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MOTIVATIONAL & INSPIRATIONAL

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SHORT STORIES!

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Short Inspirational stories are powerful reads. The great thing about them is that they’re so easy to digest, and there’s always a moral at the end of the story.

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Whether they’re true stories or not is another thing, as many of them are legends supposedly hundreds of years old.

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However, the stories that I’m talking about are so powerful, motivational and inspirational that many of them really do get you thinking and even leave you speechless at times.

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I’ve been reading plenty of these short stories in the past couple of weeks and found the lessons behind them truly wonderful. So I’ve decided to share with you some of them each week ! Stay Tuned!

 

 

At the end of each story there is a short description of the moral of the story. 

1. The Group of Frogs (Encouragement)

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As a group of frogs was traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, they told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them.

However, the two frogs decided to ignore what the others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit. 

Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out.

Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling down to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.

 

He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

 

Moral of the story:

 

People’s words can have a big effect on other’s lives. Think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. It might just be the difference between life and death.

2. Box Full of Kisses (Love)

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Some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said,

“This is for you, Daddy.”

The man became embarrassed by his overreaction earlier, but his rage continue when he saw that the box was empty. He yelled at her;

“Don’t you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside?”

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried;

 “Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child.

Her father kept the gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

 

Moral of the story:

 

Love is the most precious gift in the world.

3. The Elephant Rope (Belief)

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A gentleman was walking through an elephant camp, and he spotted that the elephants weren’t being kept in cages or held by the use of chains.

All that was holding them back from escaping the camp, was a small piece of rope tied to one of their legs.

 

As the man gazed upon the elephants, he was completely confused as to why the elephants didn’t just use their strength to break the rope and escape the camp. They could easily have done so, but instead, they didn’t try to at all.

Curious and wanting to know the answer, he asked a trainer nearby why the elephants were just standing there and never tried to escape.

The trainer replied;

“when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

 The only reason that the elephants weren’t breaking free and escaping from the camp was that over time they adopted the belief that it just wasn’t possible.

 

Moral of the story:

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No matter how much the world tries to hold you back, always continue with the belief that what you want to achieve is possible. Believing you can become successful is the most important step in actually achieving it.

4. Nails in the fence (Control your anger) 

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“There once was a little boy who had a very bad temper. His father decided to hand him a bag of nails and said that every time the boy lost his temper, he had to hammer a nail into the fence.

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On the first day, the boy hammered 37 nails into that fence.

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The boy gradually began to control his temper over the next few weeks, and the number of nails he was hammering into the fence slowly decreased. He discovered it was easier to control his temper than to hammer those nails into the fence.

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Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father the news and the father suggested that the boy should now pull out a nail every day he kept his temper under control.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

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‘You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. The nails were your bad temper and they were hammered on people. You can remove the nails but the holes in the fence will remain. The fence will never look the same. It has scars all over. Some nails cannot even be pulled out. You can stab a man with a knife, and say sorry later, but the wound will remain there forever. Your bad temper and angry words were like that! Words are more painful than physical abuse! Use words for good purposes. Use them to grow relationships. Use them to show the love and kindness in your heart! “ 

 

The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. 

 

Moral of the story : 

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Unkind words and actions cause lasting damage no matter what we try to do to repair it. : Let our words be kind and sweet.

5. Potatoes, Eggs and Coffee Beans (Struggles

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Once upon a time, a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

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Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

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Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.

He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

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He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

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“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

 

Moral of the story : 

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In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how you choose to react to it and what you make out of it. Life is all about leaning, adopting and converting all the struggles that we experience into something positive.

6. Lesson in Life (Priorities) 

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A philosophy professor once stood up before his class with a large empty mayonnaise jar. He filled the jar to the top with large rocks and asked his students if the jar was full.

His students all agreed the jar was full. 

He then added small pebbles to the jar, and gave the jar a bit of a shake so the pebbles could disperse themselves among the larger rocks. Then he asked again, “Is the jar full now?”

The students agreed that the jar was still full.

The professor then poured sand into the jar to fill up all the remaining empty space. 

The students then agreed again that the jar was full.

 

The Metaphor:

 

 In this story, the jar represents your life and the rocks, pebbles, and sand are the things that fill up your life. The rocks represent the most important projects and things you have going on, such as spending time with your family and maintaining proper health. This means that if the pebbles and the sand were lost, the jar would still be full and your life would still have meaning. 

 

The pebbles represent the things in your life that matter, but that you could live without. The pebbles are certainly things that give your life meaning (such as your job, house, hobbies, and friendships), but they are not critical for you to have a meaningful life. These things often come and go, and are not permanent or essential to your overall well-being.

 

Finally, the sand represents the remaining filler things in your life, and material possessions. This could be small things such as watching TV, social media or running errands. These things don't mean much to your life as a whole, and are likely only done to waste time or get small tasks accomplished.

 

Moral of the story : 

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If you start with putting sand into the jar, you will not have room for rocks or pebbles. This holds true with the things you let into your life. If you spend all of your time on the small and insignificant things, you will run out of room for the things that are actually important.

In order to have a more effective and efficient life, pay attention to the “rocks,” because they are critical to your long term well being. 

7. The test of the 3 Strainers (Human relations/ Gossip ) 

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In ancient Greece, Socrates was highly reputed for his wisdom. One day someone came to the great philosopher and said to him “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“One minute answered Socrates. Before you tell me, I would like you to pass a test, the three strainer test.”
“The three strainers?”
“Surely so,” said Socrates. “Before telling all kinds of things on others, it is good to take time to filter what we would like to say. That is what I call the test of the three strainers. The first strainer is the one of truth. Did you check if what you wish to tell is true?”
“No I only heard about it.”
“Very good. Then you do not know, if it is the truth.”
“Now let us try another way of straining by using a second strainer, the one of goodness. What you want to inform me about is something good?”
“Oh no! Just the opposite.”
“Then,” Socrates went on, “you want to tell me bad things about him and you are not sure that they are true.”
“Maybe you can still pass the test, because there is a last strainer, the one of usefulness. Is it useful that you inform me about what my friend could have done?”
“No, not really.”

“Then,” Socrates concluded, “if what you have to tell me is neither true, not good, or useful, why do you want to tell me about it?”

 

Moral of the story : 

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The next time you want to say something that is neither true, nor good or useful, think about the test of the 3 strainers, in other words "turn your tongue 7 times in your mouth before you speak".

8. The Marble Statue (Hard Work) 

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In the middle of a beautiful city, there was a museum laid with beautiful marble tiles and with a huge marble statue as a part of the display.  Many people from all over the world visited the museum every day and admired the beautifully crafted statue. One night, a marble tile started talking to the marble statue.

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Marble Tile: Hey statue, Don’t you think that it is just not fair that everybody from all over the world come all the way here to admire you while ignoring and stepping on me.

Marble Statue: My dear brother, marble tile, Don’t you remember we are actually from the same cave.

Marble Tile: Yes! I do, that is why I feel it is even more unfair. Both of us were born from the same cave and yet the world treats us so differently now. This is so unfair!

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Marble Statue: Yes you are right my brother. But, do you still remember the day when the sculptor tried to work on you but you resisted his tools.

Marble Tiles: Yes, I despise that guy. How could he use those nasty tools on me.

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Marble Statue: Well, Since you resisted his tools he couldn’t work on you. When he decided to give up on you, he started working on me instead. I knew at once that I would be something different and unique after his efforts. I bore all the painful tools he used on me and allowed him craft me as he wanted!

Marble Tile: But those tools were so painful.

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Marble Statue: My brother, there is a price for everything in life. Since, you decided to resist and gave up half way, you can’t blame anybody who steps on you now.!

The marble tile silently listened to his brother's words and started to reflect on it.

 

Moral of the story : 

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the more hard knocks you go through in life, the more you'll learn and put them to good use in future! Do not be discouraged by setbacks and failures..

9. The Obstacle in our Path (Opportunities) 

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In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. He then hid himself and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.

Many people loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

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A peasant then came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the stone out of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.

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After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King explaining that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

 

Moral of the story : 

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Every obstacle we come across in life gives us an opportunity to improve our circumstances, and whilst the lazy complain, the others are creating opportunities through their kind hearts, generosity and willingness to get things done.

10. TThe 24 Year Old Boy (Judgement) 

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A few years ago, a 24 year old boy seeing out from the train’s window shouted…

“Dad, look the trees are going behind us!”

As his Dad smiled,  a young couple sitting nearby, looked at the 24 year old’s childish behavior with pity, when suddenly he again exclaimed…

“Dad, look the clouds are running with us!”

The couple couldn’t resist and said to the old man…

“Why don’t you take your son to see a good doctor?”

The old man smiled and said…

“I did and we are just coming from the hospital, my son was blind from birth and he just got his eyes today.”

 

Moral of the story : 

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Don’t judge people before you truly know them. The truth might surprise you.

11. The Company

 

 (Don't Hold Back / Personal Responsibility ) 

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There was once a company whose CEO was very strict and often disciplined the workers for their mistakes or perceived lack of progress.

One day, as the employees came into work, they saw a sign on the door that read, “Yesterday, the person who has been holding you back from succeeding in this company passed away. Please gather for a funeral service in the assembly room.”

While the employees were saddened for the family of their CEO, they were also intrigued at the prospect of being able to now move up within the company and become more successful.”

Upon entering the assembly room, many employees were surprised to see the CEO was, in fact, present. They wondered among themselves, “If it wasn’t him who was holding us back from being successful, who was it? Who has died?”

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One by one, the employees approached the coffin, and upon looking inside, each was quite surprised. They didn’t understand what they saw.

In the coffin, there was simply a mirror. So when each employee looked in to find out who had been “holding them back from being successful” everyone saw themselves. Next to the mirror, there was a sign that read:

The only person who is able to limit your growth is you. You are the only person who can influence your success. Your life changes when you break through your limiting beliefs and realize that you’re in control of your life. The most influential relationship you can have is the relationship you have with yourself. Now you know who has been holding you back from living up to your true potential. Are you going to keep allowing that person to hold you back?

 

Moral of the story : 

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You can’t blame anyone else if you’re not living up to your potential. You can’t let other people get you down about mistakes you make or their negative perception of your efforts. You have to take responsibility for your work –both the good and the bad–and be proactive about making any necessary adjustments.

12. TThe 3 brothers (Teamwork) 

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There was once a man who lived with his three sons. His sons were hard workers, but they constantly fought with each other. Even though the man continuously tried to help his sons make peace with each other, he was never successful. In fact, their fighting got to a point where their neighbors would make fun of them.

Eventually, the father became ill. He begged his sons to learn how to work together because of his impending death, but they didn’t listen. The father then decided to teach his sons a practical lesson to help his sons forget their differences and become a united team.

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The father called his sons and said, “I’ll give you each an equal collection of sticks to break in half. Whoever breaks the sticks the fastest will be rewarded.”

After agreeing to the task, the father gave each of his sons 10 sticks and instructed them to break each stick in half. This task took the sons mere minutes to complete, but once they were finished, they started to fight about who finished first. 

The father said, “Dear sons, the task isn’t finished. Now I’ll give each of you 10 more sticks, however, you must break the sticks in half as a bundle rather than snapping each one separately.”

His sons agreed and attempted to do what he had asked. They each tried their best, but none could break the bundle in half. They told their father that they had failed. 

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In response, their father said, “See, it was easy to break the sticks in half individually, but you couldn’t break all 10 of them at the same time. Similarly, if the three of you stay united as a team, nobody will be able to harm you. However, if you fight all the time, anyone will be able to defeat you. Please come together as a united team.” 

This lesson helped the man’s sons understand the power of being a team and promised their father that, moving forward, they would work together as a team, no matter what the situation was.

 

Moral of the story : 

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Being an effective member of a team helps contribute to the overall moral and motivation of the team. Strong teams are naturally aligned to work harder, support each other, and be cooperative with working toward a mutual goal. Individuals each have diverse talents, strengths, and weaknesses to contribute to teamwork, so staying focused on the task at hand rather than allowing personal disputes to get in the way will help you achieve your desired results. 

13. Alfred Nobel  (Impact in life) 

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More than a decade ago, a man was reading his morning newspaper. To his surprise and horror, he read his name in the obituary column. The news papers had mistakenly reported the death of the wrong person for sure. He was shocked to read news headline  about his death. When he regained his composure, He read it to find out what people had said about him.

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The obituary included sentences like, “Dynamite King Dies.” and “He was the merchant of death.”. The man was the inventor of dynamite and when he read the words “merchant of death,” he asked himself a question,

“Is this how I am going to be remembered?” he asked himself. He decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered and he decided to change.

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From that day on, he started working toward world peace. His name was Alfred Nobel and he is remembered today by the great Nobel Prize, the greatest of all the prizes.

The Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace since 1901. The foundations for the prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize.

 

Moral of the story : It is never late to start over.

 

14. The seasons of  a tree(Judgement) 

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A friend of mine shared this parable with me years ago. I came across it the other day and it encouraged me. I hope it encourages you right were you are at in your current circumstances or where you are along your journey. You may not have thought about it, but life is a journey.

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

 

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. 

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. 

The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise. 

The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. 

The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

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The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree’s life. 

He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up. 

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your Autumn.

 

Moral of the story : 

Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don’t judge life by one difficult season. Persevere through the difficult patches and better times are sure to come sometime.

We all go through difficult seasons along our journey of life, but our circumstances don’t have to define who we really are.

 

15. The secret to success (Strong will) 

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Once a young man asked the wise man, Socrates,  the secret to success. Socrates patiently listened to the man’s question and told him to meet him near the river the next morning for the answer. The next morning Socrates asked the young man to walk with him towards the river. As they went in the river  the water got up to their neck. But to the young man’s surprise Socrates ducked him into the water. 

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The young man struggled to get out of the water, but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled the man’s head out of the water. The young man gasps and took a deep breath of air.

 

Socrates asked, ‘What did you want the most when your head was in the water?” The young man replied, “Air.” Socrates said, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air while you were in the water, then you will get it. There is no other secret.”

 

Moral of the story : 

A burning desire is the starting point of all accomplishment. Just like a small fire cannot give much heat, a weak desire cannot produce great results.

 

16. The 20 dollar bill (Self-Value) 

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A speaker started off his seminar by showing a $20 to the public. He asked the people “who wants this?” There was no surprise to see that all of them lifted their hands. He offered to give the money to one of them but insisted that he will do something to it.

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He crumpled the paper money and showed it again to the crowd and repeated the question. Still, everyone raised the hands. He then put the money into the ground and stepped on it and then raised it again and offered it to the public.

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The people gathered there still showed interest to take that money despite seeing how dirty the note was. He told the public” No matter what I did to this money, you all still wanted this.

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You all went in favor of my offer just because the value of the money never decreased despite what all I did to it. Similarly, value yourself despite the painful conditions or failures”

 

Moral of the story : 

Believe in yourself and work hard to achieve success. Value yourself irrespective of the failures or obstacles and don’t degrade yourself just because of the temporary setbacks.   

 

17. The identical twins (Greed )  

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Sam and Tom were identical twins. They were so identical that even their mother found it difficult to distinguish one from the other, at least during their initial days on earth.

However, they were very different from each other when it came to everything other than their appearance. Sam had no friends, while Tom was a great friendship maker. Sam loved sweets, but Tom loved spicy food and detested sweets. Sam was mommy’s pet and Tom was daddy’s pet. While Sam was generous and selfless, Tom was greedy and selfish!

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As Sam and Tom grew up, their father wanted to share his fortune equally amongst them. However, Tom did not agree and he argued that whoever proved to be more intelligent and strong would have to get a bigger share of the wealth.

Sam agreed. Their father decided to organize a competition between the two. He asked the two sons to walk as long as they could, and return home before sunset. The wealth would be divided in proportion to the distance covered. As a rule of the competition, they were not permitted to carry a watch to keep track of the time.

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The following day, Sam and Tom set out to walk. It was a rather sunny day. Sam walked slowly and steadily, while Tom broke into a sprint as he was bent on winning the race and winning a greater portion of his father’s wealth.

Sam knew that it would be ideal to walk as far as possible until noon and start for home at noon as it would take the same amount of time to walk back home. Knowing this, Sam decided to turn back for home at noon so as reach home on time.

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However, Tom, with his greed to earn more wealth, did not attempt to return home even after mid-noon. He walked twice as long as Sam and thought he would still be able to return home before sunset. He hurried back when he saw the sun turn orange. Unfortunately, he could not even make it half way home as the sun started to set. Slowly darkness engulfed his path and he had to drag his tired feet back home.

He had lost the race because of his greed.

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Moral of the story : 

It’s tempting sometimes to pull a fast one to get ahead of everyone else. In the story, Tom thought that by outsmarting his twin brother, he’ll be able to accumulate an extra portion of his inheritance. His greed caused him to overestimate his own abilities and this led him to lose the race… and money in the process.  Meanwhile, Sam’s hard work paid off, he was able to win the raise through persistence.   

 

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