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10 Beautiful and Inspiring Stories For Us All

 Since the beginning of time as we know it, man told stories. Sitting around the fire, the darkness held back but full of terrifying monsters, demigods and wild animals, the imagination of people served a valuable purpose. The teachings of life were passed on from mouth to ear for longer than we've had written language. For countless eons, we taught our children, who taught theirs, and so on and so on. So our wisdom was preserved. This collection offers you 10 beautiful and inspiring short stories that shed a light on real-life questions, and serve as a great way to remember what truly is important in life. Share these with all you think will benefit from them.

1. Who Packs your Parachutes in Life?

Parachute

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam.

After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile.

Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. 

He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said:

"You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft
carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

"I packed your parachute," the man replied. 

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. 

The man pumped his hand and said: "I guess it worked!" 

"It sure did," Plumb assured him.
"If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

That night, Plumb couldn't sleep, as he kept thinking about that man.

Plumb says:

"I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."

 Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, each time holding the fate of someone he didn't know in his hands.

Now, Plumb asks us: "Who's packing your parachute?" 

Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.

He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute.

He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes, in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. 

We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.

As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

And most importantly, show them your appreciation, gratitude and give them some attention - share this message with them.

You may not even know these people yet, so allow your kindness to have no boundaries whatsoever. 

 You'll never know who might be packing your parachute right now...

 

2. King Solomon’s Ring 

King solomon story

One day, King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, wanted to test the integrity and wisdom of his faithful servant. The King summoned his servant and asked him to carry out a task, knowing that it could not be completed. King Solomon said: "The Feast of Tabernacles is in 6 months, and I would like to wear a magic ring for the holiday. Any person who is sad and looks at the ring will become happy and any happy person who looks at the ring will become sad.”

The faithful servant immediately went on the journey in the search of the mysterious ring. A month passed, two months passed, and the servant, who visited every jeweler and peddler in the kingdom, remained without the ring. Two more months passed, and the servant reached the limits of the kingdom, but he had yet to find anyone who had heard of such a magical ring.

Over time, the faithful servant became frustrated. With all his might he wanted to fulfill his master's wish, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not find the mysterious ring. He was depressed and almost gave up, until one day before the Feast of Tabernacles, he arrived at the small workshop of a poor jeweler in a small village.

The servant, who had nothing to lose, asked the old silversmith: "Tell me, sir, have you ever heard of a magical ring that causes the sad to become happy and the happy to become sad?" The old silversmith thought for a second, took out a small copper ring from one of the drawers, scratched it and handed it to the servant. The servant, who for the past few months had lost all hope, gave one glance at the inscription on the ring, and his eyes lit up. He thanked the silversmith, paid him a bag of gold coins, and hurried to the king's palace.

When the servant finally arrived at the King's Palace, Solomon was very happy and rejoiced. He did not believe that his servant would really come back to him with a ring. The servant handed the ring to his master, the wise king gave it one look and the smile immediately disappeared from his face. All the courtiers were curious to see what was written on the magical ring, and finally, when they looked at it, they saw the following simple sentence: "Despite everything, this too will pass" 
This simple sentence contains a truth that we must cherish in our hearts - even if it feels like everything is going great and we're on top of the world, we must remember that all this might disappear one day. On the other hand, and this is the happy side of the rule, all the suffering, all the frustration, all the difficult times we sometimes experience, these too will pass and be forgotten.

 

3. The Suspended Coffee 

Cup of coffee

On a cold, stormy winter day, an old friend invited me out for a cup of coffee.

We met by his house, and as we walked down the street, we passed by a small café with a sign hanging on their door that read: "You’re welcome in, we have suspended coffee."

"Suspended coffee?" I asked my friend. "What does that mean?"
 
"You've never heard of it?" my friend asked, and I shook my head. "Follow me," he told me, and we joined the line of people standing in front of the cash register.
 
"What can I offer you today?" The cashier asked a couple of young lawyers who were looking at the menu.
 
"I think we'll take three cups of coffee," one of them said. "2 now, and 1 suspended."
 
The cashier nodded, as if it were an ordinary order, took payment and placed two cups of hot coffee on the counter. The two thanked him, took the two cups and left without waiting for the third.

The next in line was an older couple.
 
"Same order as always?" The cashier smiled at them. "Yes, thank you," replied the woman. "But please add two suspended coffees, we haven’t purchased any of those in a while."
 
A few minutes later the couple received their order, and our turn to order arrived.
 
"Good Morning!" Said the cashier. "How can I help you?"
 
"I think we'd like two cups of coffee," my friend said. "We'll drink them here."

When our order was ready, we took our cups and sat down to drink them together.
 
"Will you tell me what this is about?" I asked my friend, but he just said: "wait and see."
 
Our conversation flowed, and before we noticed it, nearly two hours passed. Our coffee cups were already empty, but we laughed at shared stories, reminisced about past memories, and didn’t look at the clock even once.

The café was almost empty of people when the door suddenly opened and a man in old shabby clothes and a tired look came in and stood quietly in front of the cash register. He thought for a moment and then asked quietly:
"Do you have a suspended coffee?"
 
The cashier smiled and nodded, poured the man a cup of hot coffee and placed it in front of him.
 
The man thanked him, took the glass and left.
 
No one else seemed to take notice of this moment, which appeared to be ordinary in this café, but I could not help but be moved by this little gesture.
 
"Anyone who wants can prepay for a cup of coffee for someone less fortunate without making them feel bad." My friend told me when he saw my expression. "The cup of coffee waits for anyone interested in it, and who knows better than us what a warm cup of coffee can do for a cold a dreary day."
 
When we got up to leave, I stopped for a moment and went back to the cash register.
 
"Can I offer you something else?" Asked the cashier.
 
"I just wanted to buy another cup of coffee." I took my wallet out of my pocket and put a bill on the table. "suspended, if that’s okay."

A small act of generosity on the part of one person can change another’s whole day, but often those who need it may feel uncomfortable or ashamed to ask for something that can help them. If we all look around, I'm sure we’d see at least one person that we can help. No matter how little we think we’re doing, the people who need it most will appreciate it!

This beautiful story is based on a real initiative by several cafes around the world who decided to help those who can’t buy a cup of coffee at the beginning or end of their day. There’s no doubt that this is a heart-warming gesture that we would like to see a lot more.

 

4. The Bridge

This is a story of two brothers who lived side by side on their own farms for many years, until one day, a foolish argument caused a rift between them. This was the first serious disagreement the brothers had in all of their 50 years. Up until that day, they always worked their fields together, shared knowledge and produce, and lent a helping hand to one another in times of need.

The fight began over a small misunderstanding, which can sometimes happen, but the dispute dragged on and became an angry exchange of words, followed by weeks of silence.

One day, there was a knock on the older brother’s door. When he opened it, he was facing an old, bearded carpenter, holding a toolbox. “I could sure use some work, sir,” said the stranger. “Do you need any repairs on your farm?” “Yes”, replied the brother. “I’ve got a job for you. Across the creek, there’s a farm that happens to belong to my younger brother.

Until recently, the whole area between our homes was green, but then he changed the creek’s path, making it into a border between us. I’m sure he did that for spite, but I’ll show him…” said the older brother. “You see those trees by the barn? I want you to turn them into a 10-foot tall fence. I never want to see his face again.”

The old carpenter thought quietly to himself for a few minutes and eventually said: “I see”.

The farmer helped the carpenter carry his tools and the wood and then drove off to the city on some errands. When he came back in the evening, the old carpenter had finished. Upon arriving at the creek, the older brother was stunned. His eyes were bulging out, and he couldn’t utter a single word.

Where a fence should have been standing, a bridge now stood. A quaint and special bridge, truly a work of art, with an intricately carved banister. At the same time, the younger brother happened to come to the same spot. He rushed over the bridge and embraced his older brother, and said: 

“You’re something special… building a bridge, after all, I’ve said and done!” While both brothers were hugging, the old carpenter collected his tools and started walking away. The brothers turned to him and said: “Please, stay for a few more days – we have more things that need fixing.” “I would have loved to stay, kind sirs,” said the carpenter. “But I have many more bridges to build and things to fix in other places…”

The moral of our story is a simple one: We often let anger push us away from our loved ones and allow pride to come before our love. Don’t let it happen to you. Learn to forgive and appreciate what you have.

Remember: The past cannot be changed, but the future can be. No quarrel can spoil a true connection. Build your bridges when you have to, and always cross them with a smile.

 

5. How the Sun Died so that the Moon Could Live

Sun and Moon

At the dawn of time, when the universe was still young, the earth and the sky lived in harmony, but the sky would always look down at the earth and grow envious. The sky wanted to be more beautiful than the earth, so it birthed the sun and the moon and set them to roam the sky’s vast expanses. The oldest was the sun, shining brightly, and his sister the moon was small and cold, but they never parted. The sun would warm his sister, and let her shine as well. The sky was happy with his creation – as the sun and the moon roamed the firmament, it made it look much more beautiful than the earth, which was gray, brown, and black.

After a time, the sky noticed that, as they circled it from above, the sun and the moon were changing the earth. The sun’s heat caused plants to grow, filling the earth with shades of green. The moon moved the earth’s seas, carving beautiful shores and cliffs. It did not take long for the earth to be filled with colors and life, much to the sky’s dismay.

Frustrated, the sky decided to do away with his creations. Summoning the sun, it congratulated it for all the beautiful changes it made to the earth and said that he could do even more. The sun was curious, and so it followed the sky to a volcano. Sky told the sun that if it truly loved the earth, it would jump inside and give her more heat.

Unsure if it was wise, but bereft of his sister the moon’s advice, the sun put his trust in the sky. This was the first time the sun was away from his sister, and he felt lonely without her. The sky filled the sun’s imagination with all the beauty and diversity the earth would gain from him. “But, should I not ask the moon for her opinion?” he asked, and the sky told him that it would be a surprise for her, and would make her happy. Convinced, the sun jumped into the volcano and feasted on the boiling lava, which made him grow.

When the sun’s light disappeared, the earth and the moon searched for it throughout the firmament, yet they could not find him. When they asked the sky, he replied that he does not know where the sun is.

Sometime later, the sun got so big and hot that the volcano erupted, spewing it out. The sun’s intense heat now burnt everything it touched, so it rushed up to the heavens, hoping not to burn the earth. Alas, it was in vain, and his intense heat was burning the earth, turning it brown and desolate. The heat was so terrible that even the moon couldn’t stand it, and she ran and hid in the seas of the earth.

As the sun traversed the firmament, all that he approached suffered from his blaze. As he looked down at the earth, it saw the earth brown and dying, and his sister cowering from him in its seas. The sun did not wish to harm anyone, so to amend for his mistake, he threw himself into the sea, hoping to drown himself. When the heat and shine diminished, the moon left the sea in search of the sun. 

Looking down, she saw a dim glow coming from the earth’s sea and followed it. The moon’s brother has lost most of its shine, yet the little that was left was still enough to guide her to him. As the moon found the sun’s body floating in the water, she wept, as she could not imagine ever existing without him. As her tears reached his lifeless body, they filled it up with a new life. His sister’s love has given him a new life, and he began to shine once more, but his heat still burnt her body.

The sun rushed up to the firmament, and the renewed light filled the earth with life once more, but the moon could not withstand the heat and was forced to hide in the sea. The sun’s heart grew heavy, knowing that he was the reason his sister can no longer roam the firmament freely, and so he once more plunged himself into the seas to free his sister. But the moon would only ascent to the firmament again in search of him, only to find him drowned once more, and her new tears would revive him.

When the sky saw the disaster he had wrought, he was filled with regret. The sun and the moon’s misery had touched him deeply, and he thought of a solution. He filled the firmament with stars so that the moon would not be lonely, and at times, he would come between the sun and the moon so that they may roam the firmament together, if only for a time.

 

6. The Cycle of Anger – A Touching Story!

Angry dog

Many times we hear that the way we respond to situations will dictate how our day will look, and not necessarily the situations themselves. If you are careful to maintain a positive attitude in your life, you have already learned this, and if not, the following story will show you how a negative approach to life can be destructive and harmful not only to you but to your environment as a whole and why it is so important to change it. This is without doubt one of the most powerful parables because we all are familiar with the situations described from our personal lives. This parable teaches what the cycle of anger is and how it can be broken so that we can live a life full of joy and happiness.

The CEO of a big insurance company left his house in the morning and headed towards his car. When he opened his car door, a dog who was hiding beneath it, jumped out and bit his leg. The CEO, who at this point was very angry at the dog, kicked him and the dog ran away.

When he arrived at the office, the CEO held a meeting with all the associates beneath him. Throughout the whole meeting, he yelled a lot, insultingly pointed out their mistakes, and took his anger out on them.

 The managers felt very bad after the meeting and took their anger out on their employees who took their anger out on the people who worked beneath them – and so the chain of anger reached the office maintenance man.

At the end of the day, the maintenance man went home. His wife opened the door for him and asked, “why are you coming home so late,” and he yelled at her and said, “I didn’t go to the office to play I went to work! Don’t make me angry with your questions!”

The wife felt that the husband yelled at her for no reason and took her own anger at the situation out on her child who was watching television in the living room: “This is what you do all day, don’t you have homework to do?! I’m shutting the T.V off now!”

The upset child left the house to let off some steam and started throwing rocks in the neighborhood streets. One of the rocks hit a dog who was in the area.
It was the same dog that bit the CEO in the morning, and the same story repeated itself the next day.

In this world, there are things that may anger or stress us out that pass from person to person. Each of us has the responsibility to understand this cycle of anger, to catch it in time and to stop it. When you find yourself in an upsetting situation, instead of passing your anger on to others, swap the negative feeling out for a positive one. Choose the feeling you want to feel more and spread it to others making sure it has lots of room in your life.

 

 

7. Eternal Life 

Eternal life

In one house lived a happy little family: two parents, a child and a grandfather. Every night the boy heard stories from his grandfather about his life and his past, and sometimes he thought that his grandfather had an endless reservoir of frightening, amusing, and fascinating stories to tell, and each one had a lesson to teach.

After a long period in which the family lived happily, the years started to take their toll on the grandfather and he began to note every day that soon his day will come, and his life will come to an end. The boy heard him say these words every day and tried to think of how his grandfather could live an eternal life, or at least a few more years. "Grandfather, I think I know how you can live another 60, 70, even 80 years!" He said.

"I have lived a long life and saw many things, and now I have a few more months if God is generous, my time has come," he said.

"But before you go, I have one request for you - can you write all the stories you told me every night before bedtime? I'd love to have something left of you when you go," said the grandson.

The grandson's request moved the grandfather very much, and he immediately took a notebook and wrote all the stories he had told his grandson over the years about his life. Although it was very hard for him to remember every single detail of the stories, he managed to get them on the pages as best he could, and two weeks later he gave the full notebook to his grandson.

The grandson read the stories eagerly, and after he finished reading the last story tears ran down his cheeks. The grandson went to his grandfather with the notebook in his hand, and after the grandfather wiped the tears from the grandson's face, he asked him: "Why are you crying, is this because these are not exactly the same stories I told you in the past?”

The grandson immediately interrupted his grandfather and said, "No grandfather, it's not that, the stories are wonderful and they just moved me and proved what I thought - that you can live forever."

The grandfather smiled and said: "I agree with you that these stories will remain even after I leave this world, but they are not me, only my stories."

The grandson replied: "Perhaps they are only stories for you, but when I read them and let your words seep into my heart, I felt that you were beside me, and even after I finished reading the stories, your soul remained with me in your wise words."

"I do not know if I can give you back the part of your soul that is inside me, and I do not know if I want to, I still don’t understand some of your stories, but I'm sure that I will still remember them, they will continue to live within me with your soul, as long as I live."

The grandfather was full of emotion and thoughts, some happy and some sad, but the grandson was not finished yet...

"Through your stories, Grandpa, you shared with me your experiences and your thoughts, I want you to know that they will never disappear and that you will continue to live through me and that you will always be in my heart," he said.

From the grandson's wise words, we can learn that no matter what our age, we would all like to live a few more years on earth, but eventually each of our lives will come to a close.  However, our lives and our influence on others do not stop after our death. If you share your wisdom, your worldview and your experience with others, your soul will live within them, and so will your ideas and point of view. Share your wisdom with your friends, family, and the next generation - it may seem today that there is a lack of interest, but these will be the most meaningful things that will remain with them in their souls, and someday they will appreciate all the stories and wisdom they heard from the people who are no longer with them but still live within them.
 

 

8. The Old Storyteller and the Sad Young Woman

Inspiring story - old lady

In a little town, far far away, there was a little old woman whose years were beyond counting. This old woman was famed as a wise storyteller, and many would make the trip to this little secluded place, just to ask for her advice.

One day, a young woman, her beautiful faced twisted by sadness and tears, approached the old storyteller. 

"May I ask a question?" She asked her, as they sat in the market square. It was quiet, early morning, and only they were there.

"Of course, child." said the storyteller as she carefully marked her place in her book. "Tell me what brings such hurt to your eyes."

"My problem," said the young woman painfully, "is that I am good-for-nothing, I just don't... fit in with anything. I've tried so many careers, and wasn't suitable for any of them."

The wise old woman slowly nodded and stroked her pipe.

"I've lived in many places and never did I feel I belonged." 

The old woman smiled.

"I've dated many men but have never found my true love."

"I've-" 

"Let me stop you there..." Said the storyteller, lifting a hand to halt the onslaught of worried words.

The woman quieted, breathing heavily.

"... and tell you a story. Isn't that why you came here?" She smiled and took a puff on her pipe.

"It may surprise you, perhaps hard to even imagine looking at this old face, but a long time ago, I was in a similar situation as yours. I too felt different from everyone else, and nowhere did I seem to belong. But I did not have a wise old storyteller to ask for advice, and so I went on a long journey to find the answer my soul sought.

Long indeed was the journey. I crossed streams and rivers, hiked up hills and mountains, found forgotten places and wondrous creatures and men, but never did an answer I found. Until one day.
On that day, while walking through a field next to a village I cannot recall the name of anymore, there was a little brick wall, perhaps 5 foot tall, next to a little house. But that was not what caught my eye, no. What caught my eye were three archery practicing targets on the wall, and in the exact bullseye of each of them was an arrow, stuck as firmly as could be."

 

The old lady stopped for a little puff on her pipe while the young lady did a little jig of impatience with her feet.

"In all my journeys, I have seen many great archers, so I know it to be a hard discipline. I was amazed to find such talent at such a humble place. Then I noticed a little girl peeking at me from the cottage door. Come I bade her and she did. And I asked her: "Dear child, do you know who is the archer who put these arrows in those targets?" She blushed and answered that she was that archer.
I was even more amazed and asked her how she became such an extraordinary shot at such a young age. She blushed further and, in a whispering voice, admitted that she had stuck the arrows in the wall and then painted the targets around them..."

The old woman chuckled softly while the young woman made a puzzled face. 

"I don't understand..."

"That was the moment I learned about the essence of things, my child. You cannot find a place to own you before you own yourself. You must recognize who YOU are, and build a place around you that suits you. In other words, find what you truly wish for and build a life around it. Make life work itself around you, instead of trying to find where you belong. Perhaps the place you belong to is a place you are yet to create."

The young woman thanked her for her wisdom, dried her tears, straightened her back and walked purposefully away.

We can all learn a lot from that old woman's tale.

 

9. The Death of "I Can’t"

Inspiring story - i can't

We often find ourselves in situations that challenge us, and we often give up on these challenges, claiming that we can’t. The next story is dedicated to every person who ever said to themselves, 'I can’' and my hope is that you will take this message to heart and work on your 'I can' because, as a wise man once said, "If you will it, it is no dream."

Donna's class looked like all the other classrooms. The students sat in five columns, each with six tables. The teacher's desk was in front. On the notice board hung the works of students. It seemed a perfectly ordinary class, but something was completely different the day I walked into it for the first time - a feeling of excitement accompanied me.

Donna was a teacher in a small town in Michigan, two years before her retirement. In addition to being a teacher, she volunteered to participate in a national project I organized. The studies focused on subjects in art that would make students feel better about themselves and take responsibility for their lives. Donna had to take part in my classes and pass on to her class what was being taught in the project. My job was to visit her class and encourage this process.

I sat in an empty chair at the back of the room and watched. All the students were given the task of writing down their thoughts and ideas.

A ten-year-old student sitting next to me filled her page with "I can’t" sentences. "I can’t play football", "I can’t do long division", "I can’t get Deborah to like me." Her page was already half full and she showed no sign of giving up. She continued to work with determination.

I walked around the classroom and looked at the other students’ papers. They all described things they could not do. "I can’t do ten push-ups," "I can’t climb over the fence," "I can’t eat just one cookie."The activity intrigued me, so I decided to check with the teacher what was going on. When I reached her, I noticed that she was also writing. I felt better not to disturb. "I can’t get John's mother to come to the parents' meeting," "I can’t get my daughter to fill the car’s gas tank," "I can’t teach Alan to use words instead of fists."

As I tried to understand why the teacher and the students were writing negative thoughts, I went back to my place and continued to observe. For another ten minutes, they all continued to work. Most of them filled their pages, others took another page.

"Finish what you’re writing right now and don’t start a new page," the teacher said.

The students were ordered to fold the papers and bring them to the teacher's table. They put the papers in an empty shoebox. When all the papers were placed in a box, the teacher put the lid in place, took the box and went out into the corridor. The students followed her and I went with them.

Everyone stopped in the corridor.

Donna went into the janitor’s closet and came out with a shovel. With the shovel in one hand and the box in the other, Donna and the student convoy followed her to the farthest corner of the school playground. There Donna started digging. They were going to bury their 'I can't! The excavation lasted about ten minutes because all the students wanted to participate. When the hole was quite deep, the box was placed at the bottom and covered with dirt.

Thirty ten-year-olds stood around the fresh 'grave'. Each of them had at least one "I can’t” page in the same box. And so did the teacher.

At this stage, Donna announced, "Boys and girls, please hold hands and bow your head." They formed a circle around the pit and held hands. Donna made a speech.

"Friends, we are gathered here today in memory of 'I can’t.'" While he was with us on the face of the earth, he touched the lives of all of us, some more, some less, his name was mentioned in every public building, in schools, in municipalities, And yes, even in government offices. We erected a tombstone with “I cant’s” name engraved on it. His brothers and sisters will survive with us, 'I can,' 'I will,' and 'I am capable.' They are less known than their famous relative and certainly not as strong as he is. Perhaps one day, with your help, they will become stronger in our world. Rest in peace, 'I can’t,' and we will all continue to live our lives from this point on even in his absence. Amen".

As I listened to the eulogy I realized that these students would never forget this day. This activity was symbolic, a metaphor for life. It was an experience that would stick in their consciousness and sub-consciousness. Writing 'I can't', burying the pages and preparing a eulogy was a tremendous effort on the teacher’s part, and the ceremony was not yet over.

At the end of the eulogy, they went back into the classroom and had a feast with refreshments. As part of the celebration, Donna prepared a large tombstone from cardboard. She wrote "R.I.P I Can’t” and added the date at the bottom.

The monument hung in Donna's class until the end of that year. On the few occasions when one of the students forgot and said, "I can’t," Donna pointed to the cardboard tombstone and reminded him that 'I can’t' is already dead.

I was not one of Donna's students. She was my student. Still, that day she taught me a beautiful lesson.

Now, years later, whenever I hear the phrase 'I can’t,' I envision this unforgettable fourth-grade funeral. 

Like those students, I remember that 'I can’t' is already dead.

 

 

10. The Best Wish

Inspiring story - the best wish

Two angels in heaven were arguing about the souls on earth. One, a pessimist, felt that all souls were selfish and unworthy of redemption. The other, an optimist felt that they were good and kind. After much arguing, the two made a bet. The angel who felt people were selfish bet that the optimist couldn't find three good, kind people in three days. 

Disguising himself as a beggar, the optimist came down to earth wandering from town to town. He came to a small village where he heard of three brothers whose parents had died and left the boys a farm outside of town, which had a pear tree. The fruit from this tree fed them and also brought a good price in the market. The angel arrived at their home and asked the eldest brother if he could spare some fruit for a hungry man.

The brother looked at the man and said "this tree belongs not only to me but to my brothers. But here is the pear I would have had for lunch. You take it." 

The angel took the pear and thought him to be a good and kind man. 

The next day, the angel visited the home again. This time, the middle brother was watching the tree. Once again, he asked for some fruit from the tree. The middle brother told the angel that this tree belonged to his brothers too. But he offered the beggar his share instead. 

Pleased that the angel found two good souls, on the third day he visited the house again. This time, he asked the youngest brother, who like his other siblings offered his share. 

The angel was delighted. Not only had he found three good people in three days, they came from the same family. He decided to reward the brothers for their kind gesture.

The next morning, the angel appeared at their house, this time as a wealthy merchant. The brothers were amazed at the man standing at their door. The stranger asked them to take a walk through the countryside with him. He promised the boys that their fields and pear tree would be well cared for while they were away. 

While on their walk, the angel asked the eldest brother to make his best wish. The young man pointed to the sun-filled meadow and he wished it were a vineyard and that he had a winery and many servants who called him master.
The angel tapped his staff and vines with grapes filled the valley. As the young man walked toward his new life, the angel called out "Remember God's poor people."

He then took the two remaining brothers to an open pasture filled with blackbirds. He asked the middle brother to make a wish. The boy wished that the birds were sheep. He wished he had a mill in the valley and was a wealthy wool merchant with many servants. Upon tapping his staff, the middle brother received all that he wished for. As the middle brother walked toward his new life, the angel called out "Remember God's poor."

The angel then took the last brother to the top of a mountain, filled with valleys, oceans, and forests. He asked the young boy to make his best wish. The young man looked around and then turned to the angel, humbly asking him for someone to love me for who I am.

The angel, stunned, told the boy that this is a rare wish. The angel had to refer to his book to see what he could do, to which he then answered: "There are only three women in the world who could love you for who you are. Two are married. We'd better hurry to the third."

The pair then arrived at the court of a king whose daughter was set to be wed shortly. "Your majesty, I have brought a suitor for your daughter," the angel said. 

The king, stunned, replied: "Another? I have a king, two princes and a sultan in the next room. How can I pick the right man?"

"Your majesty, I have a solution. In your garden, you have five olive trees. Cut a branch from each one and plant them in a row. On each branch, tie the name of one suitor. Tomorrow, the branch that bears fruit will also bear the name you seek."

The king was happy with this idea. Upon inspecting the branches the next morning, he saw that 4 of the 5 branches were dried and withered, but the branch with the young farmer's name was alive and bore fruit. The farmer rejoiced and the princess and he were married soon after. The angel took them away to a small cottage at the edge of the woods and told them both: "Remember God's poor."

One year later the angel decided to see how the three brothers were doing. Disguising himself as a beggar the angel visited the oldest brother's vineyards. He knocked on the door and said: "Please sir, a taste of wine for a thirsty man."

"Away with you, " the brother shouted, "or I'll set my dogs on you if you don't leave at once." 

The angel tapped his staff and all of the man's vineyards disappeared. "Go back to your pear tree," the angel said. "You forgot God's poor!"

Next, the angel knocked at the wool merchant's mill. "Please sir, a scrap of cloth to warm my cold shoulders."

"Away with you!" shouted the brother. "I'll set my dogs on you if you don't leave at once."

The angel tapped his staff and all of the man's mill disappeared. "Go back to your pear tree. You forgot God's poor."

Finally, the angel walked up the path to the little cottage at the edge of the woods and knocked on the door. "Please sir, do you have some bread for a hungry man?"

The young man replied: "We don't have much, but what we have is yours."

The young couple offered bread and soup to the old man. They then proceeded to offer him some water, apologizing that they had nothing better to offer him. But as they poured a glass for the angel, sweet wine flowed. 

The angel took the young couple by the hand and led them to the top of a hill overlooking rows of pear trees and a beautiful house. 
"This is for you and your children," the angel said, "Because you remembered God's poor."

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