Tag Archives: fables

The Gift

Once a great wizard had a son, who grew up with every benefit, and yet was ungrateful and unhappy.

Willing the son’s good, the wizard removed him from his grand estate, and set him on a lonely road in a foreign land. But as things went, the son wandered off the road, got lost in the dark and fell in a pit some hunters had dug for beasts.

He suffered there. He grew hungry, afraid, hopeless. Just when all seemed lost, the great wizard came to his rescue and lifted his son to safety.

Seeing his son’s miserable condition, the wizard magically healed his injuries, gave him food, dressed him in fine new clothes, and loaded his bags with gold.

Thus equipped, the son again set on his way, and coming to the next city, using the gold he had been given, invested in land, married well, prospered and forgot his near-death encounter.

He became a great man in the community. And yet, and yet, over time, as before, he again became unhappy.

All he could think of was his work, his possessions and his fear of losing all he had gained.

Then one day, the wizard came again to his son, in disguise, and finding him on his estate asked, “How is it that you have come by such a vast and beautiful home, and such a wonderful family?”

And then the son answered, “I worked hard, and invested wisely.”

The wizard sighed, the looking keenly on his son, he noted his continuing deep unhappiness, and again having great compassion on the him, the wizard stuck the estate with a spell and it disappeared in an instant.

The son was again on a remote road, again he was poor, and alone, and again he wandered from the path and again he fell into a covered pit and again the wizard came to him, again as his father, and lifted him out.

But this time, willing his son’s happiness more than anything, the wizard did not give him clothes, or food or gold. Instead the wizard, out of great love for his son, gave him the gift of a powerful memory.


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Two Men

Once there were two men, living at the same time, doing the same thing, thinking the same way and having the same result. It was a shocking similarity of a very different kind.

The first man grew up with a father who collected houses, and the time came when he too began to collect buildings of various kinds. Following his father, and using what he got from his father, he began collecting hotels, offices, casinos and malls. In short order, he owned a beautiful mess of loans, properties, bankruptcies, wives, divorces and children.

The second man grew up with a father who was a alcoholic, and the time came when the son too began to drink in excess. Following his father, and using what he got from his father, he became homeless and he began collecting shopping carts and wagons, stuffing them with trash of various kinds, covering them at night with tarps and blankets. In short order he owned a veritable wagon train, a massive amount of goods, a traveling entourage excluding several homeless companions.

The men never met, although they lived in the same city, and the first drove by the second on several occasions. Once they were even in the same store together and bought similar items.

Then one day, on the same day, at the same hour, the very same minute and the exact same second they both died.

Their relatives were informed, and when they came together to deal with the end, both families had the exact same problem — what to do with the stuff.

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Body Parts

Once there was a man who gave away his arm because someone without an arm asked him for it.

Then he gave away a leg, because he happened to meet a man who didn’t have one.

The thing caught on in his own mind and he began to give away his body parts as if this were the most desirable and effortless virtue in the world — giving a lung, a finger, some skin, his hair.

At some point in this deconstruction process, his wife left him. “It’s disgusting!” she said the last time she saw him maimed in the hospital, and she divorced him and married a professional athlete.

But this didn’t deter him, and he gave away his body parts more and more. He gave an eye to a young girl. He gave a kidney to a teen. He gave an ear to a wounded vet, his other leg to another.

His family and friends grew concerned. “You have gone way to far with this,” they said. “You are going to kill yourself.”

“It is the most important thing I have ever done,” he said.

Then he gave away part of his brain. The surgeon who did the work warned him of the consequence, but he insisted that the disabled person he was giving part of his brain to needed it more than he did.

Of course the story, as it went along, was picked up by the news and he was heralded as both a hero and a monster.

However, one particular bio-technical company, specializing in advanced protheses, took a keen interest in him and decided to rebuild him. Funds were raised, research went forward, new ideas surfaced. He was excited about this, and with the same enthusiasm that he had given himself away, he let himself be rebuilt.

The company made him bionic legs, with built-in motors that gave him power and strength, even beyond what he had before, a powerful robotic arm, new skin to replace what he had lost, a new ear which was super sensitive to sounds far and near, a new adjustable eye and an onboard computer than integrated all his parts, even taking over some of the functions of the part of his brain that was missing.

With this, he became a kind of world phenomena, a bionic guru, and he drew large crowds wherever he went, speaking and teaching the most radical ideas about extreme generosity and extreme transformation.

He did a TED’s talk, he was wildly popular, but then as is so typical, he faded from the scene, especially as professional athletes, celebrities and the rich began to commonly and voluntarily purchase enhanced body parts to give them a superior edge in life, entertainment and sport. A devision of sports became popular called “Enhanced,” leading to more and more improvement in bionic ability and accomplishment.

After a time, the man was completely forgotten, and when he died, he was found in a dumpster. The police reported that he had none of his bionic parts on him, and that he was missing more of his natural body parts too, so much so that it took some effort to figure out even who he was, only a DNA test finally resolving his identity.

In the end, it came out that in the last few years he had given all his bionic parts to other people in need, and also that he had given away his remaining arm, remaining ear, remaining eye, his nose, and at the end pretty much the rest of his brain and his heart.

“Well, I guess he died for others, a piece at a time,” said his exwife who was asked by the media.

“Actually,” she added as she flounced out the door of her five star hotel to her new turbo-charged, hybrid Porsche, “He was insane!”

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The Man Who Made Up His Family

Once there was a man named Santino who didn’t have a family — so he made one up.

“Maya”, he said to his wife, “would you mind getting me a piece of the cake you made today?”

“Certainly,” she replied. He got up and got himself some cake.

“Yosef,” he said to his son, let me see your homework. Ah, you are doing a paper on the sociology of interracial intimacy. One thought is that you focus on the varying interpretations of father craft within these families.”

He pulled out his tablet and looked up several websites on the sociology of fatherhood within the bourgeois family.

“Interesting,” he said to himself, “the pervasive maternal dominance when it come to parenting.”

“Lilit,” he said to his daughter, “If you and your sister Saki would like, I will take you out this evening to get ice cream.”

That evening he went out and got himself an ice cream. He sat alone eating it.

“Saki,” he said to his youngest daughter, looking up from his ice cream. “How are you doing with that boy at school, the one who told you he liked you.”

He sat quietly for a moment. Another family sat quietly nearby.

“Well,” he said gently, “this can be quite sensitive. I wouldn’t say that to him, but it would be best to be honest. You don’t want to lead him on, give him false hope. That isn’t kind. It’s important in life to be honest, but not too honest, if you know what I mean?”

Santino looked up. The nearby family — a father, mother son and two daughters — were all staring at him.

He looked at them, and catching the father’s eye, said in a clear voice. “The fathering, it just never seems to end, does it?”

The other father, not knowing what to say, looked down.

Santino, looking around the room, smiled, and said to himself, “I just love being a father.”

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The King Who Ate Twenty Poison Apples per Day

Once upon a time, there was a very brave king who got very sick.

He was so sick, he went to the wizard’s castle. The wizard took one good look at him and said, “You will have to eat the poison apples.”

The apples came in the mail. They were so poisoned the king had to sign for them. No one else was allowed to receive them or even touch them.

Picking up his first deadly apple and taking a bite the king said to his queen, “My life will never be the same again.”

It wasn’t.

The wizard loaded him up on poison apples. After a time he was eating twenty per day.

The wizard sat him on his throne and said, ” I’m going to kill you so you can live,” and he drained his blood.

Then the wizard locked him up in a small room in the castle and fed him one poisoned apple after another. The king got so sick that no one could see him, not even the queen.

The king lay silent in his bed. He was alive, but he wasn’t. He slept a poisoned sleep.

Then a princess came to him, in disguise, and bending over him, she filled him back up with his own blood.

When he awoke, the wizard was there.

“You are alive,” said the wizard, “but you will have to eat the poison apples every day for the rest of your life.”

“I’ll eat them,” said the brave King, “so that I can be king and love my queen and play with my grandchildren again.”

And he ate them, every day, and he lived happily ever after — for a while.

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The Jack Pole Fisherman and The Sea

Upon the throw and the yank, a huge, bright tuna flew out of the sea.

In the air, it said, “Really now, is this necessary?”

Then the jack pole tuna man said, “Really now, it is — for me it is.”

The man was far from where he had been born.

So,” said the sea, “You live, begin and end in me.”

Then the sea swelled and washed in over the stern of the boat, over the racks the man was standing in and over the man, up to his chest, over his cane pole, bent over the tuna, and it washed out again.

The tuna flipped in the wave and sprang onto the boat.

Sixty years passed.

A fishing boat came again to this place in the sea, just as the sun was setting, not with poles but with ashes, and with family and friends. It was a calm summer evening.

And standing in the stern of the boat, the son of a fisherman, out of a small box, threw his father’s ashes into the great, sloshing sea. And then the sons of the son of a fisherman of the sea threw flowers out of other small boxes onto the smooth water, the setting sun above, the white flower petals floating in a line out behind the boat.

For a moment the flowers were seen on the water, among the ashes, and then there was a flash of bright color as a calico bass took a minnow on the surface.

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The Magic Girl

It was a gray cool, cloudy day with nothing to do and nowhere to go and no one to do anything with or go anywhere with.

So she took out her coloring book, and her crayons and began to color.

She colored a house, with two stories, and two porches, and four bedrooms, and a beautiful kitchen full of new pots and pans and plates, and full of beautiful fruits and vegetables and grains and sun flowers in vases, and a big bedroom with a king sized bed and easy chairs and walk-in closets, and she colored a big backyard with a lily pond in it, and shade trees and flagstones and a swing and picnic table.

And then she got up and walked into the house and sat at the table in the kitchen nook and took out her colors and began again.

She colored a cat, black and white, with long hair, very beautiful. And then the cat got up, and stepped out of the book. She put her hand on the cats head, and sunk the tips of her fingers into the cats velvety soft fur, and rubbed the backs of her knuckles up into the cat’s cheeks and into her ears. The cat looked deeply into her warm eyes and began to purr. Then the cat lay down beside her on a kitchen chair and took a nap.

And then she colored a boy, her age, with smooth skin, and dark hair and deep black eyes. And when she was done, he got up and walked out of the book and sat down at the table besides her. He took her hand in hers, and said, “I love you,” and kissed her gently on the lips. She put her hand in his hair and looked into his eyes. And then he sat beside her, and she began to color again.

Then she colored her soul, it all its detail, her lively personality, her fun spirit, her generous heart, her quick mind, her strong will, her gracious dignity, her glacial irrationality, her magnificent diffidence, her supreme anxiety, her overwhelming lack of confidence, her flappable existentiality, her her within the her of the very essential her.

Then all of her was there, in vivid colors, rising off the page and encircling her with bright shades and hues and tones, the colors glittering like water in the sun, sparkling like diamonds under stage lights. Then the colors curtained and rippled and pulsed like the Northern lights, and then they fell upon her even as she kept coloring, more and more, and the shades and hues and tones radiated into her skin like sunshine, rubbed into her skin like moisturizing cream, soaked softly into her skin like sugar dissolving in tea, soaked deeply into her very core like water dripping into an aquifer.

And then the house and the cat and the boy all disappeared and all the crayons rose up out of the box and out of her hands and ribboning themselves in a double helix, they descended into her head, and you could see them even through her clothing, diving into her very core, into the essence within the essence of her very quintessence, shimmering inside of her, flashing, pulsing, blowing up like the sun in ribbons and arches and flares within her.

And then she quieted, and glowed softly, and the colors subsided within, now occasionally flickering out of her eyes, now sometimes appearing at the ends of her finger tips.

And then she got up, and walked back through nowhere to where she had come from, ready for — anything.

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Heaven Minus Church

When he arrived in heaven there was a bit of a stir. It wasn’t that there was any question of him getting in or not. He had no merit, but he pleaded the proper plea, “Guilty as charged!” and the “It’s on him,” and he was good to go.

The problem was that he didn’t want to be there.

“No, you’ll have to stay now,” they said. “We can’t reverse a plea once it has been accepted.”

“I won’t go to church!” he yelled.

“There is no church here,” they told him.

“Thank God!” He exclaimed.

“So what’s the deal with you?” They asked, “Why all the drama?”

“I liked earth,” he said, “I liked my family; I liked my friends. I liked church, the music, the cool concepts, helping people, but I didn’t fit with the hyper-religious types, and I really don’t want to be stuck with them here. And besides, I say bad words sometimes, and I really don’t want to stop. It’s fun!”

“So,” said the angel in charge, “And you think that’s a problem because …”

“How about this?” He asked. “How about if you send me to a little corner spot where the other bad people in heaven hang out?”

“Sure, but you don’t get sent anywhere here; you get to pick,” they said. “There is a rough crowd that hangs out down by the sand bar, a couple of ex-preachers in that group. Try them out.”

And off he went. Before long he had settled in at the sand bar and could be seen eating, drinking, waving his hands, dancing and gesticulating wildly. Over the loud music you could here him yelling crazy, wild hilarities, and you could hear loud guffawing and unrestrained hooting.

And glancing around heaven, quite a few saints could be seen looking longingly toward the sand bar, much as the wedding guests at a long wedding meal might keep glancing at the loudest, happiest, craziest table at the party.







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Hell Yes!

“I want to talk to the boss!”

“Yeah, so does everybody.”

“There has been a mistake!”

“Yeah, everybody says that.”

“I went to church!”

“Good for you.”

“I still go to church!”

“Then you are in exactly the right place.”

“What? There are churches here?”

“Are you kidding me? There are more churches in hell than any place in the cosmos. Hell, there is a church on every corner. ”

“What? That’s crazy!”

“Yup, ca-razy man, ca-razy. Little churches, big churches, mid-sized churches — you got it all here!”

“No, you’re lying!”

“No, I swear to God, with all the religious people who are here, all the priests and pastors, Sunday school teachers, elders, worship leaders and Bible study leaders — you think somebody didn’t do a church plant? You think somebody doesn’t still need to prove something? You think somebody isn’t still building the kingdom? You think somebody isn’t still taking the offering?”

“But what about the fire?”

“Fire? Fire? We got the fire, and the brimstone! Hell yes! You ain’t heard a fiery sermon ’til you’ve heard one preached in hell! And alter calls, and prayin’ and slayin’ — we got all that here! You are gonna love it here! There is no better place for a good churchman or church lady to make a permanent home and join a church than in hell!”

“People don’t want to leave?”

“Are you kidding me, church people want to leave hell? Why would they want to do that?”

“To go to heaven!”

“Man, you don’t get around much, do you? There are no good churches in heaven!”








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Once a beautiful young, fractured girl fell in love with powerful old man, who was famous, and twice her age. And winning him and being won by him, she picked him up and deposited him in her heart. From this vantage point, he wrapped her in ribbon and gave her as a gift to himself.

They married.

He painted the world and became famous.

She painted herself and became famously beautiful.

He had an affair.

And then, like a girl falling from a great building, she fell as if from a great height and landed in the street below.

And thus crushed, she took her famous, selfish old husband out of her heart and she put him in her head, right between her eyes, and from there he sent out his ropes and wrapped them around her neck, and she died quite completely.

He reached out to the world for praise, and received it.

She reached out to herself and touched her own face, and she gently tugged it off.

Her face in her hands, she crumbled it up into tiny pieces, added oil to it, and brushed it on a canvass.

She looked at her beautiful, dark, vibrant skin tones, her black shinning hair, her gorgeous eyebrows, and smiled. There she was, alive, lovely, bordered with deep, rich color, defiant on the canvass.

This soothed her, the removal of her face, the smearing it on canvass, the surrounding it in rich color, so she did it, again and again, removing her face, her hair, her eyes, her skin and her mighty eye brows and applying them to canvasses. She painted her feeling face, her stolid face, her thinking face, her angry face, her sad face, her dominated face, her proud face, her dead face, her being born face, her brave face and her terribly trapped and her lovely dying face too.

And so went her life; it was love and death and pain and beautiful paint.

And when she finally died at last, death was nothing at all to her, for she had died many times before. Dying was just like painting; it was just peeling off one of your faces and attaching it to a canvass so that you might put back on yet another of your many beautiful faces once again.

And what about her lovely face? Like her husband — it out lived her.

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