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Seven Parables and Stories for the Week: Issue 19


An elder once said:
– Anyone thinking that he can understand God’s mysteries through scientific theories is like a fool who wants to see the paradise through a telescope. This is precisely why one cannot make the Gospel comply to the common sense: the common sense is grounded in the search of profit, whereas the Gospel is grounded in love.


There was a wise old man who came to live in a village. He loved children and spent a lot of time with them. He also liked giving them presents but he would only present them with fragile things. No matter how hard the children tried to be careful, their new toys would break often. The children would be upset and cry. Some time later, the wise man would give them new toys, which were even more fragile.

The children’s parents could not bear it any longer, so they came to the wise man and asked him:
— You are wise and benevolent, but why do you give our children such fragile gifts? They try their best but the toys still break, and the children start crying. Your toys are so wonderful that it’s simply impossible not to play with them.

The elder replied:
— In just a few years someone will give them his heart. Perhaps, it will teach them to treat this precious gift just a little bit more carefully.


There were two severely ill patients in one hospital ward. One of them lay near the window, and the other lay near the door.

— What do you see in the window? — the patient who lay near the door asked.
— Oh, — the first patient exclaimed in excitement, — I can see the sky and clouds that resemble animals, a lake, and a distant forest.

The man who lay at the window would tell his neighbor about the things that were going on outside. He saw a boat, fishermen with lots of fish, children playing on the shore, young lovers who held one another’s hand and could not take their eyes off one another.

While he was looking at all those wonderful things, his neighbor was overcome by resentment. “It’s unfair,” he was thinking. “What did he do to deserve to lie near the window? Why do I have to look at the door covered with flaky paint, while he enjoys the perfect view out of the window?”

One day, the man who lay by the window was coughing so hard that he started to choke. He tried to push the button and call the nurse but he couldn’t because he was breathless. His neighbor was looking at him. He could easily push his own button but he chose not to.

After a while, the first patient stopped coughing and died.

When he was taken away, his neighbor asked the nurse to lay him near the window. The nurse did as he requested: she made his bed and helped him to lie comfortably by the window. When she was about to leave, the man screamed out:
— Impossible! This window overlooks a gray brick wall! The man who has just died used to tell me that he saw a forest, a lake, clouds, and people… How could he see all those things?
The nurse smiled sadly:
— He couldn’t see anything at all: your late neighbor was blind.


There was an old man who had three sons. They would quarrel all the time. The old man wanted his three sons to live peacefully after his death. He decided to teach them a lesson. He called his three sons and asked them to break a broom. The oldest son tried to break it but he couldn’t, no matter how hard he tried. The other two brothers did not succeed, either. Then the old man took the broom apart and asked each of the sons to break some thin twigs. Of course, they could easily do it.

Then the father said:
— Life’s no different. If you stick together, no one will break you but if you are separate, defeating you will be as easy as breaking up a couple of thin twigs.

A Frenchman was traveling across the Sahara desert accompanied by an Arab Christian. The Arab would kneel down on hot sand and call upon God every day.

One evening, the unbelieving Frenchman asked the Arab:
— How do you know there is a God?
The Arab paused and then responded:
— How do I know that God exists? Why do you think that it was a camel and not a man who walked past our tent last night?
— Well, you can tell it by the footprints, — the unbelieving Frenchman was surprised.
The Arab pointed at the sun, which spread its rays over the entire horizon, and said:
— It doesn’t look like man’s footprints.


There was a monk who bought a young and ill-trained mule. He tied it to a tree and left it to graze on a meadow. When he returned, he found out that the mule got loose. The monk chased the mule but the mule ran away so quickly that the monk could not catch him. The monk was furious. He started shouting at the mule but it didn’t help. Finally, he was so tired that he gave up, thinking, “Why do I chase the mule? Why not the other way around?”

He went home, took some bread with salt, sat in the refectory, and started eating the bread slowly…

He heard crackling in the bushes. The mule came closer—and closer—and closer. He was moving his ears and smelling the air. Finally, the mule came very close and neighed quietly, asking for a piece of bread. The monk could not help laughing. “Oh you, a dum-dum. Okay, you can have the bread!” He bridled the mule and went back to his field. That was how they got to know one another…

If you want to get rid of absent-mindedness, you should teach your mind to follow the rules that will attract your mind to your heart, like a good owner baits a horse by showing it a piece of bread with salt.


If Pumpkins Grew On Oak Trees

There was a peasant who went to the woods to cut some timber. After doing some work, he was tired, so he lay down to rest under a big oak tree. He saw its branches and lots of big acorns hanging on them. The man thought, “If only pumpkins grew on oak trees…” He closed his eyes. An acorn fell down and hit him on his lips. The man blurted out, “I admit I was wrong. God is wiser than me, and He has made it well that there are acorns on the oak tree and not pumpkins. If I had been hit by a pumpkin, I’d have died.”

We often condemn God’s creations instead of relying on God’s will. He who relies on God’s will is always at peace, whilst the person who tries to grasp everything with his own mind, is unsophisticated in spiritual life. You have to submit yourself to God’s will if you want to comprehend it. The Lord will instruct you through his grace, and your life will become easier. Regardless of whether such a man is sick or poor, he will be happy because both his soul and his mind is healthy, and he can see God with his mind and love God with his humble spirit, and forget the world because of that love; and even if he remembers the world, God’s love urges him to pray and shed tears for the world.

That is the pleasant way of the Lord for our spirit. (Saint Silouan the Athonite)

Translated from: https://azbyka.ru/days/


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