Inspiration: Folk Tales & Stories

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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Fable: The Drowning Boy

Fable: The Drowning Boy

A boy had gone down to the river to bathe but because he didn't know how to swim, he was in danger of drowning. The boy then saw a man walking by and called to him for help. As the man was pulling the boy out of the water, he said, 'If you don't know how to swim, why...

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Fable: The Fisherman and His Net

Fable: The Fisherman and His Net

A FISHERMAN, engaged in his calling, made a very successful cast and captured a great haul of fish. He managed by a skillful handling of his net to retain all the large fish and to draw them to the shore; but he could not prevent the smaller fish from falling back...

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Fable: The Otter and the Jackal

Fable: The Otter and the Jackal

a folk tale from India ONCE upon a time two Otters whose names were Gambhiracari and Anutiracari, were standing on the bank of a river, on the lookout for fish. Presently Gambhiracari saw a large Rohita fish, and with one bound he dived into the water and caught it by...

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Fable: The Father and His Two Daughters

Fable: The Father and His Two Daughters

A MAN had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the daughter who had married the gardener, and inquired how she was and how all things went with her. She said, ‘All things are prospering with me, and I...

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Fable: The Man and the Satyr

Fable: The Man and the Satyr

A Man and a Satyr became friends, and determined to live together. All went well for a while, until one day in winter-time the Satyr saw the Man blowing on his hands. ‘Why do you do that?’ he asked. ‘To warm my hands,’ said the Man. That same day, when they sat down...

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Fable: Abdul Aziz and the Pearl

Fable: Abdul Aziz and the Pearl

a folk tale from India THE story is told of Abdul Aziz that he had a pearl of great beauty and value, set in a ring. Shortly afterwards there came a dry season, the crops failed, and there was great suffering among his people. Moved by compassion the King ordered that...

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Ask the Horse

Ask the Horse

A Zen Tale A horse suddenly came galloping quickly down the road. It seemed as though the man had somewhere important to go. Another man, who was standing alongside the road, shouted, "Where are you going?" and the man on the horse replied, "I don't know! Ask the...

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The Goatherd and the Wild Goats

The Goatherd and the Wild Goats

One cold stormy day a Goatherd drove his Goats for shelter into a cave, where a number of Wild Goats had also found their way. The Shepherd wanted to make the Wild Goats part of his flock; so he fed them well. But to his own flock, he gave only just enough food to...

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