Seven Parables and Stories for the Week: Issue 29

The World Around Us

There was a dried up tree not far from the roadside.
A thief was walking past the tree at night. He saw the silhouette from afar and thought that it was a policeman standing by the road. The thief was terrified and ran away.
A lover was walking past the tree in the evening. He noticed the delicate silhouette and thought that it was his girlfriend waiting for him. His heart started pounding faster. He smiled and increased his pace.
A woman with her child was walking past the tree during the day. The toddler who had heard too many dreadful tales, took the tree for an evil giant and burst out crying.
However, the tree remained the same all along!
The world around us is the reflection of ourselves. It depends on how we see it!

The Unfathomable

A man was crossing the desert with his family. They were fatigued by thirst when they saw a well at a distance and ran towards it. The inner voice warned the man that the water in that well was poisoned. He preferred to ignore that warning and gave that water to his wife and kids. When he took the last ladle from the well and was just about to drink it, he saw that his wife and children were dying in agony. He prayed to God:
– O Lord rescue my family, save my children and my wife! The thirst took the better of me, and I ignored your warning.
– I will return your family back to life, – the Lord responded, – if you answer one question. What is the most unfathomable thing humans do?
The traveler spent a long time thinking, afraid to come up with a wrong answer. Finally, he said:
– The most unfathomable thing that humans do is that they see other people dying throughout their entire lifetimes but still go on living as if they will never die.
Upon hearing this, God brought the man’s family back to life.

Visited by God

In a village, there was a cobbler who led a righteous life and had a strong faith. Unfortunately, the cobbler fell ill on the eve of a great church holiday. He was very sad at the thought that he would not make it to the church. Suddenly, he had a dream in which a quiet and meek voice told him, “If you can’t come to Me, I will visit you on this day.”
The cobbler got up and was very happy, “Will the Lord himself come to me?” he was thinking. He spent the whole morning tidying up his house and cooking delicious food. He did whatever he could to greet the long-awaited divine Guest. While he was doing the chores, he looked out of his window and saw a weeping boy. The cobbler called the boy and asked him:
– Why are you crying?
– I’ve torn my boots and I have nothing to wear. My family is poor and we can’t afford new boots.
The cobbler reassured the boy:
– Give me your boots, I’ll mend them.
After a while, the cobbler handed the mended boots to the boy, who was beaming with joy. The boy thanked the cobbler and said goodbye. The man went on preparing for the Divine visitation.
At the sunset, a poor woman came to the cobbler and said:
– I’m so sorry! I asked you to mend my winter shoes but I don’t have money to pay for it. At the same time, I can’t just go without them because it’s getting cold outside…
The cobbler smiled and replied:
– Your winter shoes are ready. Wear them and spare them. – He gave the shoes to the woman and didn’t ask her for anything in exchange.
Night fell upon the village. The cobbler had done all his work. He was sitting by a window and waiting for the heavenly Guest. The cobbler wanted to sleep. He was bored of waiting in vain, so he decided to go to bed. All of a sudden, someone knocked at his door.
The cobbler opened the door and saw a traveler. The traveler said:
– Please let me stay in your house overnight. I have been walking all day long. I’m tired and chilly but no one lets me in for the night…
The cobbler took pity on the stranger and let him in. He allowed him to sleep on his own bed and made a bed for himself on the floor. He was almost asleep when he thought to himself, “I must be unworthy of the Guest because He didn’t come to me today… He must have deemed me unworthy of spending this great holiday with him.” The cobbler finally fell asleep thinking these sad thoughts.
He heard the quiet voice again in his dream. The voice told him:
– I’ve visited you three times today, and I’ve enjoyed the way you greeted me every time.

Loving Heart

A college student from a poor background fell in love with a rich girl. She invited him to her 20th birthday celebration.
The girl's parents had invited many affluent friends of theirs to the birthday party of their only daughter. The guests came with expensive gifts, as if competing who would give the girl a better present. What could a poor student give but for his loving heart? It isn't valued high enough nowadays. A loving heart is not a piece of jewellery — you can't put it in a posh case — and not bank notes that you can put in an envelope.
What could the student do? He spent a long time thinking about it and finally came up with a solution. He went to a boutique and asked:
– Do you have a broken vase? I'd like to buy it if I may.
– Yes, you can have it, sir.
– How much does it cost?
It was cheap: what else would one expect? The student had it wrapped and left the shop with a big bundle, happy and excited. When it was time for the guests to give their presents to the girl, the student approached her and handed his bundle over to her, with words of appreciation. Then he intentionally made a clumsy move and the bundle fell to the floor.
The guests were shocked. The sad girl took the bundle from the floor and started unwrapping it. Oh! The clerk had wrapped each piece of the broken vase separately. The guests were furious at the evident lie and the young man had to run away because he was ashamed. However, the pure soul of the girl saw these broken pieces as more precious than all other gifts. She could see the man’s loving heart in them.
Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways. (Jer.2:33)

Thus The Two Candles Spoke

– Poor you, – an unlit candle told her lit friend.– Your time is short. You keep burning and soon you’ll burn down. I’m much luckier: I don’t burn and therefore I don’t melt. I will survive for a very long time, while your days are numbered.
The burning candle replied:
– I don’t feel pity that I am burning. My life is amazing and meaningful. Sure, my wax melts down but many other candles catch fire from me, and my fire is not diminished by them in any way. When my wax and my wickle perish, my fire, which is a candle’s soul, will reunite with the universal fire, which it had previously been a part of, and I will get back to my magnificent and splendid house of fire. While I’m still here, I drive the darkness of the night away; I make homes brighter and cozier; I make children happy when I shine on a Christmas tree; I burn contagious agents away from a sick person’s bed; I am a symbol of a prayerful effort when they light me up in front of sacred images. Isn’t my short life brilliant? I pity you, o my unlit sister. Your fate is miserable. Why do you exist? You haven’t fulfilled your destiny; and where is your soul, your fire? Yes, you will remain intact for many years but who needs you, what are you worth? Indeed, it is better to burn than to sleep because burning is life and sleeping is death. You pity me because I will soon burn down and cease to exist but you have never begun to exist in the first place, and you will die without having existed.

А City of Chains

There was a merchant who went to a distant land and came to a strange town where all inhabitants wore chains. The merchant thought to himself, “What if they make me wear chains, too? What do I do?” All of a sudden, several guards appeared in front of him and, seeing that he was free, handcuffed him and put chains around his ankles immediately. Unable to return home, the merchant was dismayed. He started asking the unlucky residents of the town why they wore chains, and they replied that that was a long tradition in their town. The merchant asked, “Are all residents of the town doomed to wear chains all their lives?” The people replied, “It is believed that an old man comes to the town once in a while. He is free and does not wear chains. He is the only person who knows how to get rid of them. He appears so seldom that many people doubt that this story is true.” “I see no way out,” the merchant thought, “except waiting for that old man and learning how to break free.”

Many years later, the merchant was old and white-haired. One day he suddenly met an old man freely walking down the street without chains or handcuffs.
— Sir, — the poor prisoner exclaimed, — help me to get free from these chains please.
— My son, — the old man advised, — just say to yourself, “I want the guards to release me,” and you’ll be free.
The merchant thought that it was a bad and bitter joke but he decided to give it a try and uttered these words. Guards immediately appeared to him and released him.
The merchant hurried away from that strange town in surprise. When he left its gates, he saw the same old man again.
— Please tell me sir, — the merchant urged, — what is the secret of this strange town?
— This town is a special place where people become prisoners and get released just by thinking about it. You got saved because you believed me. Those who don’t believe me, remain in this town forever, and I cannot help them anymore.
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32).

I’m Real!

A family came to a cafe for a lunch. The waitress took the adults’ orders and then turned to a seven-year-old boy.
– What would you like to order?
The boy looked at his mother and father and said shyly:
– I’d like some French fries...
Hardly did the waitress write down his order than his mother intervened:
– No French fries! Bring him a steak with mashed potatoes and carrots.
The waitress ignored her words.
– Would you like your French fries with sauce or with ketchup? – she asked the boy.
– With ketchup, please.
– Your order will be ready in a minute, – the waitress said and left for the kitchen.
All were silent. Finally, the boy looked at his parents and said:
– You know what? She thinks I’m real!

Translated from: azbyka.ru/days