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va l u e s

STORIES FOR RADIANT LIVING


Scars of Love
O nce a little boy went to swim in a pond. He jumped into the
water and as he swam towards the middle of the pond, a
crocodile came towards him. His mother seeing the danger ran
towards the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she
could. Hearing her voice, the little boy Think Fast quickly rolled his belly up and pretended to be dead.
became alarmed and made a U-turn “Oh, this fish is no good!” said the fisherman, and threw him
to swim to his mother. It was too late. safely back into the water. But, Wait and See ended up in the
Just as he was about to reached fish market.
her, the crocodile snatched his
legs. From the dock, the mother That is why they say, “In times of danger, when the net is cast,
grabbed her little boy by the arms plan ahead or plan to think fast!”
and started pulling her son to the shore. The
crocodile was much stronger than the mother, but the mother The Star in the Window
D
was much too passionate to let go. A hunter who happened to uring World War I, families with a son in the war would place
pass by heard the screams of the desperate mother came to her a star in the window. A man was walking along with his
rescue. He took his gun and shot the crocodile. grandson when his grandson asked “Why do all these
Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy homes have stars in the windows?” The grandfather
survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack explained to the grandson what the star
of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his symbolized.
mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to They walked along and every time they
the son she loved. passed a home with a star in the window the boy
The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the would smile and clap his hands together. Then
trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his the boy pointed up to the sky and pointed to a
pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, star. “Look,” he said. “God must have given his son too!”
“But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have Many gave their lives for their country, but God gave his son for
them because my Mom wouldn’t let go.” the world.
You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars too;
scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unpleasant The clever astrologer

A
and have caused us deep regret. But, some scars my friend,
n astrologer predicted that the daughter of the king would die
are because God has refused to let go. He’s been there
within a week. When the prediction happened to come true,
holding on to you in the midst of all your struggles.
the king ordered the astrologer to be brought to him, intending to
hang him that very day. As soon as the man came, the king said:
Three Fishes “Since you are so perfect, how

T hree fishes lived in a pond. One was named Plan Ahead,


another was Think Fast, and the third was named Wait and
See. One day they heard a fisherman say that he was going to
about predicting when you will
die.” “Sir” replied the astrologer,
divining the king’s intention, “it
cast his net in their pond the next day. is written in the stars that I shall
Plan Ahead said, “I’m swimming down the river tonight! die three days before you die.”
Think Fast said, “I’m sure I’ll come up with a plan. The king was so taken aback
Wait and See lazily said, “I just can’t think about it now!” at these words that he not only
spared his life, but ordered that he be
When the fisherman cast his nets, Plan Ahead was long gone. protected to prolong his life as much as possible.
But Think Fast and Wait and See were caught!
32 Don bosco march 2009
va l u e s

Sympathetic Oneness The Horse

A father and son were walking together, enjoying the early


morning breeze. They had covered a good distance when
the father stopped suddenly and said, “Son, stop!”
A cosmic god had a horse. The horse was beautiful and also
it had many good qualities. But it wanted to be more perfect
in every way. It especially wanted to become the most beautiful
The son said, “What’s wrong?” beast in the world
The father said, “Nothing in particular, but let’s not walk any One day the horse said to the cosmic god, “0 Lord, you have
farther on this road.” given me beauty. You have given me other good qualities. I am
“Why not?” asked the son. so grateful to you. But how I wish you could make me more
beautiful. I would be extremely, extremely grateful if you could
“Do you see that elderly man coming toward us?” the father
make me more beautiful.”
asked, pointing down the road.
“Yes, I see him,” replied the son. The cosmic god said, “I am ready to make you more beautiful.
Tell me in what way you want to be changed.”
“He’s a friend of mine,” said the father. “He borrowed money
from me and can’t pay it back. Each time he sees me he tells The horse said, “It seems to me that I am not well proportioned.
me he’ll borrow the money from someone else and give it to My neck is too short. If you can make my neck a little longer, my
me. This has been going on for a long time, and I don’t want to
embarrass him anymore.”
The son said, “Father, if you don’t want to embarrass him, why
don’t you tell him that the money is a gift and you don’t want
it back?”
“I’ve already told him that,” said the father. “When I said, ‘I don’t
want it back; it’s a gift,’ he got mad. He said, ‘I’m not a beggar. I’m
your friend. When I was in need, you gave me money, and when
I can, I’ll give it back. I want to remain your friend, not become a
beggar.’ Now I don’t want to embarrass him, and I don’t want to upper body will be infinitely more beautiful. And if you can make
be embarrassed myself. So let’s take another road.” my legs much longer and thinner, then I will look infinitely more
The son said, “Father, you are truly good. I’m very proud of you, beautiful in my lower body.”
it’s usually the borrower who tries to avoid the lender. It’s usually The cosmic god said, “Ok!” Then immediately he made a camel
the receiver who is embarrassed, not the giver. But you want to appear in place of the horse. The horse was so disheartened
spare his embarrassment. What I have learned from you is a that it started to cry, “0 Lord, I wanted to become more beautiful.
sympathetic oneness.” In what way is this kind of outer form more beautiful?”
Double Trouble The cosmic god said, “This is exactly what you asked for. You
have become a camel.”

A man of middle age, whose hair was turning grey, had two
wives, an old woman and a young one. The elder of the two
didn’t like having a husband who looked so much younger than
The horse cried, “Oh no, I do not want to become a camel I wish
to remain a horse. As a horse, everybody appreciated my good
herself; so, whenever he came to see her, she used to pull the qualities. Nobody will appreciate me as a camel.”
dark hairs out of his head to make him look old. The younger, The cosmic god said, “Never try to achieve or receive more than I
on the other hand, didn’t like him to have given you. If you want to lead a life of desires, then at every
look so much older than her, and moment you will want more and more. But you have no idea what
took every opportunity of pulling the outcome will be. If you cry for a longer neck and legs, this
out the grey hairs, to make him is what will happen. Each thing in my creation has its own good
look young. Between them, qualities. The camel is not as beautiful as you are, but it carries
they left not a hair in his head, heavy loads and has a tremendous sense of responsibility.
and he became perfectly A.J. Frank sdb
bald. ajfrankie@gmail.com

Don bosco march 2009 33


V A LU E S

W
hen Mary finished her ecstatic could not have walked out by itself.” “It was. It was folded
narration of how she had seen “Peter,” called out John in a rather solemn neatly and kept where the
Jesus alive, she met with eleven and reflective voice. Peter stopped and head of Jesus had been.
pairs of skeptic eyes staring at her. looked back at his younger companion, the Does that not tell you
“Feminine hallucinations,” grumbled Thomas at disciple whom Jesus loved. Peter too loved anything?”
the far end of the upper room, where the this young man, not only because the Master After squinting his eyes for
frightened and discouraged apostles were hiding. was very fond of him, but also because he a moment, he said:
“She must have been dreaming,” suggested had a keen intellect and often said things “Nothing. I find it only a bit odd, that the
Bartholomew. The disciples were convinced that were quite wise! Even though he was thief should take the trouble to fold it and
that their adventure with Jesus of Nazareth had the leader, Peter was a humble man, and keep it there. I wonder why anyone would
come to a tragic end and that there was nothing valued John for his rare gifts. do that?”
more to it. “I saw, and I believe,” said John very slowly “Peter, do a bit of reasoning. The truth is
Mary was aghast at their disdain for her news. and steadily. The solemnity and the starring at you in the face.”
She knew that women were not accepted as FROM THE GOSPELS AT A TANGENT - 19

The folded towel


credible witnesses in the tradition of Israel. It
hurt her badly. Here she was with the most
momentous news of their lives and they
deride her and doubt her veracity.
John was always different from the rest.
“Peter,” he nudged the leader of the group
sitting next to him. “Let us go and see. There
may be something in what she is saying.”
Peter got up and ran, with John at his heels.
Being younger the latter outran Peter and
reached the tomb, which was, to his surprise
and dismay, open. The stone had been rolled
away. But he did not go in. He waited for
Peter to arrive.
When Peter came puffing and panting, he
went in immediately. John too entered. There
were the clothes, which were wrapped around
the body of the Master lying on the floor. And
the towel that covered his head was folded
neatly and kept where the head was! Seeing the
scene, Peter was totally confused. He did not
know what to make of it. But John, yes, he was
different! He saw and believed!
conviction in his voice were unmistakable. No truth was starring at Peter. Only Peter
As they came out of the tomb Peter said:
“You saw? What did you see? I did not see was starring at John now.
“John, they have stolen the body.
It is clear.” anything but the empty dark tomb,” replied “OK. I think that the Master Himself folded
Peter, rather bewildered and to some extent and kept the towel there!”
“Wait a minute. Who could have stolen the
annoyed. Peter burst out laughing. “John, don’t be
body? Who would have been interested in
taking away a dead body? What would be “The clothes, Peter, the clothes.” stupid. You have been talking too much with
the benefit, or at least what would be their “Oh, yeah, the clothes. I saw them lying that girl from Magdala. You are catching up
motivation?” John was speaking rapidly, as around on the floor.” with her dreams. According to you the dead
they were walking back to their body got up, folded the head towel neatly
“The cloth that wrapped the body, yes. But
hiding place. and kept it there, pushed the stone away and
what about the head towel?”
walked out! Is that what you are saying?”
“I do not know all that,” said Peter. “I just “Well, I think that napkin was folded and
know that the body is missing and that it “Just think. No one else would have done
kept on the head side.”
that, I mean fold that towel. He himself did
 Don bosco june 2008
V A LU E S
it and it left it there as a symbol pointing out would like to return to finish his meal, he banquet. And remember that last and fateful
the truth.” folds the napkin neatly and leaves it on the meal we had with him the night before the
“John,” cried Peter. “Please don’t torture me table. Seeing that the servant is to understand day he died. And do you not remember one
like this. I am a simple man and I am already that the master has not finished and that he of his simple parables about a servant who
in pain. You don’t have to add to it.” would come back soon! Oh John,” shouted comes from the fields and first serves the
“Don’t you know the table manners of our Peter with excitement. “I begin to see master his meal, before he himself eats?
people?” asked John abruptly. something. Do you mean to say that the Peter, the signs are very clear. The Master is
Master is coming back and he has not yet around. I can sense him in the air.”
“Table manners? What have they to do
finished with this work?”
with this?” As John was saying this, they reached the
“You know how a servant attends his master “Fantastic, Peter,” exclaimed John. “You upper room, entered and shut the door
at table. He sets the table, puts all the food have got it. You know that Jesus is fond of firmly behind them. The other friends got up
there, and places a napkin there for the use symbols. I do believe that the Master Himself and looked at them expecting some news.
of the master. Then he waits just outside the left us a symbol. HE IS ALIVE! He is around.
Peter spoke up: “Well, friends, the tomb is
room, while the master takes his meal.” Mary is right.” John said this with such
empty. I do not know what to make of it.
conviction that Peter could almost hear his
“That is right.” Probably the Jews or the Romans have stolen
heart pounding.
“And you know Peter that when the master the body of the Master.”
finishes his meal, he just crumples the napkin But Peter became doubtful again. “I
There was a heavy silence.
and throws it on the table and goes out. The understand that there are such table
manners. But you always see so many Suddenly, while the doors were still closed,
servant who sees that knows that the master
symbols and meanings where I see none. Jesus appeared and stood among them, and
has finished his meal and has left. He now
You may be reading too much into this with a gentle smile on his face said: “Peace
removes the plates and other utensils.”
small matter.” be with you!”
Peter continued this narration with evident
annoyance: “And when the master has to “I think not,” said John firmly. “Remember K. Maria Arokiam sdb
temporarily go out for some reason, but that Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God as a mariaarokiam.kanaga@gmail.com

ADVT

Don bosco june 2008 


va l u es

STORIES FOR RADIANT LIVING


engine trouble

A giant ship engine failed. The ship’s owners


tried one expert after another, but none of
them could fix the engine.
The engine was fixed! A week later, the
owners received a bill

Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing from the old man for ten thousand rupees.
ships since he was young. “What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly
He carried a large bag of tools with him when he arrived. did anything!” So they wrote to the old man a
note saying, “Please send us an
He immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very itemized bill.”
carefully, top to bottom.
The man sent a bill that read:
Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man,
hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, Tapping with a hammer...Rs 2.00
the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small Knowing where to tap... Rs 9,998.00
hammer.
Effort is important, but knowing
He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine started where to make an effort in your life
working. makes all the difference.

toy car
A toy-car race was being held, and the final round was a
few minutes away. There were only four participants left
and each of them proudly exhibited their self-made toy-car.
and ran along with the car as fast as they could, and at
the end, surprisingly, the kid with the least magnificent
looking toy car got his toy car touching the finish line
first among other players.
Among the players, was one child whose toy-car
wasn’t in any way looking marvelous nor The champion was then asked by
special in its look. Compared to his the organizer before receiving
other players, his toy-car was the least his award, “Hey kid,
magnificent and imperfect. Some of I saw you praying
the audience doubted the toy-car before the final round
capability to race against the started, you must
other three. have prayed deeply
to God that you may
Yes, it was true, the toy car
win this tournament,
looked pretty dull. With
didn’t you?”
simple wood materials
and few blinking lamps The kid was silent for a moment,
on its top, but the owner and then replied, “No sir, that was not what I
was proud of his toy car, prayed, I thought it was not fair to ask God to help
since it was his own creation. me defeat the other players. I only prayed that God
help me not to cry if I lose.”
Every kid got his car ready on the start
line, and at the slightest signal from the jury, they pushed the After a few moments of silence by the audience, the
toy-car as fast as they can. They pushed and pushed, ran hall was filled with applause from the audience.

32 Don bosco june 2008


va l u es

the magic bell true happiness


O nce a theft had occurred in an inn.
All the ways the police had tried,
but none succeeded. Finally the police
However it was strange because even
after everyone had went through the A very rich wealthy man was standing
thoughtfully on a bridge. Despite
of all his riches, he could feel happy
tunnel, the bell still had not sounded
came up with a unique method. itself. The lamp was then switched on. for his life was filled with sorrow and
emptiness. He intended to commit
The police gathered all the suspects The suspects were asked to stand in suicide by jumping into the raging water.
in a place where a bell had been a line and show their palms.
attached. Then he The thief was caught When he was about to do it, a beggar
gave the instruction. as the bell had actually
“That bell is a magic been smeared with a
bell. All of you one special ink.
by one go pass this
tunnel. And when They who did not commit
you go pass that the theft, were not afraid
bell, I want you to touch to touch them that their
it. If you are really the hands caught the ink. On the
thief, the magic bell will contrast, the thief, who was
sound itself when you in fear and cautious, did not
touch it,” explained the dare to touch the bell that approached him. “Sir, please give me
police. The lamp was his hand remained clean. some money to buy some food. I will
switched of and the pray for your health and long life.”
whole room went
Hearing this, he took out the wallet from
pitch black.
his pocket and gave all the money inside
to the beggar. “Take all of this,” he said.
“All of this?” the beggar repeated. He
the fight in the heart could not believe his very luck.

A Grandfather was talking with his kindness, benevolence, justice, “Yes, take it all. I am going to a place
grandson. fairness, empathy, generosity, truth, where I won’t need it anymore,” said the
compassion and gratitude. man. He looked back at the river below.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said
to the boy. “This same fight is going on inside The beggar felt suspicious with the
you and inside every other human man’s attitude. Looking at the money,
“It is a terrible fight and it is between
as well.” and holding it for a while, he hurriedly
two wolves.”
returned it and said, “No thank you, I
The grandson paused in deep
“One wolf is evil and ugly. He won’t take it. I may be a beggar but I
reflection because of
is anger, envy, war, greed, am not a coward and I am not going
what his grandfather
self-pity, sorrow, regret, to receive any money from a coward!
had just said.
guilt, resentment, Hearing his response, the man was
Then he finally
inferiority, lies, false very shocked. The satisfaction and
cried out;
pride, superiority, happiness of him giving his money to
“Grandfather,
selfishness and the beggar vanished instantly. At that
which wolf
arrogance.” moment, he suddenly realized that
will win?”
Happiness is only real when sharing the
“The other
The old man feeling that he felt just now, that good
wolf is beautiful
replied, “The feeling and satisfaction from giving
and good. He is
one that you others happiness, had indeed in turn
friendly, joyful,
feed.” became his own true happiness.
peace, love, hope,
serenity, humility, A.J. Frank sdb
ajfrankie@gmail.com
Don bosco june 2008 33
V A LU E S

A
small group of women walked dishevelled and somewhat haggard, “I am looking for my
towards a garden tomb early on looking older than her age. She too began Lord!”
a Sunday morning. They almost running, but to look for the apostles. Her
mind was racing ahead, trying to guess “Your Lord? Who is that?
ran. They had not caught a wink of
where she could find Peter and the There is only a tomb
sleep the whole Sabbath night, waiting
others. “They are probably in the house here and the body of a
for the crack of the dawn. Their leader
of the friend, where the master shared carpenter from Galilee.”
squinted into the darkness but could
not see the Roman soldiers she knew his last meal with us,” she reasoned. She “Yes, yes, that Carpenter is my boss, and
were there. There was an eerie silence was right. Lord. Her voice cracked. Tears began
in the area. But she was not afraid. Her “They have taken the Lord away,” she once again to flood her eyes and blur her
eyes wandered to see that the tomb was screamed as she burst into the room, vision. “Sir, are you the owner of this
open. The front stone was rolled out of frightening the men huddled there and place,” she asked between the sobs. “If
the way. An unearthly fear took hold of still half asleep. “He is gone; the body you have taken him away, please tell me
the other two women. With trepidation is missing!” where you have put him and I will go and
take him away.”
FROM THE GOSPELS AT A TANGENT - 20 “You will carry away his body? What

The Power of the Name!


audacity. How can you, a slender
woman, can carry away the body of a
man. Do you know how heavy corpses
are? Besides, what are you going to do
with a dead body? Are you crazy?”
They all looked up at her with questioning
eyes. Suddenly they were all fully awake. “Crazy, I definitely am! He is my master,
“Ah, women’s stories,” grumbled my teacher, and my healer. You seem
someone from the corner. to be a nice gentleman, and I don’t
mind telling you. He healed me from
Mary brushed aside the traditional
the possession of seven evil spirits. I
prejudice. “Peter, come and see, if you
was lost. He saved me. He made me
don’t believe me.”
feel loved, and gave me back my self-
John seemed incredulous for a minute, respect. Without him I have no life and
but then pulled Peter’s sleeve, got up no reason to exist. I am sure he is the
and began to run out of the room. Peter Messiah… I mean… was the Messiah.
and Mary followed him. Now everything is lost in my life. The
When they reached the tomb, they found day before yesterday, standing under
that Mary had rightly reported. Peter the cross where they hanged Him, I saw
was afraid that the Roman soldiers might him die, and I lost my soul; now, also his
return there any moment. And he did not body, the last sign of His presence.”
want to be in their bad books again. He She began to beg and plead now. The
walked hurriedly back to their hideout. man sat on a nearby rock still smiling
John followed, still silent and thoughtful. and called out: “Mariette!” It was a most
But Mary was not a woman to be loving voice, like the voice of a lover
frightened. She stood there and began to calling his beloved!
they peered into the tomb. Only two weep! And suddenly she saw a gardener Mary felt a tinkle in her heart and all
pieces of white cloth were lying there. standing there. of a sudden it burst forth into glorious
The body was gone! Leaving the leader symphony. “Rabbuni!” she yelled and
“He must be knowing something” she
and the spices they carried, the other ran and clutched His feet in a tight
thought. The man spoke first. “Woman,
two women fled out of sheer fear. embrace. She felt as if her heart would
who are you, why are you weeping and
Tears began to flood her large, beautiful what are you doing here at this odd busrt. “Rabbuni, Jesus, my Rabbuni,”
eyes. Mary - that was her name - was hour? This is not a place fit for women to she called again. “Is it you? Is it really
a beautiful young woman, but now come in darkness.” you? Oh my God, you are alive. Oh my
 Don bosco july 2008
V A LU E S

God… Oh my God!” How did I not Father and to your Father! I will still be “All right Lord. Anything for you. I
recognize you for so long.” around for some more time when you can will give every drop of my life only to
physically see me. Now get up, I have a proclaim your Resurrection! “I have one
“You did not even look at me properly,”
work to give you.” She slowly released more incurable weakness,” she said with
He said. “Mariette, I too am so happy to
His feet and got up. hesitation. “I am a woman! You know
see you this morning.”
that in our society the witness of women
Jesus too got up from the stone where
She just held his feet tight and rested her is not considered credible.”
he was sitting and they began to stroll in
head on His knees. “What is happening
the garden. “Go and tell my frightened Jesus laughed loud. “Oh no, Mary. Your
to me,” she muttered to herself. “Is this womanhood is your strength. God’s
disciples that I am alive and that I will
all real, or am I dreaming?” But then she maternity is more naturally expressed in
realized that she was holding the real come to see them.”
the love of a mother!”
feet of Jesus in flesh and blood!
“God’s maternity?” Mary was totally
“Yes, I am alive. I am the Living One, the surprised. “You have taught us everyday
Eternally Living One, and your friend! I
told you all several times that I will come
The man sat on that God is our Abba, our Father.”

back to life. Which of you believed me. a nearby rock “Now don’t worry about all that. I assure
you the woman is absolutely in no way
But let that be. I was talking to you so still smiling inferior to man in God’s plan. Their
long and how is that you recognized me
only when I called your name? Didn’t
and called out: witness to me is in no way less valuable.
you think that it could be someone else “Mariette!” It Rather, I tell you solemnly that women
will witness to my love in more numbers
who knew you?” was a most and with greater intensity till the end of
“Oh, no! Lord, that voice and that name, loving voice, the world! You, for example, will be one
they woke me up from my stupor. That of the most valuable witnesses to me,
loving voice hit my dark mind like the like the voice of as I have appeared to you first after my
burst of the sun. I knew it was you. No a lover calling coming back to life.”
one else calls me “Mariette”.
his beloved! “Rabbuni, bear with me, just one more
“Mariette, do you know that I have a pet question before I go on my mission.
name for everyone of my loved ones? I Thanks for appearing first to me. But
call all of them by that name and with the why did you choose me of all people?”
same loving tone. It is sad that most of “Yes, Rabbuni,” she said, “There is
nothing more exciting for me than to Jesus laughed heartily. “Because you were
them do not recognize my voice. There the first to turn up this side. Getting up
was sadness in His voice now. “But tell announce that you are alive. But they will
early in the morning has its advantages.
me. You have always called me Rabbi. not believe me. I have been there already
And then they say that the fastest way of
What is this ‘Rabbuni’ now?” He was earlier to tell them that … your body
spreading a secret is to tell a woman!”
now teasing her. was missing from the tomb, and they all
Mary too laughed pleasantly.
looked strangely at me.”
“That is my pet name for you! I never “Apart from jokes, Mary, your heart
called you like that before because “Besides, they despise me. They call me is pure. There is nothing in your heart
others would have teased me. And you … a prostitute, and sometimes I feel except me! That is purity! Blessed are
know Lord that my entire heart is in it. they are upset because you love me. the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
You know I love you more than anything That pains me a lot. Lord you know that And you have seen God.”
else in the world. I hope it is all right if I I was not a prostitute.”
called you by a pet name!” Mary flung herself once again at His
“I know. I only cured you of your feet in adoration and kissed them. She
“Now, aren’t you letting my feet go?” several possessions of which you were a became the forerunner of the millions of
victim. It pains me too that they call you people who will kiss His feet in adoration
“Oh no. To rest my head on your feet is
that. But you have to learn to live with throughout history. He laid His hands on
heaven itself for me. Lord, I won’t let you
certain type of calumny, which is very her head and blessed her. She got up,
go, now that I have found you.”
hard to tackle. And you will be one of and began to run!
Jesus laughed and said: “Don’t be afraid the strongest witness to my living love K. Maria Arokiam sdb
Mary. I have not yet ascended to my for humanity.” mariaarokiam.kanaga@gmail.com
Don bosco july 2008 
va l u es

STORIES FOR RADIANT LIVING


the difference
The Triple Filter Test
A Little girl and her
father were crossing
a bridge. The father was a O ne day a man met Socrates, the great
philosopher and said,
bit scared, so he asked his “Do you know what I just heard about one of your
little daughter, ‘Sweetheart, friend?”
please hold my hand so
that you don’t fall into the “Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling
river.’ The little girl said, ‘No, me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called
Dad. You hold my hand.’ the Triple Filter Test.” “Triple filter?” asked the man.
“That’s right,” Socrates continued.
‘What’s the difference?’ asked
the puzzled father. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be
‘There’s a big difference,’ a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re
replied the little girl. going to say. That’s why I call
it the triple filter test. The
‘If I hold your hand and something
first filter is Truth. Have you
happens to me, chances are that I may let your
made absolutely sure that
hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for
what you are about to tell
sure that no matter what happens, you will
me is true?”
never let my hand go.’
Is God Holding your hand? “No,” the man said,
“actually I just heard
break the chain about it and wanted to tell
it to you”
A s a man was passing the
elephants, he suddenly stopped,
confused by the fact that these
“All right,” said Socrates.
“So you don’t really know
huge creatures were being held by if it’s true or not. Now let’s
only a small rope tied to their front leg. No try the second filter, the
chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants filter of goodness. Is what
could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some you are about to tell me
reason, they did not. about my friend something
good?”
He saw a trainer near by and asked why these magnificent
animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “No, on the contrary, it is bad.”
“Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me
smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s
age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are true. You may still pass the test through, because
conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe there’s one filter left: the filter of usefulness. Is what
the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful
The man was amazed. These animals could at any time to me?”
break free from their bonds but because they believed they “No, not really.” Replied the man.
couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging me is neither true, nor good, and nor even useful to
onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because me, why tell it to me at all .”
we failed at it once before?
32 Don bosco july 2008
va l u es

the trick The Salt


A young student was taking a walk with a professor. As they went along,
they saw a pair of old shoes, which belonged to a poor man who was
employed in a field. The student turned to the professor, saying: “Let us play O nce an unhappy young man came
to an old master and told he was
the man a trick: we will hide his shoes, and hide ourselves behind those very sad and asked for a solution.
bushes, and wait to see his perplexity when he cannot find them.” The old Master
instructed the
“My young friend,” answered the professor, “we should never amuse unhappy young
ourselves at the expense of the poor. Instead let us put a coin into each shoe, man to put a
and then we will hide ourselves and watch how the discovery affects him.” handful of salt
The student did so, and they both placed themselves behind the bushes in a glass of
close by. water and then
The poor man soon finished his work and he slipped his foot into one of his to drink it. “How
shoes; but feeling something hard, he stooped down to feel what it was, and does it taste?”
found the coin. the Master
Astonishment and wonder were seen upon his eyes. He gazed upon the asked. “Awful,”
coin, and looked spat the
around but no young man.
person was to The Master
be seen. He chuckled and
put the money then asked
into his pocket, the young
and proceeded man to take
to put on the another handful
other shoe; but of salt and put it
his surprise in the lake. The two
was doubled walked in silence to the nearby lake
on finding the and when the apprentice dropped his
other coin. handful of salt into the lake, the old
man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
His feelings As the water dripped down the young
overcame him; man’s chin, the Master asked, “How
he fell upon his does it taste?” “Good!” remarked the
knees, looked young man. “Do you taste the salt?”
up to heaven asked the Master. “No,” said the
and uttered young man. The Master sat beside this
aloud a fervent troubled young man, took his hands,
thanksgiving, in and said, “The pain of life is pure salt;
which he spoke no more, no less. The amount of pain
of his wife, sick in life remains the same, exactly the
and helpless, same. But the amount we taste the
and his children ‘pain’ depends on the container we
without bread, whom put it into. So when you are in pain,
the timely bounty, from some unknown hand, would save from perishing. the only thing you can do is to enlarge
The student stood there deeply affected, and his eyes filled with tears. “Now,” your sense of things….. Stop being a
said the professor, “are you not much better pleased than if you had played glass. Become a lake.
your intended trick?” When you have pain in Life: put your
The youth replied, “You have taught me a lesson which I will never forget. I trust in God.
feel now the truth of those words, which I never understood before: ‘It is more
blessed to give than to receive.’” A.J. Frank sdb
ajfrankie@gmail.com

Don bosco july 2008 33


V A LU E S

S
ome women approached Jesus and power, property and what not. What I made later to help her.”
sincerely asked him: “Is it against want to know is whether this is really
the Law for a woman to divorce her God’s mind.” “That is not how it is
husband on any pretext whatever?” Salome, written I think,” said
Jesus saw that there was no escape from Jesus, secretly admiring
one of his best followers, was the leader of
this question. her daringness.
the group. Jesus was taken aback by the
question. He was a Jew, a man from this “All right, if you want to know what God “That is because the
male-dominated culture! But he recovered intended, things are not to be in this way. books were written by
soon. Within himself he was happy and They are supposed to be equal in rights men!”
amused that such a question arose. and dignity. In duties, of course, they
cannot be the same always. You know “But let that be,” he continued changing
“Men are supposed to ask this question. the topic. “Tell me are you having problems
that physically and temperamentally they
Ah… but with the arrival of the Son of Man with your husband. I have seen Suza. He
are made differently and are meant to be
things seem to have turned upside down,” seems to be a good fellow. Doesn’t he love
complementary.”
commented Jesus with a smile. “Any way, you?”
have you not read that the Creator from “I would say that God created the woman
the beginning made them female and male. first, and then gave her a helper, the man.” “Yes, he does, in his own way. He wants
me to be a doll in the house, serve him
FROM THE GOSPELS AT A TANGENT - 22 and him only and think of nothing else in
life. He thinks I am a slave that he owns

Divorcing the Husband


and that he is my little God just because
he married me! He says that in everything I
have to live only on his terms, and for him
alone. Should I not have a personality of
(Mt 19: 3-12) my own?”
That is why a woman would leave her father
and mother and cling to her husband and “What has made you so angry?” asked
the two would be one body?”
“So?”
Man and woman are Jesus.

“So, what God has united woman shall not supposed to be equal “He enslaves me in various ways, and I
put up with it long enough. He does not
divide!”
in rights and dignity. give me freedom even to do things that I
Peter was passing that way at that moment. consider most important in my life.”
He said: “If that is how things are, it is In duties, of course “And what would that be that important?”
better not to marry at all!” All the women
turned and stared at him angrily. He
they cannot be the “Following you, for example!” Salome said
realized that he had said something foolish same always… this slowly and deliberately, hitting the nail
as usual, and quietly left the place. on the head. Jesus opened his eyes wide.
She knew how to catch him! “He is not
“You see, the reaction of Peter. Men are this was Deborah. Jesus realised that they permitting me to follow you, even when I
trying to do it all the time. Why did Moses had come planned to attack him. But do not neglect my duties towards him and
command that a writ of dismissal could be Jesus was happy. They were not dumb, my children.”
given by men in case of divorce? Is that but intelligent disciples who loved him and
right?” this was Rebecca. so they felt free with him. Several of them The Master became pensive. He bent down
used to help him and the apostolic group and started scribbling on the ground. This
“Rebecca, how dare you question even with their own money. was his mannerism whenever he was trying
Moses?” to think out the solution for a problem.
“Now you are going beyond inquiry and
“Answer me first Jesus,” she insisted. The entering into polemics Deborah,” said Just at that moment a group of Sadducees
other women in the little group chuckled. Jesus laughing pleasantly. “Well, why do barged in. They were a group who did
“Are you asking me to test me, or do you you say that?” not believe in the resurrection from the
want a real answer?” dead. They wanted to corner Jesus and
Salome came in. “The female is the their leader straight away started with
“Lord, please…,” pleaded Salome. “I archetype of God himself according to me. a story.
know that this is a man’s world. But is that Our Scripture says that God created the
right? Being physically stronger they make human being in his own image and likeness “Master, there was a man who had six
us their slaves and in everything they have and if God is love and creator of life, then brothers. He married and died without
the advantage, be it in worship, rights, the woman is his first image. Man was issue. So, according to our law and custom,
 Don bosco SEPTEMBER 2008
V A LU E S

call it the marriage between the people of


God and the lamb of God. During their
life on earth the union between married
couples is to be lived as a sign of this
union between the Church and her Lord,
the Christ. Their conjugal love should lead
them to love God rather than hinder it.”
“Lord, I am thrilled,” Salome shouted. “So
if my husband is a block to follow you,
what shall I do?”
“Disobey him,” Jesus said firmly. “You are
made for your God, not for your husband.
No one has the right to stop you from
following your God and the One He has
sent!”
“Disobeying him, I can. I am already
doing it. What I want to know is whether
I can divorce him?” Although She asked
the question quickly, there was a visible
sadness in her voice. She was a good wife
and loved Suza all these years.
“Oh no! divorce is another matter. Love
by its very nature is given permanently.
You cannot truly have loved someone, and
then say, ‘now I stop’. Try to convert him.
Tell him that he too is made for me. If you
know how to tell him that he will believe
you…, and in me!”
Sure enough, that night she spoke to
her husband as lovingly and as clearly as
possible. The next day they both came to
the Master.
the next brother married the widow. He too in this life will not be destroyed but fused “Come my beloved,” Jesus called out loud.
died. Thus did all the seven. Finally also into God’s boundless love.” Following this Both of them were looking at each other
the women died. Now in the resurrection Jesus explained to them about the loving in doubt.
of the dead, whose wife will she be?” God whose beloved ones will not be
allowed to die for ever. With that, whether “You, Suza, it is you whom I called. I think
Jesus was happy that they came. They gave your lovely wife must have talked to you
him an opportunity to answer also the they understood it or not, the Sadducees
left, in the same way they came. last night. Now you know that you too are
questions of his female disciples. made for me, not for her,” Jesus said with
“You foolish people. Do you want to marry “So, Salome, what were you telling me?” a smile.
here and continue that also in the next “I said that my husband prohibits me from Salome began to stare at him. But he did
world?” He burst into a peel of laughter. following you.” not mind it.
“Only in this world there is marriage
because you have a human body needed “Yes, yes… that is serious,” Jesus said with “And if ever Salome is a block for you to
to beget children and express your love for mock seriousness. “Listen carefully all of follow me, leave her alone and come after
each other. In the next world there is no you. You just now heard me telling those me,” Jesus said pleasantly with a twinkle of
marriage. Because all will be the beloveds Sadducees that all men and women were mischief in his eyes. And that is how Suza
of God alone, like the angels. There all made by God to live with Him as His own
will be married to Him. He will be the only beloved people for all eternity. Men and
husband and all of, his people, will be his women are created finally to be married to K. Maria Arokiam sdb
beloveds. All the human love we cherish God alone. In the future my disciples will mariaarokiam.kanaga@gmail.com
Don bosco SEPTEMBER 2008 
va l u es

STORIES FOR RADIANT LIVING


The WISE King
T here was a country long time ago where the people would
change a king every
year. The person who
then told the workers to plant gardens in various parts
of the island. He also took with him useful animals like
chickens, ducks, birds, goats, cows etc. In the third month,
would become the he ordered the workers to build big houses and docking
king had to agree to a stations for ships. Over the months, the island turned into a
contract that he would beautiful place.
be sent to an island after
his one year of being a The young king would wear simple clothes and spend very
king. little from his earnings as a king. He sent all the earnings
to the island for storage. After one full year the people
One king finished his came and dressed up the young king and put him on an
term and it was time for elephant to take him around the country to say goodbye to
him to go to the island others. However, this king was unusually happy to leave
and live there. The the kingdom.
people dressed him up
in expensive clothes and People asked him, “All the other kings would cry at
put him on an elephant this moment and why are you laughing?”The wise king
and took him around the cities to say goodbye to all the answered, “While all the other kings were lost into the
people. This was the moment of sadness for all the kings who luxuries of the kingdom, I always thought about the future
ruled for one year. After saying farewell, the people took the and planned for it. I turned the deadly island into a beautiful
king in a boat to the remote island and left him there. abode for me where I can stay peacefully, so why should I
worry about my future”
On their way back, they discovered a ship that had sunk just
recently. They saw a young man who survived by holding on The life of this world is to prepare for the life hereafter.
to a floating piece of wood. As they needed a new king, they In this life, we shouldn’t get lost into the deceiving and
picked up the young man and took him to their country. They attractive things of this world and forget about what is to
requested him to be their king for a year. First he refused but come in the afterlife.
later he agreed to be the king. People told him about all the
rules and regulations and that how he will be sent to an island mulla and the wise men
after one year.
After three days of being a king, he asked the ministers if
they could show him the island where all the other kings were
O ne day some wise men, who were going about the
country trying to find answers to some of the great
questions of their time, came to Mulla Nasruddin’s district
sent. They agreed and took him to the island. The island was and asked to see the wisest man in the place. Mulla
covered with thick jungles and sounds of vicious animals Nasruddin was brought forward, and a big crowd gathered
were heard coming out of them. The king went little bit inside to listen.
to check. Soon he discovered the dead bodies of all the past
The first wise man began by asking, “Where is the exact
kings. He understood that as soon as they were left in the
center of the world?”
island, the animals came and killed them.
“It is under my right heel,” answered Mulla Nasruddin.
The king went back to the country and collected 100 strong
workers. He took them to the island and instructed them to “How can you prove that?” asked the first wise man.
clean the jungle, remove all the deadly animals and cut down
“If you don’t believe me,” answered Mulla Nasruddin,
all the excess trees. He visited the island every month to
“measure and see.”
see how the work was progressing. In the first month, all the
animals were removed and many trees were cut down. In the The first wise man had nothing to answer to that, so the
second month, the whole island was cleaned out. The king second wise man asked his question. “How many stars
32 Don bosco SEPTEMBER 2008
va l u es

are there in the sky?” he said. “As many as there are hairs on my GOD EXISTS
donkey,” answered Mulla Nasruddin. One day a non-believer in God challenged the
“What proof have you got for that?” asked the second wise man. king to prove him the existence of God. But he
was not able to give him a convincing reply. This
“If you don’t believe me,” answered Mulla Nasruddin, “count the caused a great embarrassment to the king so he
hairs on my donkey and you will see.” asked his wisest minister whether he could help
“That’s foolish talk,” said the other. “How can one count the hairs him out. The minister agreed for a debate with the
on a donkey?” non- believer the next day at a particular time, in
front of all the coutiers.
“Well,” answered Mulla Nasruddin, “How can one count the stars
in the sky? If one is foolish talk, so is the other.” The second wise The appointed time arrived the next day but there
man was silent. wasn’t any sign of the minister in the court. All the
courtiers felt belittled that the minister had made
The third wise man was becoming annoyed with Mulla Nasruddin
tall claims but had absented himself from the
and his answers, so he said, “You seem to know a lot about your
proceedings.
donkey, so can you tell me how many hairs there are in its tail?”
The minister
“Yes,” answered Mulla Nasruddin. “There are exactly as many
hairs in its tail as there are in your beard.” purposely arrived
at the court very
“How can you prove that?” said the other. late. When he
“I can prove it very easily,” answered Mulla Nasruddin. “You can arrived in front of
pull one hair out of my donkey’s tail for every one I pull out of your the non-believing
beard. If the hairs on my donkey’s tail do not come to an end at man, he asked,
exactly the same time as the hairs in your beard, I will admit that I “Where were you
was wrong.” hiding yourself?!”

Of course, the third wise man was not willing to do this, so The minister
the crowd declared Mulla Nasruddin the winner of the day’s replied, “I would
arguments. have reached
the court on
schedule, but as I reached the riverside, I saw
Prejudice a peculiar scene there. It was so astonishing
Le Guang had a very close friend who had not come to visit his that my feet wouldn’t advance towards my
house for a very long time. destination! I saw a boat in the river that was
floating on the water without any sailor. It was
Le Guang was bewildered with it and asked him the reason.
coming ashore on one side, picking up passengers
His friend answered, “The last time I came to your house, you
and leaving them on the other side. From that side
served me a cup of fine wine. When I raised up the cup of
it picked up passengers and dropped them on this
wine, suddenly I saw inside that cup a small snake. I was very
side! When I saw the boat had no sailor I was
scared, nevertheless I still drank it. After drinking it, I felt very
very astonished!”
sick and terrible.
The non-believing man had a hearty laugh and
Le Guang remembered the last time he served wine to him,
on the living room’s wall, there hanged a bow decorated with said, “How is it that the boat was making the up
snake motif. The big bow was bright in color. The small snake and down trips without any sailor?”
mentioned by his friend must be its reflection, he thought. Le The minister now said, “When you think that a
Guang brought a cup of wine to the living room and asked, small boat cannot fend for itself without someone
“What did you see in this wine?” His friend answered, “The to row it, then how do you imagine that such a
same thing I saw the last time I visited here.” Le Guang then big universe will function without the One who
explained to him what was actually that his friend was seeing. controls it!” The non-believing man was now
Soon afterwards, his friend felt relieved and all his illnesses convinced that God exists.
disappeared completely. A.J. Frank sdb
ajfrankie@gmail.com
Don bosco SEPTEMBER 2008 33
V A LU E S

W
hen Jesus multiplied bread Philip was embarrassed. In the “Nothing at all?” Jesus
and fish near the lake of meanwhile Simon, the Zealot joined asked in surprise. For
Galilee, close to Capernaum, him and recommended: “Lord, are you he was really surprised.
the people could not believe their eyes. joking? We thought that you would do
A week later Jesus was
They had a good meal and collected the something.”
near Bethsaida, on
left over in twelve baskets. Several in the Jesus heaved a sigh and thought for the north eastern side
crowd, a couple of apostles too among a moment with closed eyes. “All right. of the lake across the
them, wanted to catch hold of him that Make the people sit in groups,” he said. place where the Jordan joins the lake. But
day itself and declare him their King! “Has anyone got some bread or fish? the crowds traced him. He received them
That would solve all their food problems, Bring them to me.” well, cured their sick and told them several
they thought! Realizing the danger, Jesus
There was embarrassment again. “Not parables about the Kingdom. The evening
ordered the apostles to get into the boat
even that boy has brought anything this came and the people were still milling around
and packed them off to the other side of
time,” replied Simon. him. They showed no signs of going home.
the lake. He escaped to the mountains to
The crowd was waiting in expectation. Jesus
pray to his Father, to overcome his own Jesus controlled himself and asked for did not need any prompting this time. He
possible temptations of becoming an baskets. As he raised his eyes to heaven decided to work the miracle all by himself,
earthly king! This was a temptation that to invoke his Father, some baskets were that too, uncharacteristically in a rather
dramatic manner.
FROM THE GOSPELS AT A TANGENT - 23
The people sat on the beach sand in

Miracles in Vain
small groups and the apostles stood
around Jesus in attention. This time no
bread was brought and not even baskets

The evil one had


promised to return with
his temptations. Here
he is again:…
In the form of greed.

he had already once successfully staved


off in the desert. Satan had tempted him
to turn stones into bread! The evil one had
promised to return with his temptations.
Here he was again, in the crowd!
The next weekend too there was a big
crowd around him. They were attracted by filled with fresh bread and some other were collected. Jesus flipped his fingers
the possibility of getting food! This time the baskets with fish. Immediately the and forty baskets appeared in front of
apostles began to have pity on them! apostles and some other volunteers him. He pointed his finger at them and
Philip said to Jesus: “Jesus, look. These got into action and passed the baskets they were all filled with fresh and sweet
people have been following you around for around. All had their fill. smelling loaves. He flipped his finger
the whole day. Now it is evening and this again. About 20 baskets appeared
“Collect what is left over,” said Jesus.
place is deserted. Where will they go?” close to the water. Jesus looked at the
After going around a little Judas said: water and waved a sign as if to welcome
“Well, are you going to do something for “Sorry Lord, nothing is left over this something. Immediately hundreds of big
them?” Jesus asked with a smile. time.” fish began to swim to the shore and by
 Don bosco october 2008
V A LU E S

themselves jumped into those baskets. produced forty more baskets it would
His onlookers were dumbfounded! A still not be enough! I can produce for
third time he flipped his fingers and your need, not for your greed. My Father
small bundles of firewood gathered in My father’s daily too will not do it!”
several places and caught fire. They
were the ovens for cooking the fish.
miracles are in vain, he Jesus continued: “What I have done for
Jesus ordered: “Take this and distribute multiples the grain you you three times, my Father does all over
the world. He multiplies bread daily!
it among the people. Let them eat to
their satisfaction.” Saying this, Jesus left
sow and the fish in the Raise your eyes and look at the fields.
them, walking a few feet away and began sea. And yet there is You drop a grain of wheat on the ground
to pray alone to the Father. and the earth produces a hundred. Is
starvation. that not a miracle? Which of you with all
His silent meditation was interrupted by your wisdom and skill can do that? Look
some noise in the crowd. Looking up, he saw at the sea. The fishes multiply in millions.
that there was some confusion. A section All that is my Father’s work. Then why is
of the crowd was on its feet shouting while entire baskets; and some were obviously food running short? Why are there poor
some were eating and some others leaving over-eating. Naturally the food was not people among you? Look at the animals
the place with some bundles. enough for all! in the forest. The rabbits eat the grass
Simon and James, the son of Alphaeus “Gather the crowd together again,” Jesus the wolfs eat the rabbit and the lions eat
were coming over to Jesus. ordered. No one had the courage to say the wolves. But they never run short of
“What is the problem? Have you collected anything to him. They moved close to food! Why? Because they satisfy their
the left overs?” asked Jesus. him and sat down, including those who need, not gather out of greed.”
did not get enough food. Obviously they “ You know what I am talking about. But
“Left overs?” quipped James. “Lord, we
were the poorest of the lot! He let his it pains me to tell you that you will not
are running short.”
eyes wander over the crowd, observing learn the lesson. It will always be a pain
“Running short?” Jesus almost shouted. the well-fed and the famished, the fittest in the heart of my Father, that there will
“What you produced is not enough,” and the weakest, the grabbing and the be poor, marginalized, deprived and
said Simon. “Look there, some people deprived! Finally his eyes also halted on exploited people among you. Are they
on their feet. They did not get anything. his apostles, who were in-charge of the not his children, and your brothers and
Could you please…errr..” just distribution! sisters? My Father’s daily miracles are
“Yes…?” “I have something to tell you all,” Jesus in vain, as what I have done today has
“…Multiply some more bread?” began. been. I shall not multiply bread for you
Jesus looked straight into their eyes. again. If you have not learnt so far, you
“The first time you did your part and I
They looked down on the ground. He will not learn even if I do it several times.
did mine. All of you ate well, and there
got up and walked towards the crowd. Let him who have ears listen, and let him
were twelve baskets left over. The second
First he saw the Bartholomew and Judas who has a heart understand!”
time I did it all, and nothing was left over.
Iscariot standing there protecting seven Yet I know that I produced more than The crowd got up to go home. Jesus
baskets of bread and three of fish. enough. Then you came searching for sat down, closed his eyes and remained
“What is this for?” Jesus demanded. me all the way to this unusual place. This silent. When most of them had left, he
time I worked this miracle in a dramatic opened his eyes to see a few people still
Iscariot hesitated and said: “We have put manner, against my own wish. And now, seated there and sharing their bread
these aside for you and for ourselves… food is not enough.” and fish. Water filled his eyes. They were
I am… the administrator of our group tears of joy. He was overjoyed to see that
and I thought of reserving something for Not even a leaf moved.
while most people had stomachs, some
ourselves.” “How would it be enough?” Jesus asked people also had a heart! How he wished
and paused. Several in the crowd lowered he could multiply these! But he knew that
“So much? I see that you are wise and
they eyes. The message was going home not even he, the Son of Almighty God,
prudent leaders of my Church,” remarked
slowly, at least for those who had ears could do it with a flip of his fingers!
Jesus with obvious irony in his voice.
to hear.
Moving further he saw that were leaving
with bundles of food, collected for a “Look at these poor people, hungry K. Maria Arokiam sdb
few days to come; some had grabbed and without food. Is it my fault? Had I mariaarokiam.kanaga@gmail.com
Don bosco october 2008 
va l u es

STORIES FOR RADIANT LIVING


The Red And Blue Coat
O nce there were two boys who
were great friends, and they
were determined to remain that
friends saw that his coat was red on one side and blue on
the other.
way forever. When they grew up The two friends stopped fighting and screamed at the
and got married, they built their trickster saying, “We have lived side by side like brothers
houses facing one another. all our lives, and it is all your fault that we are fighting. You
There was a small path that have started a war between us.”
formed a border between “Don’t blame me for the battle,” replied the trickster. “I did
their farms. not make you fight. Both of you are wrong, and both of you
One day, a trickster from the are right. Yes, what each one saw was true. You are fighting
village decided to play a trick because you only looked at my coat from your own point
on them. He dressed himself of view.”
in a two-color coat that was -An African Story
divided down the middle. So, one
side of the coat was red, and the One step at a time
other side was blue.
The trickster wore this coat and walked along the narrow
A certain man had to go out to another town miles away.
It was night and pitch dark, and all he had was a tiny
little lantern which could,
path between the houses of the two friends. They were
at most, light a couple
each working opposite each other in their fields. The
of steps. Because the
trickster made enough noise as he passed them to make
journey seemed so long,
sure that each of them would look up and see him passing.
and the night dark, he was
At the end of the day, one friend said to the other, “Wasn’t depressed and unsure
that a beautiful red coat that man was wearing today?” - unsure of reaching his
destination with only this
“No”, the other replied. “It was a blue coat.”
tiny light.
“I saw the man clearly as he walked between us!” said the
While he stood at his
first, “His coat was red.”
door utterly frustrated
“You are wrong!” said the other man, “I saw it too, and it and helpless, an old man
was blue.” happened to appear and
asked him why he was
“I know what I saw!” insisted the first man. “The coat was
standing at his door with a
red!”
lantern.
“You don’t know anything,” the second man replied
The man replied that he really did not know what to do;
angrily. “It was blue!”
though he was all set for the journey, it appeared so long,
They kept arguing about this over and over, insulted each and the night so dark, that his small lantern could not really
other, and eventually, they began to beat each other and be of much use.
roll around on the ground.
The old Man explained to him that it was not necessary to
Just then, the trickster returned and faced the two men, have a light big enough to illuminate the whole way.
who were punching and kicking each other and shouting,
‘As you proceed’ he said, ‘the light will move with you, so
“Our friendship is OVER!”
that the next one or two steps will always be clear. All you
The trickster walked directly in front of them, and showed need to do is to hold on to this light and start walking.
them his coat. He laughed at their silly fight. The two
32 Don bosco october 2008
va l u es

THERE IS ALWAYS A BETTER WAY THE BULLS TAIL


A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet.
He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.” There
were only a few coins in the hat.
A young man wished to marry the farmer’s
beautiful daughter. He went to the farmer to
ask his permission. The farmer looked at him
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and and said, “Son, go stand out in that field. I’m
dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, going to release three bulls, one at a time. If you
and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone can catch the tail of any one of the three bulls,
who walked by would see the new words. you can marry my daughter.”

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving
money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed
the sign came to see how things were. The blind boy recognized
his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my
sign this morning? What did you write?”
The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a
different way.”
What he had written was: “Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.”
The first sign simply told people to help by putting some money in
the hat. The second sign told people that they were able to enjoy
the beauty of the day, but the boy could not enjoy it because he
The young man stood in the pasture awaiting the
was blind. There is always a better way of saying things
first bull. The barn door opened and out ran the
The Smuggler biggest, meanest-looking bull he had ever seen.
He decided that one of the next bulls had to be a
A clever smuggler came to the border with a donkey. The
donkey’s back was heavily loaded with straw. The official at the
border was suspicious and pulled apart the man’s bundles till there
better choice than this one, so he ran over to the
side and let the bull pass through the pasture .
was straw all around, but not a valuable thing in the straw was The barn door opened again. Unbelievable. He
found. “But I’m certain you’re smuggling something,” the official had never seen anything so big and fierce in
said, as the man crossed the border. his life. It stood pawing the ground, it eyed him.
Whatever the next bull was like, it had to be a
Now each day for ten years the man came to the border with a
better choice than this one. He ran to the fence
donkey. Although the official searched and searched the straw
bundles on the donkey’s back, he never could find anything and let the bull pass through the pasture.
valuable hidden in them. The door opened a third time. A smile came
Many years later, after the official had retired, he happened to meet across his face. This was the weakest bull he
that same smuggler in a marketplace and said, “Please tell me, I had ever seen. This one was his bull. As the
beg you. Tell me, what were you smuggling?” bull came running by, he positioned himself just
right and jumped at just the exact moment. He
“Donkeys,” said the man. grabbed... but the bull had no tail!
Life is full of opportunities. Some will be easy
to take advantage of, some will be difficult.
But once we let them pass (often in hopes of
something better), those opportunities may
never again be available. So always grab the
first opportunity

A.J. Frank sdb


ajfrankie@gmail.com
Don bosco october 2008 33