Inspiration: Folk Tales & Stories

The Travelers and the Plane-Tree

The Travelers and the Plane-Tree

TWO TRAVELERS, worn out by the heat of the summer's sun, laid themselves down at noon under the wide spreading branches of a Plane-Tree. As they rested under its shade, one of the Travelers said to the other, "What a singularly useless tree is the Plane! It bears no...

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Bread and Beans

Bread and Beans

Nasrudin was eating a poor man's diet of chickpeas and bread. His neighbor, who also claimed to be a wise man, was living in a grand house and dining on sumptuous meals provided by the emperor himself. His neighbor told Nasrudin, "if only you would learn to flatter...

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The Priest’s Successor

The Priest’s Successor

There was once a famous temple, high up in the hills of Assam. The priest of this temple was widely respected and known to be a great scholar. When he grew very old, he started searching for a younger priest who could take charge of the temple after his death. But,...

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Green Vision

Green Vision

There was a very wealthy man who was bothered by severe eye pain. He consulted many physicians and was being treated by several. He did not stop consulting a galaxy of medical experts; he consumed heavy loads of drugs and underwent hundreds of injections. But the ache...

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The Green Frog

The Green Frog

A Korean Folktale Long ago, the green frog lived with his widowed mother in a small pond. The green frog never listened to his mother, and when she told him to do something, he always did the opposite. If his mother told him to play in the hills, he went to the river....

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The Tough Samurai and the Little Monk

The Tough Samurai and the Little Monk

A big, tough samurai once went to see a little monk. "Monk!" He barked, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience. "Teach me about heaven and hell!" The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain, "Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn't...

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Tetsugen and the Sutras

Tetsugen and the Sutras

Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the sutras, which at that time were available only in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copies, a tremendous undertaking. Tetsugen began by traveling and...

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Muddy Water

Muddy Water

Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were traveling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, "I am thirsty. Do get me some water from...

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The Emperor’s Seeds

The Emperor’s Seeds

Once there was an emperor in the Far East who was growing old and knew it was coming time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or one of his own children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young people in the kingdom...

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Stone Soup

Stone Soup

Once upon a time, somewhere in post-war Eastern Europe, there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering soldier came into a village and began asking...

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The Emperor’s New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He...

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The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

Now you must know that a Town Mouse once upon a time went on a visit to his cousin in the country. He was rough and ready, this cousin, but he loved his town friend and made him heartily welcome. Beans and bacon, cheese and bread, were all he had to offer, but he...

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Fire, Water, Truth and Lies

Fire, Water, Truth and Lies

A Folk Tale from Ethiopia Fire, Water, Truth and Lies were friends, but Lies wasn’t too happy about this and he wanted to destroy the harmony. So one day he said, “Why don’t we go together and look for free places so that each of us will have a kingdom of his own? So...

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The Citizen of the World

The Citizen of the World

A Story from the Jewish Tradition The Holy One gathered the dust for the creation of the first man from the four corners of the earth, The Spirit of Life asked God why did He do this. The Holy One replied, "If a man should chance to come from the East to the West, or...

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Tough on the Fish

Tough on the Fish

A devout clergyman sought every opportunity to impress upon the mind of his son the fact that God takes care of all his creatures. Happening, one day, to see a crane wading in quest of food, the good man pointed out to his son the perfect adaptation of the crane to...

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The Great Fire and the Little Water

The Great Fire and the Little Water

Among the Aztec people of Mexico, it is said that a long time ago there was a great fire in the forests that covered our Earth. People and animals started to run, trying to escape from the fire. Our brother owl, Tecolotl, was running away also when he noticed a small...

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A Fable, by Mark Twain

A Fable, by Mark Twain

Once upon a time an artist who had painted a small and very beautiful picture placed it so that he could see it in the mirror. He said, "This doubles the distance and softens it, and it is twice as lovely as it was before." The animals out in the woods heard of this...

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Ten Jugs of Wine

Ten Jugs of Wine

A Tale from Japan Ten men decided to celebrate the New Year with a big crock of hot sake wine. Since none of them could provide for all, they each agreed to bring one jug of wine for the large heating bowl. On the way to his wine cellar, each one thought, “My wine is...

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A Precious Stone

A Precious Stone

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to...

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The Worried Mouse

The Worried Mouse

There was a mouse who was always in anguish because he was afraid of the cat. A magician had compassion of him and converted him into... a cat. But then he started to feel afraid of the dog. So the magician changed him into a dog. Then he started to feel afraid of the...

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The Feather Pillow

The Feather Pillow

A young man spread a false rumor about an old man who lived at the end of his street. Overcome with guilt, he worked up the courage to apologize. He humbly walked to the old man’s door and said he was sorry. The wise old man looked at him. He said that he would...

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