Seven Parables and Stories for the Week: Issue 27

Poison of Rage
A gloomy neighbor visited an elder.
– I suffer from insomnia, – he complained. – That’s because the small birds out there keep chirping all night long!
– You’re the reason of your own suffering, – the elder replied. – You poison all your nights with rage towards the innocent little birds. Singing is their life! If you had chosen not to be mad at them but to enjoy listening to their songs, their chirping would become your best lullaby!
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:11)


The Nature of a Wolf
There was a forest where all animals were very afraid of the terrible wolf. They would run away as soon as they heard him coming.
The wolf gathered all the community of the forest one day.
– I don’t want our forest to be ruled by fear. Don’t look at me as if I were an insatiable beast and don’t run away from me. I won’t eat strong animals. I’ll be fine with sick and weak ones, – the wolf promised. – Bring them to me, and I won’t touch the rest!
The animals agreed. They brought weak and ill animals to the wolf but he ate the strong animals, too!
– Why do you eat the strong animals? You promised not to, didn’t you?
– Why are your “strong” animals weak, too? It’s none of my business, – the wolf retorted.
You mustn’t negotiate with the Satan. He will fool you anyway.
… the devil… was a murderer from the
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When
he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of
it. (John 8:44)
The Soft Word of God and the Hard Heart
When some monks asked Abba Poemen about heart numbness, he gave them the following example:
– Water is soft but a rock is hard; however, if there is a water pipe above the rock, water drops leave a trail in the rock little by little. Similarly, God’s Word is soft, and our hearts are hard; however, if one hears the Word of God often, his heart opens up to accept the fear of God..
The Skete Paterikon


Can you see what an insane word does? I’ll not leave you without an example of a good word, either. A faint-hearted soldier was sent on a scouting mission during a war. Everyone knew that he was fearful and they laughed at him when they learned where the sergeant was sending him. There was only one soldier who didn’t laugh. He approached his comrade with words of support. The
faint-hearted soldier said, “I’ll die, the enemy is near!” — “Don’t be afraid, brother, God is nearer,” the good soldier said in response. These words were like a large bell that tolled in the faint-hearted soldier’s soul. This bell kept ringing till the end of the war. In the end, the timid and fearful soldier returned home wearing many medals and military decorations for his courage. This is how just a single kind word made all the difference: “Don’t be afraid:
God is nearer.”
Saint Nikolaj of Serbia. Missionary Letters.
Letter 70, to a humble man who confessed that he had sinned in his words


The King and His Wise Advisor
There was a mighty king who had a wise advisor. He always took his advisor wherever he went.
One day, the king went hunting and had an awful misfortune: he lost one finger on his hand while shooting. He was furious.
– Sire, everything happens for a reason! – the advisor tried to calm the king down.
However, the king was even more furious upon hearing these words. He ordered to throw the advisor in jail and give him only water.
Some time later, the king decided to go hunting again. This time, he set forth to distant parts of the country where there were many wild animals, as rumors had it.
Unluckily, there were violent savages in those lands, too. The savages attacked the king and his escort. They were pagans and practised bloody sacrifices.
The savages grabbed the king and dragged him to the chief priest. He was thrilled:
– Now we’ll appease gods at last!
When the priest laid the king on the sacrificial table and prepared to stab him with a knife, he suddenly noticed that there was one finger missing on the poor king’s hand. He was outraged.
– Gods deserve only the best! – he yelled at his fellow tribesmen. – You’ve brought that poor thing to me instead! Look, he has a finger missing!
They threw the king back to the wild forest. Hardly did he find his way back to his capital when he ran to the wise advisor.
– You were right! I lost one finger but I was left alive! – the king was saying and weeping. – You’ve had to go through so much pain, too. You’ve had to spend so much time in jail.
– Everything that happens is good, – the advisor responded. – If I hadn’t been in jail, I would definitely have gone hunting with you, with unpredictable results.


Two little sisters heard the biblical account about the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and told their father:
— Daddy, if Lena and I had been in the paradise, we would have never eaten the forbidden fruit because God had prohibited to touch it. Right, Dad?
— You’re right, — the father smiled and turned off the light in the daughters’ bedroom.
The father got up very early the following morning. He caught a sparrow in the backyard and put it into a pot. He woke the girls up and showed them the pot that he had put on the windowsill of an open kitchen window. The father said:
— Please don’t open the pot until I get back home from work. When I’m back, I’ll show you what’s inside. If you’re obedient, I’ll buy you a new toy.
The father left for work, and the children stayed home alone. They were doing their best to distract themselves from the little pot in the kitchen but they were so excited and curious that at the end, Masha, the older sister, persuaded Lena, the younger sister who was afraid that the father would be angry with them, to look into the pot.
— We’ll peek inside and close the cover, — she said. — Dad won’t even know.
As soon as Lena opened the pot, the sparrow flew out of the window. The girls were scared and shut the empty pot quickly.
When the father returned in the evening, he saw that the pot was empty and said:
— Well, my little Eves, you couldn’t help peeking inside the pot, could you? That was how Eve couldn’t help tasting the fruit of knowledge of good and evil.
— Dad, what was that tree like and why was it forbidden to eat its fruit? — Masha asked.
— It was just a regular tree with edible fruit but the first people broke the commandment of the Lord and chose evil over good because all evil starts with disobedience, while all good starts from obedience. God would have taught Adam and Eve a lot of good things, if they had been obedient. This sparrow was your tree of knowledge of good and evil today, and you didn’t obey me, either. You’ve failed the Adam and Eve’s temptation.
Priest and Schemamonk John from Greece told me a parable about a family who lived on a desert island in the middle of an ocean after having been shipwrecked. All family members ate roots and grass and lived in a cave. The children did not remember when and how they got to the island. They forgot their native land and did not know what bread, milk, or fruit was. One day, a boat with four natives landed at the island. The shipwrecked were very happy and decided to leave the island immediately. However, the boat was so small that it could not transport the entire family. That was why the father of the family left the island first. The mother and the children were crying as they bade farewell to their beloved father.
The father comforted his family by saying, “Don’t cry. Life’s better in our native country, and we’ll meet again soon.”
Soon, the boat returned and took the mother away. The children were crying again.
– Don’t cry, my children, – the mother said, – we’ll meet in the better land soon.
Finally, the boat came for the kids. When the last dwellers of the island found themselves in the boundless sea, they were scared of their dark-skinned helpers all the way. Imagine how happy they were when they met their parents on the shore!
“Dear children, – their father told them, – our relocation from the desert island to the fertile land has a profound meaning: we all have to face a passage from this world into the better world. Our earth is like an island. The country we’re in slightly resembles the Heaven. The tumultuous passage from the island to this land is like death. The boat is the coffin, which will be carried by four strong men in black clothes. When it is time for us to say goodbye to the earth, those who are pious, who love God and obey his will, will not be afraid of the passage: death for them is merely a journey into the better life.”
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
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