The Three Wishes

An old English Fairy Tale

One winter evening a poor peasant was sitting near the fire talking with his wife about one of their neighbours who was a rich man.

“If only I had a little money myself,” he said, “I should open my own shop”.

“I,” answered his wife, “should not be satisfied with that, I should be happy if I lived in a big house, and then, if I saw people like ourselves, I should help them and try to make everybody happy. But what is the use of talking, we are no longer I the time of fairies. If only I could meet one of them, it would not take me long to decide what to ask of her.”

Hardly has she said these words when a beautiful young lade appeared in their room and told them she was a fairy willing to grant them the first three wishes. But she said they should choose with care as she could allow them no more than three wishes. Then the beautiful fairy disappeared.

At first the husband and wife were astonished. Then they began discussing the first wish that it would be best to have. They quarreled for a long time and finally decided to wish nothing for a while and put it off till the next day.

The woman looked at the bright fire and said without thinking:

“Oh! It would not be a bad thing to have good sausage for our supper.”

She had hardly finished these words when a long thick sausage fell on their table. The husband got very angry and began scolding his wife.

“Isn’t that a fine wish?! A sausage! You are such a stupid woman! I wish this sausage would stick to your nose!”

This was hardly said when the sausage jumped up and stuck to the poor woman’s nose.

“What have you done?!” cried the frightened woman.

The husband understood that he himself had been even more foolish than his wife, but no matter how he tried he could not tear the sausage off his wife’s nose. Continue reading “The Three Wishes”

The Gate without a Latch

There was a farmer who had a little gate which opened from his yard into a field. This little gate wanted a latch and therefore would not be fastened.

The result was that the gate was generally either flapping backward and forward in the wind or standing wide open.

In this way the poultry used to get out and the cattle used to get in. It took up half the children’s time to run after the chicks and drive them back into the yard and send the cattle back into the field.

“If you don’t mend the latch”, said the farmer’s wife, “the cattle will spoil all the kitchen garden”.

But the farmer replied, “If I bought a latch, it would cost me sixpenny, but it is not worth while”.

So the gate remained without a latch.

One day a fat pig got out of its sty and, as the gate was wide open, ran into the field.

“Oh, you fool”, Continue reading “The Gate without a Latch”

What His Life Was Worth

Robert Burns*, a great Scottish poet, loved common people and wrote for them. Though he had little formal education, he was well-read and talented. He became famous when his first poems were published in 1786. He was known as a very witty man.

One day when Robert Burns was walking near the docks, he hears a cry for help. He ran towards the water. At that moment he saw a young sailor jump off a boat that stood near the dock. The sailor began to swim towards the man who was calling for help. Though it was not easy, the sailor saved the man. The man who was saved from drowning was a very rich merchant. He thanked the brave sailor and gave him a shilling. The sailor was embarrassed.

A large crowd of people gathered round them. All the people considered the sailor to be a hero. They were displeased when the rich man gave the brave sailor only a shilling. Many of the people shouted loudly and protested against it. But the rich merchant did not pay any attention to them.

At that moment Robert Burns approached the crowd and wondered what the matter was. He was told the whole story. He was not surprised at the behaviour of the rich merchant and said: “Let him alone. The gentleman is the best judge of what his life is worth”.

*Robert Burns – 1765-1796 – born near the town of Era in Scotland.

The Four Wives

There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much. He’s very proud of her and always wanted to show off her to his friends. However, the merchant is always in great fear that she might run away with some other men.

He too, loved his 2nd wife. She is a very considerate person, always patient and in fact is the merchant’s confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times.

Now, the merchant’s 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.

One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, “Now I have 4 wives with me. But when I die, I’ll be alone. How lonely I’ll be!”

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word.
The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant’s heart.

The sad merchant then asked the 3rd wife, “I have loved you so much for all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!” replied the 3rd wife. “Life is so good over here! I’m going to remarry when you die!” The merchant’s heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, “I always turned to you for help and you’ve always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can only send you to your grave.” The answer came like a bolt of thunder and the merchant was devastated.

Then a voice called out: Continue reading “The Four Wives”

A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-5

This incident occurred in Noakhali. After the Hindu-Muslim riots Gandhiji toured the area on foot to reassure and comfort the people. He would set off from a village soon after dawn and arrive at the next village after sunset. On arrival he would first attend to his work then he would take a bath.

Gandhiji used a rough stone to clean his feet. Miraben had given this stone to him many years ago and Gandhiji had kept it carefully ever since. He took it with him everywhere.

One evening after they had arrived at a village and Manu was getting Gandhiji’s bath ready, she noticed that the stone was missing. She looked everywhere but could not find it. Continue reading “A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-5”

19 Horses

One rich man owned 19 horses when he died. In his last will and testament he had written that upon his death, half the horses he owned should go to his only son; one fourth to the village temple and one fifth to the faithful servant. The village elders could not stop scratching their heads. How can they give half of the 19 horses to the son? You cannot cut up a horse. They puzzled over this dilemma for more than two weeks and then decided to send for a wise man who was living in a neighbouring village.

The wise man came riding on his horse and asked the villagers if he can be of any help to them. The village elders told him about the rich man’s last will and testament which stated that half of the (19) horses must be given to his only son, one fourth must go to the temple and one fifth to the faithful servant.

The wise man said he will immediately solve their problem without any delay whatsoever. He had the 19 horses placed in a row standing next to one another. Then he added his own horse as the 20 th horse. Now he went about giving half of the 20 horses, that is ten horses to the son. One fourth of 20- that is 5 horses were given to the temple committee. One fifth of twenty- that is 4 horses were given to the faithful servant. Ten plus five plus four made 19 horses. The remaining 20th horse was his own which he promptly mounted, spoke a few inspiring words, and rode back home.

The villagers were simply dumfounded, full of disbelief and filled with admiration. And the parting words of the wise man were Continue reading “19 Horses”

A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-4

Children loved visiting Gandhiji. A little boy who was there one day, was greatly distressed to see the way Gandhiji was dressed. Such a great man yet he doesn’t even wear a shirt, he wondered. “Why don’t you wear a kurta, Gandhiji?” the little boy couldn’t help asking finally. “Where’s the money, son?” Gandhiji asked gently. “I am very poor. I can’t afford a kurta.” The boy’s heart was filled with pity. “My mother sews well”, he said. “She makes all my clothes. I’ll ask her to sew a Kurta for you.” “How many Kurtas can your mother make?” Gandhiji asked.

“How many do you need?” asked the boy. “One, two, three…. she’ll make as many as you want.” Gandhiji thought for a moment. Then he said, “But I am not alone, son. It wouldn’t be right for me to be the only one to wear a kurta.” Continue reading “A Story from Gandhiji’s Life-4”

Growing Good Corn

There was a Nebraska farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon…

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves.

Those who choose to be at peace must help their neighbors to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

Love. Just Invite It.

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don’t think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.”

“Is the man of the house home?”, they asked. “No”, she said. “He’s out.” “Then we cannot come in”, they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened. “Go tell them I am home and invite them in!” The woman went out and invited the men in. “We do not go into a House together,” they replied. “Why is that?” she wanted to know.

One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!!”, he said. “Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”

His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?” Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

“Let us heed our daughter-in-law’s advice,” said the husband to his wife. “Go out and invite Love to be our guest.”

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.”

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 Continue reading “Love. Just Invite It.”

How Much Love You Can Give

I asked God to take away my habit.

God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.

God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary

I asked God to grant me patience.

God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn’t granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.

God said, No. I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.

God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.

God said, No. You must grow on your own! But I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.

God said, No. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.

God said…Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.