The Fox And The Stork
Foxes and storks don't socialize much, but once there was a fox who decided to invite a stork to dinner. The Fox cooked up a delicious bouillabaisse fish broth for the occasion, for both foxes and storks love fish. Now, as the soup cooked, it smelled so good to the Fox that he had a very selfish thought.
"This soup which I have made is going to be quite delicious. It will be wasted on the Stork, rather I should have the most of it! I will put the meal in a shallow dish." When the Stork sat at the Fox's table, and the dish was set before her, she only could dip the tip of her beak into supper. Of course, the Fox lapped up the rest easily. The Stork went home still hungry and determined to teach the Fox a lesson.
Several days later they chanced upon one another. "Dear, Stork!" said the Fox, "I am so sorry you did not like the meal which I prepared the other evening. You ate so little." "On the contrary," replied the Stork, "it was the best, save only my mother's recipe." "Your mother's fish stock, surpasses my own?" reacted the Fox with jealous interest. "Come and taste for yourself, tomorrow evening, please!" said the Stork inviting the Fox to dine with her the next day.
The Fox arrived on time, his mouth already watering in anticipation of a fish soup even greater than his own. But as the pair sat to consume the meal, the Fox realized that an impediment stood in the way of his enjoyment. For the Stork had served the food in a tall pitcher. It was no trouble for the Stork to thrust her long beak in the deep and narrow vessel, and enjoying her culinary efforts, she ate her fill.
But the Fox, could only lick the drippings off the side of the pitcher, which the Stork left as she drew out the succulent broth of fish from the vase. Declared the Fox as he licked his chops in appreciation, "Truly, a superior cuisine." The Fox left with his appetite unsatisfied, but wiser and with more insight than when he had arrived. "It is only fitting," he remarked as he trotted away, "What I received, is only as I gave."
Now, some would tell you, "turn about is fair play". But Jesus taught us the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you invited both the Fox and the Stork to your home for dinner, what would you do?
The Lion And The Mouse
One sunny afternoon, the Lion, tired after hunting and sleepy from having eaten his fill, lay down to nap under the shade of a large tree. A bit later, the Mouse, not looking where he was going, ran right up the Lion's nose and this awoke the Lion. The mighty feline roused with a grumbling ROAR, which startled the Mouse, who tumbled to the ground. Easily, the Lion caught the tiny rodent under his wide paw. But, before he could crush the Mouse in anger, for having been so rudely awaken, the Mouse pleaded for its life.
"Oh, please, please don't eat me, Your Majesty!" squeaked the Mouse in fright. The King of Beasts chuckled with mirth at the thought that such a small morsel might make a meal. "If you let me live, I pledge to you that I will help you in whatever way I may." At this the Lion roared with laughter and said, "Oh small and foolish one, I truly doubt that I shall ever need your services. But for the amusement you have provided, I shall spare your life." And the great cat lifted his paw. The Mouse scurried away as fast as he could, glad for being so graciously spared by the one so powerful, whom he had offended.
Some time after this had happened, it came to pass that the Lion was caught in a net trap. As he swung in the air, suspended from a strong tree limb, his legs helplessly entangled in the thick ropes of the net, the Lion let out a RROOAARR that shook the whole jungle. Even at quite a distance away, the Mouse could tell that his former benefactor, the Lion, was in trouble. He, who had pardoned the little creature's foolishness of running up the nose of a sleeping lion, was now in need. The Mouse, remembering his promise, made haste to see if he might be of help.
It was easy enough to find the Lion, the Mouse simply followed the roars and bellows which the Lion made in distress. Upon arriving at the scene of the Lion's capture, the Mouse instantly understood how he could release the snared animal from the net. Going over to where the heavy rope cable held the trap to the base of the tree, the Mouse quickly began to gnaw with his little sharp teeth. It took some time to do, but after a while the line was chewed through, and with a heavy thump the Lion fell to the ground. The Lion shook off the net and was free.
The moral of this fable is clear, that forgiveness may be repaid in ways we cannot foresee, yet could be of great benefit to us later. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul, "As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." Have you ever been repaid for a kindness you did for someone? Did you ever help someone who did something good for you?
The Shepherd Boy And The Wolf
The shepherd's son was now old enough to watch the sheep by himself. He felt very proud to be given such an important responsibility. "My son," said his father to him, "you will lead the sheep to pasture. Make sure they are near water, and do not let them stray. All this you know how to do from helping me. If you should see the a wolf though, do not try to fight the dangerous beast all by yourself, rather sound alarm and all the village will come to help." With these words the shepherd left his son in charge of the flock.
In the first weeks, the youngster was quite diligent in his duties. Each day he lead his flock to good pasture, with fresh running water and green grass to graze upon. He learned to recognize the rams, and ewes and each little lamb by their markings. He cared for them dearly. Indeed, their wool was his family's livelihood, without the sheep, it would be hard times for him and his parents.
It was lonely there up in the hills, with only the sound of the sheep bleating and his simple reed pipe, upon which he played tunes to amuse himself. One day, he saw something move in the distance. Was it the wolf? Was it only shadows? He couldn't be sure. Thinking caution better than chance, the boy raised the alarm. Wolf! He called. Wolf!! He cried out as he ran down the hill. WOLF!!! He shouted running into the village. Leading the whole village, which were armed with clubs and spears, to where he had left his sheep, all they found was the flock safe and no wolf around.
Still, the father praised his son, for having done as he had been instructed. Though there was no wolf, it was better to error on the side of caution. A few days passed and now the loneliness and boredom weighed heavy with the shepherd's boy. He thought back to the excitement his alarm had created. He had even been praised for his actions. Soon, a naughty temptation, to do it once again, entered his head! He did so.
Wolf! He called. Wolf!! He cried out as he ran down the hill. WOLF!!! He shouted running into the village. Again, they rush to his aid. Finding no threat they returned, but some wondered if the boy was too young and fearful to be given such an important job. Now, the boy overheard this grumbling, and thought resentfully that they were the ones too easily fooled. He resolved to show them for the fools he thought they were.
Once again, the very next day, he raised the alarm, Wolf! Wolf!! he cried even louder from the hill top near the village where he had taken the sheep that day. WOLF!!! It echoed in the valley, so all could hear, and they came. However, it had rained the evening before. No wolf tracks were found. "Why did you call for help?" the villagers asked. But all they received for an answer was the boy's laughter at them. Then, all took him for a lying prankster, who was not to be trusted or believed.
Now, several days later, as the boy guarded the flock, a wolf did come. Wolf! Wolf!! WOLF!!! But, no one came. The boy tried all by himself to fend off the fierce carnivore, and was bitten on the arm. He had to fall back and helplessly watch his precious lambs be slaughtered by the ravenous predator. The flock was scattered widely, and he knew that it was all his doing. When he returned, though he most sincerely regretted his behavior, the damage was already done.
Indeed, liars are not believed, even when they tell the truth. Still too, we may conclude if you create too many false alarms it may lead to a real disaster. Above all, and most certainly, honesty is the best policy! We read in the Gospel of John, "The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth." Did you ever tell a lie? Did that result in something bad happening? What? Why is it good to always tell the truth?
The Wind And The Sun
An argument between the Wind and the Sun arose as to which was mightier. Upon seeing a man going on his way along a road, they agreed that whichever could first get the man to take his coat off would win the dispute.