandhi’s Shoe

Gandhi was boarding a train one day with a number of companions and followers, when his shoe fell from his foot and disappeared in the gap between the train and platform. Unable to retrieve it, he took off his other shoe and threw it down by the first. Responding to...

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Become a Lake

Become a Lake

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it. “How does it taste?” the master asked. “Bitter,”...

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The Mousetrap

The Mousetrap

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered - he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. There is a...

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The Snake Who Stopped Hissing

The Snake Who Stopped Hissing

Once in small village lived a snake who used to attack and kill village animals. Villagers wanted to respect all creatures but they hated that snake because snake was not just attacking animals but now it also attacked the villagers children. All the villagers wanted...

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The Wooden Bowl

The Wooden Bowl

There once was a grandpa who lived with his family. As Grandpa grew older, he began to slobber and spill his food. So the family had him eat alone. When he dropped his bowl and broke it, they scolded him and got him a cheap wooden bowl. Grandpa was so unhappy. Now one...

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Coexist

Coexist

This story taken from Buddhist Boot Camp is a PERFECT illustration for Step 6 of Karen Armstrong's book, "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" -- ACTION. The streetlight turned yellow, so he stopped his car at the crosswalk instead of accelerating through the...

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A Glass of Water

A Glass of Water

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of...

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The World is Round

The World is Round

One day a priest's one slipper fell into the river. The priest threw the other slipper into the water because he had no use for one slipper. A man was bathing in the river. He saw the slipper and threw it on the bank. But the slipper hit a man who was carrying a pot...

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What’s in Your Cup?, by Thich Nhat Hanh

What’s in Your Cup?, by Thich Nhat Hanh

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee? “Well because someone bumped into me, of course!” Wrong answer. You spilled the coffee because there...

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The Oak and the Reeds

The Oak and the Reeds

A Fable by Aesop An Oak that grew on the bank of a river was uprooted by a severe gale of wind, and thrown across the stream. It fell among some Reeds growing by the water, and said to them, “How is it that you, who are so frail and slender, have managed to weather...

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Fable: The Astrologer

Fable: The Astrologer

A man who lived a long time ago believed that he could read the future in the stars. He called himself an Astrologer, and spent his time at night gazing at the sky. One evening he was walking along the open road outside the village. His eyes were fixed on the stars....

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Fable: The Camel and the Ass

Fable: The Camel and the Ass

A Persian Fable A CAMEL and an Ass were once traveling together. Upon reaching the bank of a river the Camel was the first to enter the water. As it rose somewhat above his knees, but barely touched his body, he called to his companion: "Follow me in, for the water...

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Two Farming Brothers

Two Farming Brothers

This story is passed down in both Hebrew & Arab versions. In the Hebrew version, King Solomon is believed to have built the first temple on the ground where the two brothers met and embraced. In the Arab version, at the end of the story: "In the morning, each brother...

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The Wrong Place

The Wrong Place

A father before he died said to his son: “this is a watch your grandfather gave me, and is more than 200 years old. But before I give it to you, go to the watch shop on the first street, and tell him I want to sell it, and see how much he offers you”. He went, and...

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Fable: The Astronomer in the Well

Fable: The Astronomer in the Well

An astronomer was in the habit of going out every evening to look at the stars. Then, one night when he was in the suburbs absorbed in contemplating the sky, he accidentally fell into a well. A passer-by heard him moaning and calling out. When the man realized what...

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Fable: The Man Bitten by an Ant, and Hermes

Fable: The Man Bitten by an Ant, and Hermes

One day, a sailing ship sank to the bottom of the sea with all its passengers. A man who was witness of the shipwreck claimed that the decrees of the gods were unjust, for to lose a single impious person they had also made the innocent perish. There were a great many...

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