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Short moral stories

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  • #16
    The Eagle and the Fox

    An Eagle and a Fox formed an intimate friendship and decided to
    live near each other. The Eagle built her nest in the branches
    of a tall tree, while the Fox crept into the underwood and there
    produced her young. Not long after they had agreed upon this
    plan, the Eagle, being in want of provision for her young ones,
    swooped down while the Fox was out, seized upon one of the little
    cubs, and feasted herself and her brood. The Fox on her return,
    discovered what had happened, but was less grieved for the death
    of her young than for her inability to avenge them. A just
    retribution, however, quickly fell upon the Eagle. While
    hovering near an altar, on which some villagers were sacrificing
    a goat, she suddenly seized a piece of the flesh, and carried it,
    along with a burning cinder, to her nest. A strong breeze soon
    fanned the spark into a flame, and the eaglets, as yet unfledged
    and helpless, were roasted in their nest and dropped down dead at
    the bottom of the tree. There, in the sight of the Eagle, the
    Fox gobbled them up.

    by Aesops
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    • #17
      Who knows?

      One day the village teacher told Hodja that he had decided to travel across the land to seek additional knowledge. When the young man asked him what kind of people he should look for, Hodja recalled some wise words he had once heard in the bazaar:

      He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him.

      He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a child. Teach him.

      He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep. Awaken him.

      He who knows and knows that he knows is wise. Follow him.

      Hodja paused for a moment and then continued, " But you know how difficult it is my son, to be sure that the one who knows and knows that he knows ....really knows."

      A Nasruddin Hodja story
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      • #18
        The Sack

        A story from the middle east

        Mula came upon a frowning man walking along the road to town. "What's wrong?" he asked.
        The man held up a tattered bag and moaned, "All that I own in this wide world barely fills this miserable, wretched sack."
        "Too bad," said Mula, and with that, he snatched the bag from the man's hands and ran down the road with it.
        Having lost everything, the man burst into tears and, more miserable than before, continued walking. Meanwhile, Mula quickly ran around the bend and placed the man's sack in the middle of the road where he would have to come upon it.
        When the man saw his bag sitting in the road before him, he laughed with joy, and shouted, "My sack! I thought I'd lost you!"
        Watching through the bushes, Mula chuckled. "Well, that's one way to make someone happy!"

        [Author unknown (to me)]
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        • #19
          The Lonely Ember

          A Musalli of a certain Masjid, who previously had been attending salaah in congregation regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the Imam decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The Imam found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for the Imam's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The Imam made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.

          After some minutes, the Imam took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the one lone ember's flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and "dead as a doornail." Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

          Just before the Imam was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the Imam reached the door to leave, his host said, "May Allah reward you so much for your visit and especially for the " fiery" sermon. I shall be back for salaah in the Masjid at Fajr."

          [Author unknown (to me)]
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          • #20
            The Rose Within

            A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully and before it blossomed, he examined it.

            He saw the bud that would soon blossom, but noticed thorns upon the stem and he thought,

            "How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?"

            Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and just before it was ready to bloom... it died.

            [Author unknown (to me)]
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            • #21
              The red and blue coat

              A story from Africa

              Once there were two boys who were great friends, and they were determined to remain that way forever. When they grew up and got married, they built their houses facing one another. There was a small path that formed a border between their farms.
              One day, a trickster from the village decided to play a trick on them. He dressed himself in a two-color coat that was divided down the middle. So, one side of the coat was red, and the other side was blue.
              The trickster wore this coat and walked along the narrow path between the houses of the two friends. They were each working opposite each other in their fields. The trickster made enough noise as he passed them to make sure that each of them would look up and see him passing.
              At the end of the day, one friend said to the other, "Wasn't that a beautiful red coat that man was wearing today?"
              "No", the other replied. "It was a blue coat."
              "I saw the man clearly as he walked between us!" said the first, "His coat was red."
              "You are wrong!" said the other man, "I saw it too, and it was blue."
              "I know what I saw!" insisted the first man. "The coat was red!"
              "You don't know anything," the second man replied angrily. "It was blue!"
              They kept arguing about this over and over, insulted each other, and eventually, they began to beat each other and roll around on the ground.
              Just then, the trickster returned and faced the two men, who were punching and kicking each other and shouting, "Our friendship is OVER!"
              The trickster walked directly in front of them, and showed them his coat. He laughed at their silly fight. The two friends saw this his coat was red on one side and blue on the other.
              The two friends stopped fighting and screamed at the trickster saying, "We have lived side by side like brothers all our lives, and it is all your fault that we are fighting. You have started a war between us."
              "Don't blame me for the battle," replied the trickster. "I did not make you fight. Both of you are wrong, and both of you are right. Yes, what each one saw was true. You are fighting because you only looked at my coat from your own point of view."

              [Author unknown (to me)]
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              • #22
                A Dishonest Trader's Punishment

                There once lived a dishonest trader who bought forest wood from hard-working, honest woodcutters at very low prices. Then he sold it at great profit to the rich.

                An open-hearted man went to him. He asked if he was a snake that bit anyone it saw, or a wolf which brings disaster wherever it goes? He further told him off by telling him, "Even though you can deceive honest powerless woodcutters, you cannot deceive the Just All-Powerful Allah."

                The unfair trader became angry. He ignored the fair man's advice and continued his illegal earnings. He was the king of trade and nobody could compete with him.

                One night, the cinders from his kitchen fire landed in the heap of dry wood stored around the room. Within minutes the fire had swallowed his entire stock. From the heights of contentment and pride, he fell into the depths of sorrow and despair.

                One day the same good adviser heard him complaining to his friends about how such a fire could have reached his safe home. The good man interrupted,

                "From the fire which blazed from the hearts of the poor!"

                by Shaykh Saadi Shiraz (ra)
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                • #23

                  One day, there was a blind man sitting on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet and a sign that read:

                  "I am blind, please help".

                  A creative publicist was walking by him and stopped to observe. He saw that the blind man had only a few coins in his hat. He dropped in a few more coins and, without asking for permission, took the sign, turned it around and wrote another announcement. He placed the sign by the blind man's feet and left.

                  That afternoon the creative publicist returned to where the blind man sat and noticed that his hat was full of bills and coins. The blind man recognized his footsteps and asked if it was he who had re-written his sign and he wanted to know what he had written on it.
                  The publicist responded: "Nothing that was not true, I just wrote your sign out a little differently." He smiled and went on his way.

                  The new sign read: "Today is Spring and I cannot see it."

                  [Author unknown (to me)]
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                  • #24
                    You don't know

                    A story from Eastern Europe

                    A pious old man would each day cross the village green and go into the temple to pray. A soldier watched him do this day after day. One morning, in an ill temper, the soldier stopped the old man and said, "Where do you think you're going?"

                    "I don't know," replied the old man.

                    "What do you mean, you don't know?!" said the soldier. " Everyday I see you walk out of your house at this time, cross the village green and go into the temple to pray! Answer me! Where are you going?"

                    Again the old man replied, "I don't know."

                    With that, the soldier grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, took him to the jail and pushed him into a cell. Just as the soldier was turning the key, the old man looked at the jail and said, "See! You don't know!"

                    [Author unknown (to me)]
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                    • #25
                      The Thieves and the Cockerel

                      Some thieves broke into a house and found nothing but a Cockerel,
                      whom they stole, and got off as fast as they could. Upon
                      arriving at home they prepared to kill the Cockerel, who thus pleaded
                      for his life: "Pray spare me; I am very serviceable to men. I
                      wake them up in the night to their work." "That is the very
                      reason why we must the more kill you," they replied; "for when
                      you wake your neighbors, you entirely put an end to our

                      by Aesops

                      The safeguards of virtue are hateful to those with evil intentions.
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                      • #26
                        A Zen story from China

                        Is That So?

                        A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who the father was. At first resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter's accusation, he simply replied "Is that so?" When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. "Is that so?" Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.
                        For many months he took very good care of the child until the daughter
                        could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened. "Is that so?" Hakuin said as he handed them the child.

                        [Author unknown (to me)]
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                        • #27

                          One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

                          Instead of a meal, he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry and so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"

                          "You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness." He said, "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strengthened also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

                          Years later, that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

                          Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, he went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor's gown, he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day, he gave special attention to the case.

                          After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested from the business office to pass the final billing to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words:

                          "PAID IN FULL WITH ONE GLASS OF MILK....

                          Dr. Howard Kelly."

                          Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that Your love is shed abroad through human hearts and hands."
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                          • #28
                            The Beggar

                            A beggar went to a door, asking for something to be given to him.
                            The owner answered, and said: "I am sorry, but there is nobody in."
                            "I don't want anybody," said the beggar, "I want food."

                            by Hakim Jami
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                            • #29
                              The Miser and the Angel of Death

                              A miser had accumulated, by effort, trade and lending, three hundred thousand dinars. He had lands and buildings, and all kinds of wealth.He then decided that he would spend a year in enjoyment, living comfortably, and then decide as to what his future should be. But, almost as soon as he had stopped amassing money, the Angel of Death appeared before him, to take his life away.The miser tried, by every argument which he could muster, to dissuade the Angel, who seemed, however, adamant.
                              Then the man said:
                              'Grant me but three more days, and I will give you one third of my possessions.'

                              The Angel refused, and pulled again at the miser's life, tugging to take it away.
                              Then the man said:

                              'If you will only allow me two more days on earth, I will give you two hundred thousand dinars from my store.

                              'But the Angel would not listen to him. And the Angel even refused to give the man a solitary extra day for all his three hundred thousand pieces.
                              Then the miser said:
                              'Please, then, give me just time enough to write one little thing down.'This time the Angel allowed him this single concession, and the man wrote, with his own blood:

                              'Man, make use of your life. I could buy not one hour for three hundred thousand dinars. Make sure that you realize the value of your time.'

                              by Shaykh Farauddin Attar (ra)
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                              • #30
                                The Stag at the Pool

                                A stag overpowered by heat came to a spring to drink. Seeing his
                                own shadow reflected in the water, he greatly admired the size
                                and variety of his horns, but felt angry with himself for having
                                such slender and weak feet. While he was thus contemplating
                                himself, a Lion appeared at the pool and crouched to spring upon
                                him. The Stag immediately took to flight, and exerting his
                                utmost speed, as long as the plain was smooth and open kept
                                himself easily at a safe distance from the Lion. But entering a
                                wood he became entangled by his horns, and the Lion quickly came
                                up to him and caught him. When too late, he thus reproached
                                himself: "Woe is me! How I have deceived myself! These feet which
                                would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers
                                which have proved my destruction."

                                By Aesops

                                What is most truly valuable is often underrated.
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