A Short Parable about a Teacher, His Disciples and Sharp Thorns

A teacher and his disciple were walking in the garden on a warm summer day. They relished the silence and the beautiful flowers and trees.

“Can you see, my friend, how this world of flowers is like ours?” the teacher asked his disciple.

“What are you talking about, Master? How can flowers be like humans?” The disciple exclaimed in surprise.

“Of course, they are, you’ve got to look more attentively. Flowers have their own characters, too.” The teacher led his disciple further into the garden.

The teacher and his disciple were treading a narrow path until they saw a wonderful rose, a thistle, and a raspberry bush.

“Look at these plants. They are different but they have one thing in common—they all have thorns. Many people also have thorns, i.e., envy, hypocrisy, anger, and bad thoughts. Look at the rose. It’s wonderful and pleasant to look at but you can’t touch it or caress its petals. It will sting your hand with its thorns. That’s what proud people are like: they regard themselves better than anyone else. They want other people to praise and honor them all the time but they always forget that they’ll wither like roses. What will remain of them?

Here is the thistle. It is an ugly-looking plant that is always willing to sting everyone with its thorns and catch onto their clothes. The same is true of people who like to gossip and to be envious. They are fond of libeling others and carrying the unfavorable gossip around. If you don’t want to listen to them, they’ll stick to you like thistle, and you’ll have a hard time getting rid of them. Everyone willing to preserve his or her mind and thoughts clean keeps away from people like these. Thistle will wither away, and what will remain?

Look at this raspberry bush. It has thorns, too, but it also grows juicy berries that taste so sweet! Likewise, there are people who know their weaknesses but try to give others whatever good that they have. They do it not because they want to please someone or to achieve honors but because they have plenty of goodness inside. Why not share it with others?”

“Master, your parable is so admirable!” the disciple said.

“Let’s have some raspberry jam, my dear,” the teacher suggested. They went to the teacher’s home and had tea together.

Be like raspberry people! Share your goodness and make enough raspberry jam for everyone.

By Sister Natallia (Bunde)
St. Elisabeth Convent