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Parable of the Day: How to Understand What People Are around You


Once upon a time, there was an old man sitting by an oasis near the gates of a Middle Eastern city. A young traveler approached him and asked, “I’ve never been to this place. What kinds of people live in this city?”

The man responded with a question, “What kinds of people were in the place that you left?” “They were selfish and cruel. In fact, that was exactly why I left that town with a sigh of relief.” “You’re going to meet the same kind of people here,” the old man replied.

Some time later another traveler came to the same place and asked the same question, “I’m new to this city. What kinds of people live here?”

The old man responded with the same question, “Sonny, tell me please what people were like in the town where you come from?” “Oh, they were kind, hospitable, and noble-spirited. I’ve left behind many good friends, which was tough.” “You’ll find some good friends here, too,” the old man assured him.

A merchant was standing nearby and giving his camels some water to drink. He heard both dialogs. As soon as the second man left, he confronted the old man, “Why did you give two completely opposite answers to one and the same question?”

The old man explained, “My son, each person carries his world in his own heart. A person who haven’t happened to find anything in his home country, will not find anything here. A person who used to have friends in his home town, will also find faithful and loyal friends. You see, people tend to act according to what we find in them.”


Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds

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