This book is a collection of the best fables and philosophical stories from the entire world. The author is offering to his reader a series of short stories, vividly written and metaphorically complex in their double meaning.
Descriptions of everyday situations and interpersonal relationships are easily understood by everyone and therapeutic. Regardless of the place we live in this World, we all have similar worries, thoughts, and actions which obey the same laws of creation. By comparing and applying these stories to his own personal situation, the reader gets an opportunity to look at the issue from a different perspective and perhaps find his own solution.
In addition, this book will be beneficial to the German or Russian languages learners. The stories are synchronically translated from Russian to German, and offer a wonderful opportunity to learn the structure, spelling, and melody of this language.
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The Choice is Up to You
“It’s impossible!” says Intellect.
“It’s insane!” notes Experience.
“It’s futile!” the Ego interrupts.
“Try it...” whispers the Dream.
Counting on God...
A man became disappointed with his attempts to get rich and asked God to help him win a car in the lottery.
“How can I help you?” God asked him. “You’ve often said that you don’t believe in me.”
The man swore that from now on he would go to church regularly, believe more zealously, and follow religious rituals.
A year passed and also a second and the now strict follower was conscientiously doing all that he said he would. However, he still didn’t win the car, whereupon he again asked God, “Dear God! I’ve kept my word and have done all that I promised. For two years I’ve gone to church every day and fasted, and You? I still haven’t won that car.”
“For a long time now, I’ve been happy to have been able to help you, my son,” God responded, “but you should do something in that regard, too. For example, it wouldn’t hurt for you to at least buy a lottery ticket!”
Once upon a time an old man said to his grandson the wise words: “In every man there is a conflict that is very similar to a fight between two wolves. One wolf represents evil: envy, jealousy, self-pity, selfishness, scheming, and lying. The other wolf represents good: friendship, love, hope, truth, kindness, and sincerity.”
The grandson was very touched by the words of his grandfather, thought them over and then asked, “And which wolf wins in the end?”
The old man smiled and answered, “The wolf that you nourish will win.
A king went into his garden to see why his flowers were withering and his bushes and trees dying. The oak said, “I’m dying because I can’t be as tall as the pine.” From the pine, the king discovered that it was shriveling up because magnificent grapes didn’t grow on it, like they did on the grapevine. And the grapevine died, because it couldn’t bloom like the rose.
Then the king found the pansy, fresh and blooming as always. In answer to his question, the monarch received this answer from the flower: “For me it is self-evident that when you planted me you specifically wanted a pansy. Had you wanted an oak or a grapevine in this location, you would have planted one. Therefore, I thought that I should be nothing other than myself. And I’m doing my best to grow accordingly.”
We are here because the world needs us the way we are. Were it otherwise, somebody else would be here.
Why should you become Buddha? If God had wanted a Buddha, then he could have created as many Buddhas as he wanted. However, he has made neither other Buddhas nor other Christs. Instead of them, he made you. Think about it. Their work is already done. They’ve bestowed their grace upon the world. Now it’s your turn.
Look at yourself. You can only be yourself. It is not necessary that you become someone else. You can enjoy it and blossom, or shrivel up – that you decide for yourself.
Emperor Akbar drew a line on the ground and asked his courtiers, who were always in competition with each other, “Which one of you can make this line shorter without touching it?”
Most of the ministers immediately started trying all kinds of things without giving it much thought. His courtier, Birbal, however, thought for a little while and then took out a piece of chalk. He drew a second, longer line next to the first one, which automatically made the emperor’s line appear shorter.
“Good,” praised Emperor Akbar, “in a similar manner one can win without having to take advantage of others.”
A peasant, continually dissatisfied with his life, asked God, “Why does everyone have to bear a cross? Can’t you give me a lighter cross? I’m worn out from my day-to-day troubles!”
The following night he had a dream in which he saw a long line of people plodding slowly along, each person carrying his cross. Among them he saw himself. Wearied by the march, it appeared to him that his cross was longer than the others, whereupon he took the cross from his shoulder and cut off a piece. Now walking was a lot easier for him and he soon arrived at the place where everyone was gathering.
But what did he see there? In front of him lay a deep chasm on the other side of which was the Land of Eternal Happiness. But how to get over there? Nowhere to be found was a bridge or any other means of crossing. Then he saw that the others were easily getting over to the other side. They were taking their crosses from their shoulders, laying them over the chasm and going across, just like crossing a bridge.
He tried to lay his cross over the chasm but it was too short. The man wept bitterly and cried, “Oh, had I only known!”
When he awoke, he never again pled to God to make his cross lighter.
An Hour of Your Time
One day the manager of an office came home very late from work and was, as usual, very tired. He saw how his five-year-old son was waiting for him at the door.
“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
“Of course,” said the father, “what is it?”
The boy looked at him and asked, “How much do you earn per hour?”
“That’s none of your business,” protested the father. “And why do you want to know anyway?”
His son responded, “I simply want to know. Please, daddy, tell me.”
“Okay,” he said, “I make $50 an hour.”
His son then gave him a very serious look and asked, “Can you loan me $30?”
The father then became angry and yelled at his son, “You simply want to buy another useless toy. I work all day long, come home dead tired, and you can only think of yourself. Now, go to bed!”
The little boy went to room dejected and closed the door behind him.
A little while later his father calmed down and began to think. Maybe he really does need to buy something important. He has never asked me for money before.
As the father went into his son’s room, the boy was already in bed.
“Are you asleep?” asked the father.
“No,” the boy responded, “I’m just lying down.”
“I was a little rough on you today,” said the father apologetically. “I had a very hard day and I simply blew up at you. I’m sorry. Here’s the money you wanted.”
The boy took the money. “Oh, thank you, daddy!” He then lifted up his pillow and pulled out several crumpled up bills. He put that together with the money he had just borrowed, counted it carefully, and then handed it to his father.
“Here, daddy,” said the boy, “it’s exactly $50. I’d like to buy an hour of your time. Please come home earlier from work tomorrow so we can have dinner together.”
Two monks living in celibacy were out walking. They went along a small brook and came upon a beautiful woman who was trying to reach the other side of the water. The first monk was enthralled by the woman’s beauty. He decided not to help her, unable to simply set aside the vows by which he lived.
The second monk gave the situation little thought, reached out his hand to the woman and led her safely through the brook to the other side.
The first monk was shocked by the behavior of his companion but decided not to say anything.
When they were back home, the second monk could no longer resist and said, “You know, of course, that we’re not even allowed to look at women. How could you go so far as to touch one and guide her across the stream?”
To this, his brother responded, “I left the woman standing on the other shore. You’re the one who’s still thinking about her.”
Going my way
There once traveled a man with his son and a donkey in the afternoon heat through the dusty streets of a city. The father sat on the donkey as his son led it by the reins. As she walked by, an old woman said, “The poor boy! He’s running along on his little legs, almost out of energy, while his lazy father sits there on the donkey showing not even the slightest concern.”
The man heard these words and took them to heart. After they had turned the next corner, he climbed down and told his son to sit on the donkey. A few minutes went by and they came across a man. “How rude!” he exclaimed contemptuously. “The boy sits there riding along on the donkey like a king while his poor old father has to walk.”
These words made the boy very sad so he asked his father to sit behind him on the donkey. They rode this way for awhile until they heard a veiled woman utter raspily, “Oh, my God! I have never seen the likes of this! That is the most blatant form of animal cruelty. The poor donkey’s back is bent to the point of breaking while these two lazy good-for-nothings sit there as if he were a sofa!”
Without saying a word, father and son dismounted from the donkey, ashamed for what they had done. Hardly had they gone a few more steps when the next passerby began laughing at them. “Of what use is a donkey that’s not even capable of carrying you?”
The father gave the donkey a handful of straw and put his hand on his son’s shoulder. “No matter what we do, it seems that there’s always someone who doesn’t like it. In the future, I think it would be best to simply do what we think is right.”
Once upon a time there were two sailors on a voyage around the world in search of happiness. They came to an island where the tribal leader had two daughters. The older daughter was very beautiful, the younger just the opposite.
The one sailor said to his friend, “I’ve found happiness. I’m going to stay here and marry the chief’s daughter?”
“Yes,” said his friend, “you’re right, the older daughter is really quite lovely. You’ve made the correct decision. Marry her.”
“You don’t appear to have understood me correctly. I’m going to marry the younger one.”
This made his friend really confused. “What? Have you lost your mind? She has nowhere near the qualities of the older one.”
The other sailor replied, “I’ve made my decision. I’m marrying the younger girl.”
His friend continued on his voyage in order to find his happiness, too, while the future groom went about making his offer of marriage. It is important to note that, in this tribe, it was the custom to exchange cows for the bride. A superior bride cost 10 cows. The sailor brought the cows to the chief and stated, “I’d like to marry your daughter, here are 10 cows.”
“You have made a fine choice. My older daughter is pretty and smart. She is worth 10 cows.”
“No,” replied the sailor. “You don’t understand. I want to marry your younger daughter.”
“You must be kidding. The younger one is not nearly as good as her sister. She is neither as smart nor as beautiful,” answered the father.
The sailor remained steadfast. “I would like to marry the younger one.”
The leader spoke, “Okay, fine, but I am an honest man and know that she is not worth 10 cows. She is worth at most three cows.”
Once again the sailor remained adamant. “I will pay 10 cows.” And with that he married the younger of the tribal leader’s daughters.
Several years later, his friend who had traveled on decided to pay the sailor a visit to see how things were going. As he walked up on the beach, he came upon an unbelievably beautiful woman. He asked her if she knew where he could find his friend. The woman pointed out the way to him.
As he arrived at the sailor’s home, he found him sitting in the house, surrounded by children. The friend asked, “So, how’s it going?”
“I’m reallyhappy,” answered the sailor.
Suddenly, the door opened and in walked the vision of loveliness that the man had seen on the beach, whereupon the sailor said, “May I introduce to you my wife?”
The friend could hardly believe his eyes. “What? Have you remarried?”
“No,” smiled the sailor, “she is the same woman.”
His friend still couldn’t comprehend it. “But how is it that she has changed so much?”
“Well, why don’t you ask her yourself?”
Still in shock, the friend asked the woman, “Pardon my tactlessness but as I recall, previously you, well...um...let’s just say...weren’t so good looking. What happened?”
To this the woman replied, “All of a sudden I realized I was worth 10 cows!”