Inspiration: Folk Tales & Stories

The Sky is Falling!

The Sky is Falling!

Did you ever hear of Chicken Little, how she disturbed a whole neighborhood by her foolish alarm? Well, Chicken Little was running about in a gentleman's garden, where she had no business to be: she ran under a rose-bush, and a leaf fell on her tail; so she was...

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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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King Log and King Stork

King Log and King Stork

The Frogs were living as happy as could be in a marshy swamp that just suited them; they went splashing about caring for nobody and nobody troubling with them. But some of them thought that this was not right, that they should have a king and a proper constitution, so...

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The Dog and His Master’s Dinner

The Dog and His Master’s Dinner

A Fable adapted by Jean de La Fontaine Our eyes are not made proof against the fair, Nor hands against the touch of gold. Fidelity is sadly rare, And has been from the days of old. Well taught his appetite to check, And do full many a handy trick, A dog was trotting,...

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The Dog in the Manger

The Dog in the Manger

A Dog looking out for its afternoon nap jumped into the Manger of an Ox and lay there cosily upon the straw. But soon the Ox, returning from its afternoon work, came up to the Manger and wanted to eat some of the straw. The Dog in a rage, being awakened from its...

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The Quarrel of the Cats and Dogs

The Quarrel of the Cats and Dogs

by Jean de La Fontaine In mansion deck'd with frieze and column, Dwelt dogs and cats in multitudes; Decrees, promulged in manner solemn, Had pacified their ancient feuds. Their lord had so arranged their meals and labours, And threaten'd quarrels with the whip, That,...

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The Head and the Tail of the Serpent

The Head and the Tail of the Serpent

A Fable of Aesop adapted by Jean de la Fonatine Two parts the serpent has— Of men the enemies— The head and tail: the same Have won a mighty fame, Next to the cruel Fates;— So that, indeed, hence They once had great debates About precedence. The first had always gone...

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The Name of the Tree: a Story for Kwanzaa

The Name of the Tree: a Story for Kwanzaa

A Folk Tale from the Bantu People Once there was a terrible drought in the land of the animals. A kindly king came from over the mountain and planted a special tree. He told them that this tree would bear fruit all year round in any kind of weather. All they had to do...

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Inviting the Bears

Inviting the Bears

A Tlingit Folk Tale from Alaska A An old man living in Alaska had lost all of his friends and family, and he felt sad to think that he was left alone. He began to wonder whether he should leave and start a new life in another village. But he worried, “If I paddle away...

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The Man Who Grew Feathers

The Man Who Grew Feathers

A  Folk Tale from Ethiopia Once upon a time, there was a rich man who had two sons. When he died, he said in his will that three stables of cows (in fact, all his cows) should go to the first brother, and only one rooster should go to the second son. So as it was the...

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The Smell of Soup and the Sound of Money

The Smell of Soup and the Sound of Money

A beggar was given a piece of bread, but nothing to put on it. Hoping to get something to go with his bread, he went to a nearby inn and asked for a handout. The innkeeper turned him away with nothing, but the beggar sneaked into the kitchen where he saw a large pot...

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The Magical Mustard Seed

The Magical Mustard Seed

There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and asked, "What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?" Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her,...

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Truth or Lie? An Iranian Folk Tale

Truth or Lie? An Iranian Folk Tale

A long time ago a king complained to Nasrudin, “My people do not always tell me the truth. This bothers me.” Nasrudin answered. “It does not matter whether something is absolutely true or not. What matters is that something is true in relation to other things.” The...

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The Path and the Goal

The Path and the Goal

A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master: "If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen?" The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years." The student then said, "But what if I work very,...

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You Are Also Correct

You Are Also Correct

Two monks who came out of a lecture by their master went on a hot debate regarding what they heard during the lecture. Each of them insisted that his understanding was the correct one. To settle the dispute, they went to see the master for a judgement. After hearing...

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Abdullah the Miser

Abdullah the Miser

Abdullah was one of the richest men in town, but you could easily mistake him for a beggar. It was his theory that since there were so many people out to rob a rich man, it was safe to pretend to be poor. And so he did. But he really didn’t have to pretend. Stingy to...

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The Starfish

The Starfish

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for...

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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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