Monday, January 23, 2012

The Miser

A man loved gold so dearly that he sold all his possessions for a bag of gold coins bigger than a ram's head. He buried the gold in his garden, and every day he went to dig it up and count each and every piece of the precious metal.
          But one day a thief saw him at this, and that very night came and dug up the gold for himself. When the miser discovered the empty hole the next morning, his wails could be heard far and wide.
          A young servant boy came running to see the trouble. "Sir," he said, "there's no need to weep. Here, replace your gold with this." And he handed his master a large, heavy rock.
          "This isn't gold, you fool!" raged the miser, but the boy shrugged.
          "You never meant to spend the gold, master, so what does it matter?" he asked. "That rock is just as much use to you as those coins ever were!"

Something we never use is worthless.

          That servant boy is probably my most favorite character in any of the Aesop stories. He completely outsmarts the old miser while the miser is probably middle aged and the servant is only around 10 or 11. The fact that the little boy can teach that man a lesson is really important for people out there to learn. But that is a different lesson. Maybe later I'll talk about that. What really makes me mad about this fable is that I can see many things like this in real life. You read this story and you think, "Wow, the miser is pretty dumb. A whole bag of gold and he doesn't spend it." Well this stupid person has been inside of every person on this planet at one time or another.

          A child can beg and plead for a toy and then after exhausting his parents, doesn't use it for more than a week. I can partially understand this because, after all, it is only a child, but the fact that so much money is wasted on things like this really annoys me. I mean, have you ever been to a baby's house? There are toys EVERYWHERE and the child plays with 2. Only 2. It really annoys me when I see a child like that. I mean why have so many things if you never play with it. The parents can always just sell the toys that they don't play with and I bet the child wouldn't even notice.

The same goes for older kids. I have even done this before. I get a video game that I play for about a month and then never look at it again. I can partially connect with the miser here. It is hard to give up something even though you don't use it or it is worthless. You grow attached to it and can't let go. But people, including me, need to learn to let go because something we never use is completely worthless.

          My friend says that his dad has a really cool car that he loves. It’s vintage and a real classic and a collector's item, etc. Yet he takes it out of the garage maybe 2 or 3 times a year and is getting his whole driveway repaved because the gravel on his old driveway would chip the paint. This is an extreme version of the story. Not only is his "bag of gold" not being used to its full capacity, it is guzzling up all of his money. The cost to keep good condition and to repave his driveway is coming all from his wallet. He won't sell it because he has an attachment to it and I understand that, I mean no disrespect; but we need to learn to use or let go of something that is, in reality, worthless to us.

          I can understand attachment. I have gone through the same thing. I wanted to keep my video game even though I didn’t play it anymore, but my dad persuaded me to sell it. I was really sad for a couple of days, but after that, I completely forgot about it and moved on. We need to learn to use or let go. I think that Aesop was right on for this one. Something we never use is, indeed, worthless.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Ant and the Dove

A dove in flight spied an ant struggling in the creek below, near to drowning. In pity, she lowered a blade of grass into the water so that the ant might cling to it. "Friend, you have saved my life," the ant said gratefully, as he was led safely to shore.
          Besides the creek stood a hunter, who raised his bow to take aim at the dove. Seeing his rescuer in danger, the tiny ant crawled up the hunter's boot and stung the hunter on the leg. With a cry of pain the hunter let his arrow fly off the mark, and the dove was free from danger.

One good deed deserves another.   

          This is one of those fables that I think is a little off the mark. It is true that one good deed deserves another. But that does not mean a good deed in return is mandatory. The way I look at it is in three ways...

  1. Let’s say a person walks you across the street and then, when walking back, he/she is about to get run over, wouldn't you try to save him? But what if that person doesn't help you cross the street, does that mean that you shouldn't help him/her?
  2. If you are helping someone, help them for the good feeling you get when you make someone else's life a little easier. Don't just help them so that you can use that to make that person do something for you.
  3. If you are helped by a person, should you constantly be on the lookout for that person and never leave his/her side? If that person who helped you deserves a good deed, must you help him/her with whatever obstacles comes in his/her way? Is it mandatory?
          The first point I made, I think is completely silly, yet people still think like this. They refuse to help another person and their reason is that that person never did anything for them. I mean, "REALLY!" Be a good person and help them out. You don't need someone to be nice to you to be nice to them. Some people out there, not all of them, have to learn this.

          The second point I made is a little similar to the first point, but still different. It's basically saying that you should help someone just to be nice and not because you want something to hold over that person's head. So you can’t say to that person, "You owe me, so you have to..." or "You have to because I did this for you..." That is just wrong.

          And the third thing is asking, "Are we obligated to help someone if they help us?" Is it a mandatory thing or just something that people do out of the kindness of their hearts? I think it should not be mandatory and more importantly, the people who help other people should not think that it is mandatory. If the opportunity arises, then yes, that person you helped will probably help you, but if they don't, it is not their fault, either. They don't have to help you just because you helped them.

          I know you must be asking, "Wait, is Wooyoung really talking about what is wrong about Aesop's Fables? I thought that he was supposed to talk about the good things about fables." Well, to answer that, I just think that Aesop was a tiny bit off base here. Aesop isn't really perfect. His moral, one good deed deserves another, makes sense in some circumstances, but I think not all the time. He lived over 300 years ago, so who knows, maybe in his time, it was mandatory. We'll never know.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Mice and the Weasels

The mice who lived in a certain wood were in constant fear of the weasels, who hunted them for food. At last the mice held a council and decided to declare war on their enemies. "But friends, listen to me!" cried one mouse. "To be a real army we will need commanders to lead us." Mice on all sides clamored for the honor, and the bravest were chosen by vote. And the mouse who had been clever enough to suggest that an army needed leaders was made the general.
          Then this mouse spoke up again. "It's only right that all the officers should wear uniforms, so no one will mistake us for common soldiers," he suggested. Everyone agreed, and the mice fashioned tall straw helmets for the commanders to wear. The general's helmet was crowned with bright red plumes.
          The mouse general sent a challenge to the weasels, and soon the day of battle came. The mouse army hid themselves in the tall grass, planning to ambush their enemies. But the weasels easily spotted the plume of the general's helmet waving above the grass, and they pounced. Shrieking in terror, the mice ran for their lives.
          The general fled with the rest, but when he dived headfirst for his hole, his straw helmet was too big to fit inside. The common soldiers managed to dash to safety, but the general and all of his commanders were devoured.

Don't sacrifice what is practical for the sake of pomp and show. 

As I read it, I thought to myself, "So what if the general has a huge helmet? He is the leader and therefore has more power, so he can have all the luxuries." But at the end, it was really that huge, luxurious helmet was his undoing. Because he chose to wear a helmet so pompous, he was easily spotted. In real life, I have seen many people that have been so self-centered. Maybe it wasn't something that caused them to be eaten, but it has made them into spoiled brats, who think that they are better than everyone. Some examples are celebrities that have 10 cars and a huge mansion. Those people lose sight of what is really important in life like friends and family and what is practical  like buying a small sedan or Prius instead of buying a 4 ton Hummer that guzzles up 30 gallons of gas an hour.

          I also feel that I could really connect to this story. I have, along with all these celebrities, wanted something fancy or expensive, whether it is to show off, or have a lot of fun. But when I get these things such as new video game, everything else usually fades away for a few days. I eat junk food, which is not healthy and I don't talk to my parents since I am so absorbed by the new thing,    which isn't going to help my relationship with my parents. I'm not saying that my relationship with them is bad, but I'm just saying that, since we're a family, we should communicate more. It is natural for people to want things that are fancier than what we need, but when we go overboard, we risk the consequences of losing practicality.

          Another viewpoint to this is something my dad always told me when I was a kid and whenever I wanted something at the toy store or I saw something in a commercial. He would say to me, "Think about this, is the thing that you are buying a necessity or a luxury." I'm not saying I always listened and stopped begging, but the saying stuck with me. Now that I am older, I can realize what it means. Technically speaking, anything can be a luxury from a pillow to a Ferrari, but if you use common sense, a necessity is something you must have to live, like water or food. Everything else is a luxury. But we really can't live like that. The reason our species is so advanced is because we don't live like that. So my dad's saying really was to balance out what we truly need and what we want. Sure, we can buy a few games here, and a car there, but we need to balance between practicality and luxury.  The fact that celebrities spend so much of their money on nothing but luxurious really annoys me. .

          So, all in all, these mice from the story have taught us a valuable lesson. We might not die if we give up practicality for "pomp and show", but the consequences could be dangerous and we should watch our step, so we don't end up like those poor mice in the story, cocky and pampered, but stupid.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Man and the Lion

A man and a lion happened to meet on the road, and fell into conversation. It wasn't long before they began to argue.
          "Any fool knows that a lion is stronger than a man," the lion boasted. "A lion is the king of the Beasts!"
          "He may be, but a man is mightier yet, and everybody knows it!" proclaimed the man. "Just look at that statue over there!" And he pointed to a tall marble statue by the roadside, showing a man gripping a lion by the throat.
          "That proves nothing," protested the lion. "After all, a man carved that stature! It would have been quite a different scene had a lion made it!"

There are two sides to every story

          We all know that in real life, a lion would completely destroy a man in a fight. But this odd portrayal of an argument over who is better is necessary to get the point across that there are indeed two sides to every story. Like everything in this world, a story has an opposite side. Just like there are positive and negative, north and south, poison and antidote, and water and hot sauce. You should always listen to the opposite side of the story, even though you are already set on your own opinion. Just think about what would happen if everybody was that stubborn and unwilling to accept a different view point.

          First off, our justice system is completely based off of this in the way that the judge must listen to both sides of the story to make the correct decision. I am not saying that the judge will make the decision right every time, but without listening to both sides of the argument, he will have a diminished chance of getting the decision right.

          Another thing is that many parents out there must listen to their children when they are accusing them of something or punishing them for something. If their child, let's say, got a detention for talking in class, then the parent would get upset. But what if the only reason the child was talking was because another kid was provoking him/her and would not stop for quite some time. It really isn't the child's fault in this situation.

          If we never listen to other person's argument, we will become stubborn and narrow minded. If we become narrow minded we will not be open to other people’s ideas and opinions and then in turn we will not progress as a race because we refuse to take in other ideas. If one person thinks that a plane should be run on water and another thinks it should be run on fuel, and person B wins because he is so stubborn, we will never have that great idea of a plane being run on water. We would be so regressive and not have any new technology and be overtaken by other countries like Russia or China. They could in theory, “bomb us back to the Stone Age”. And I know nobody wants that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Fisherman and his Catch

A hardworking fisherman had bad luck one day on the water and caught only a single, small fish. "You're barely big enough for a mouthful!" he exclaimed. "But at least you'll be something to bring home to my family for dinner."
          The little fish gasped. "Have mercy and spare my life! You can see what a pitiful meal I'd make. If you throw me back, I promise I'll grow into a fish that would truly be worth your while to catch!"
          But the fisherman put the fish in his basket, and began rowing for home. "You may be small," he said, "but if I throw you back now, I may never catch you again."

A small gain today is better than a large promise for tomorrow.

         When I read this story for the first time, I never really got the point of the moral. If you could catch that same fish years later and it would be huge, then why not do it? This story always gave me something to think about as I fell asleep. But now I understand what it means. It means that what you get, no matter how worthless or small, is better than something that you may get tomorrow. It is like that other saying: A bird in hand is better than two in the bush. In fact, I even had to explain it to my friends the other day. They could not get it even though they are usually pretty good with these kinds of things. I guess this is just one of those morals that is really hard to get.

         In the real world, if your parents say that either you can have a few cookies right now,  or you can have a lot of cookies later, you'll more likely to pick the choice where your craving is immediately satisfied. I know that is the one that I would pick. A small thing that you are absolutely going to get is better than a bigger promise for later.

        This moral, as you can see, occurs in real life as well as in fiction. I think that this moral really teaches people to take what you can get now and leave the bigger risks for when you really need to. What I mean by bigger risks are life or death situations, not cookie craving cases. So if you ever end up with the short end of the stick, take what you can and "live to fight another day".

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Crow and the Pitcher

For weeks and weeks there had been no rain. The streams and pools had dried to dust, and all of the animals were thirsty. Two crows flying together in search of water, spotted a pitcher that had been left on a garden wall. They flew to it and saw that it was half full of water. But neither one could reach far enough inside the pitcher's narrow neck to get a drink.
          "There must be a ways to get that water," said the first crow. "If we think it through, we'll find an answer."
          The second crow tried to push the pitcher over, straining with all of his might. But it was too heavy to budge. "It's hopeless!" he croaked, and flew away to look for water elsewhere.
          But the first crow stayed by the pitcher and thought, and after a time he had an idea. Picking up some pebbles in his beak, he dropped them one by one into the pitcher until at last the water rose to the brim. Then the clever bird happily quenched his thirst.

Wisdom and patience succeeds where force fails.

          This story reminds me of myself. I have seen people like to just use brute force to solve their problems or only use one way to solve every problem they have. When that doesn't work, they give up. These people are just like the second crow. I, on the other hand, am like the first crow. I like to think things through until I get it. My math teacher might even think that I am annoying because whenever I don't get a topic in class, I ask question after question to try and understand, and it takes up a lot of time in class. I think that a lot of people can relate to this. It can sometimes be frustrating when your friend doesn't want to be patient and only wants to use force. I always say to them that there are many ways to solve a problem but they don't seem to listen.

          This moral can also be with more serious matters like in worldwide disputes. Many countries like to solve their differences with atomic bombs, guns, and soldiers. Both countries will lose many men and eventually one country will win. But does anybody really win during war? Many lives are lost all because two political leaders had a disagreement. They could have resolved it with words and kindness, not death and destruction.

          I feel that patience and wisdom come together in a "package". You cannot have one without the other. Without one you will not be able to be like the first crow. The smart, clever, patient, ingenious, and resourceful crow is the one who got the water and this is the one that you should always aspire to be.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Donkey and the Load of Salt

A wealthy merchant bought many baskets of salt, and tied them on his donkey to carry them to market. On the way, as they crossed a shallow river, the donkey slipped beneath his heavy load and fell into the water. By the time he scrambled to his feet again, half the salt in the baskets had been washed away.
                The merchant cursed at the loss. But the donkey was pleased to discover that the baskets were only half as heavy as before. And he cheerfully carries his lightened load to market.
                At the market, the merchant sold what was left of his salt and bought several bags of sponges. Tying them on the donkey’s back, he set out again for home. When they came to the river, the donkey thought of what happened on his way to the market. He pretended to slip and rolled into the water, hoping his load would be lightened.
                But the sponges were not washed away. Instead, they soaked up water until they swelled fat and heavy. The merchant drove the donkey to his feet again, and the beast staggered home under a load twice as heavy as before.

The method should suit the circumstances.

          That donkey, in my opinion, is really stupid, but I guess that is the whole point of the story. Yet this can happen in real life in a not as stupid context. For example, if two soccer teams are playing each other, then they have to develop their play strategy based on the opposite team. Should they be offensive, defensive, conservative, or aggressive is up to them, but they can't just pick one strategy and hope that it will work for every team that they play. The same goes for school. If you’re studying for a test in math, you're obviously not going to figure out when World War 2 started. And if you are studying in math, you should try and do practice problems because that is usually how you study for math. You can't study for it by reading a book about how math was invented. Reading a book about math is related but the second way will not help you on studying for the math test. Your method of studying should be tailored to the situation.

          I think that the only reason people in this world are successful is that they know many methods on how to move up in the world, whether it’s to flatter someone, or work so hard that you can't even string a sentence together the next day. They know all of these methods so they have a variety to choose from when the occasion hits them. School will teach you some of these things like taking notes and studying, but some of them like, how to flatter your boss, is something you must learn on your own. And then you can use these methods to help you in any kind of situation. But once you master all of these things, you have to know when to use them so you don't end up doing something stupid like the donkey.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Cat, The Rooster, and The Mouse

A young mouse begged his mother to let him take his first look at the world outside the mouse hole. "Very well," she answered, "but don't stay long, and come back and tell me everything you see."
          The little mouse had not been gone five minutes, when he came dashing back into the mouse hole as fast as he could run. "My dear, whatever happened?" asked his mother.
          "Oh, Mother," said the little mouse, trembling all over, "there are such strange creatures out there! First I saw a pretty animal, with soft, striped fur and yellow eyes. When she saw me she waved her long tail as if she were glad to see me. But then I saw the most terrible monster! His head was all red, and his feet had long claws. And when he saw me, he opened up his mouth and let out a horrible shriek of 'Cock-a-doo-dle-do!' I ran away as fast as I could!"
          "My dear," said his mother, "that pretty creature you saw was a cat, and she likes to eat young mice like you for dinner. And that terrible monster was nothing but as rooster, who only eats seeds and grain. Next time you go out, be more careful, and remember never to judge others by their looks."

Appearances can be deceiving.

          The little mouse should be more careful next time he goes out. But, for his argument, appearances can be deceiving. Let’s say you saw two people crossing the street; one was a nice looking old lady and the other one was a huge 6 foot 300 pound man with tattoos and rings all over his body.  Who would you help if they ask help? Chances are that you would help the old lady. But what if I told you that the little old lady was really a bank robber trying to rob the bank on the other side of the street and the huge man was a pacifist who wouldn't hurt a fly. Any normal person would not have known that and gone with one option only based on appearance.

          I think that we all have unique appearances to express our true character, opinions, and personality, but it is up to us on how we make up our appearance and sometimes  we make it hard to see clearly. We think that we are really showing our true selves to the world, or maybe just expressing our own preferences, when we really are misguiding other people like the huge punk in the example. But it isn't just people who misguide other people with their appearances.

          Books around the world are being sold based on many different things every day. How do you select a book? May be a friend recommended it to you. Or, maybe you saw it on a book review site.  But a lot of books that I look into are based on the looks of the cover. I can't speak for everybody, but my guess is that mostly everybody does that too. It's just instinct for my eyes to be drawn to the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the room. Yet most of the time, the book that I pick up is a disappointment. This is a straight shot example of don't judge a book by its cover, which is similar to the moral of the story.

          So the next time you see something that is comforting, heartwarming, pleasing, humbling, or fragile on the outside, think before you act because it is what is on the inside that really matters.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Bundle of Sticks

An old farmer had three sons who quarreled among themselves from dawn till dusk. One day, the farmer fell gravely ill. Wishing to make peace among his sons before he died, he called them to his bedside and asked them to bring a thick bundle of sticks.
          "Can you break these in two?" asked the farmer, handing the sticks to the oldest son.
          "Of course!" the young man answered scornfully. But even though he tried until he was red in the face, he couldn't break the bundle of sticks.
          "Why, those sticks are no thicker than my finger," mocked the second son.
          "I could break those sticks like straw," boasted the third. And they both tried with all their might, but neither could break the bundle of sticks in two.
          Then the father drew three sticks from the bundle and handed one to each of his sons. "Can you break them now?" he asked. And they did so easily.
          "Let the sticks teach you," said the father to his sons, "how strong you are when you are allied together, and how easily you can be broken on your own."

In unity there is strength

          Those three boys must have argued a lot for them to start boasting and arguing while next to their dying father. The father must have been desperate to appease his boys. But for anyone else out there who has a brother or sister that is completely irritating and you think that they are impossible to live with, don't. First of all, you only get one family, so you might as well love it. Secondly, the moral of this story is true. Together you are stronger than you are alone. Have you ever seen a one man army (Except Chuck Norris)? That was a joke if you didn't get that, because I don't even think Chuck Norris could fight a whole army alone. Or have you seen a football team with only one player? No, you haven't because no one can fight a whole opposing side without help. All the things you see in movies where the good guy foils an evil plan all by himself is cool, but it is totally unrealistic and not possible.

          All those star football quarterbacks out there who think they have it made, that they own everything and can do anything just because they are good at football are the most stuck-up obnoxious jerks around. I'm not saying that all football quarterbacks are like that, but some of them are. And if they are reading this, they should stop and think, what happens if I take away a blocker, or maybe all the blockers from your team. Then what? Those blockers that you think nothing of are the only thing in between you and the other team's linebacker breaking all of your ribs. But the same team without the quarterback is also nothing. You need every part of the team to play. You need all parts of an engine for the car to work. You need a heart and two lungs to live. Every part of a working mechanism is important. Without one, the other will die, fall apart, or fail. Even the sticks in the story share this rule with all of these things. In unity there truly is strength.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Fox and the Stork

A fox was jealous of his neighbor the stork for her elegance and grace. He longed to find a way to make her look foolish, and at last he had an idea. "My dear friend," he said, hiding his cunning with gracious manners, "would you be so kind as to join me for dinner?"
          "Why, I'd love to," replied the stork.
          But when the stork arrived at the fox's house, all he served her was a thin broth in a shallow bowl. The hungry stork could only wet the tip of her long bill, while the fox lapped up his dinner eagerly. But the stork didn't complain, for she was hatching a plan of her own. "What a delicious dinner!" she said politely. "You must dine with me tomorrow, good neighbor."
          When the fox arrived at the stork's house the next day he smelled a delicious fish soup. He licked his lip eagerly. But when he got to the table, the soup was served in a tall glass jar with a narrow neck. With her long bill, the stork drank her soup easily, but the fox could only lick a few drops from around the neck of the jar.
          "What is this?" he growled. "I can't eat this, and you know it!"
          "My dear friend," replied the stork calmly, "I'm sure you will enjoy this dinner just as much as I enjoyed the one you served me."

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

          This story is basically saying the golden rule that I was taught when I was very little, around kindergarten. Since then and up to 3rd or 4th grade, that was what all teachers based their classes' rules of behavior and respect on. If you have never heard of this rule, that is a shame. A lot of our lives are based on this rule. If you have a friend who always treats you badly, then you want to treat him bad back right? But if he treats you well, then you want to treat nicely as well. It also goes the other way. If you treat your friend badly he will treat you badly and you'll lose your friendship. The golden rule: you want to treat your friend the way you would want to be treated.

          I personally used to think that this rule was bizarre and not really important. I also used to think that the teachers overused this rule. But now after reading this story, I know that this rule really is important and crucial to know for when you grow up. If you treat your friends and coworkers badly, then you will most likely be left alone and no one will be around you when you need them. You'll end up growing old alone. This must be why they repeat this rule every single time you do something bad in elementary school.

          All in all, the golden rule, I think is named appropriately for it is truly golden; take this rule with you for the rest of your life so you don't lose your friends' respect and trust like the fox lost the stork's.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Tortoise and the Hare

A conceited hare boasted about her speed to everyone who would listen. "Not even the North Wind is as fast as I am!" she declared. "No animal in the forest could beat me in a race!"
          Now, a tortoise nearby grew tired of such bragging. "We've all heard you talk, but we've never seen you run," she said. "Why don't you race with me, and then we'll see who is the fastest."
          The hare burst out laughing. "I could beat you standing still!" she exclaimed. But she agreed that they would race to an oak tree around a bend in the road. In an instant they were off-the hare soon out of sight, the tortoise plodding along step by patient step.
          "I've practically won already!" thought the hare as she dashed around the bend in the road. "I could stretch out here and take a little rest, and still beat that tortoise by a mile." And she settled down by the side of the road. She planned to jump up and finish the race the minute she saw the tortoise. But the grass was so soft and the sun was so warm that before the hare realized it, she had fallen fast asleep.
          Meanwhile, the tortoise continued on. Slowly she came around the bend in the road and passed the sleeping hare. She was only a few feet from the oak tree when the hare woke from her nap.
          Seeing the tortoise so close to the finish, the hare leaped up and tore along the road as if the hounds were after her. But she was too late. Before she could reach the oak tree, the tortoise had already been declared winner by the crowd of cheering bystanders.

Slow and steady wins the race

          Most people already know this story. There is also another saying that is similar to this and that is: Quality over Quantity. You should always take your time when you are doing things to get it done right, not just speed through it. There also is a background moral to the story. Don't be so self-centered and overly confident. But since many people know this story and are very familiar with it, I'm going to do a little twist. I had an "interview" with the tortoise right after his race and I wrote down what we said...

Me: Mr. Tortoise, Mr. Tortoise, how do you feel now that you have beaten the hare?
Tortoise: Well I feel now that I have beaten him, he'll stop bragging about it and stop being so arrogant. I also feel that this is a great lesson for the kids to take quality over quantity. Just to teach them slow and steady wins the race.
Me: What did you think when you saw the hare sleeping in the grass?
Tortoise: I was thinking, "What a self- centered, lazy jerk" He couldn't even stay focused long enough to finish a race.
Me: What made you challenge the hare?
Tortoise: Just seeing him brag about something that we have never seen him do. Oh and I'm turning into a couch potato and I thought racing him would be a great way to stay in shape.
Me: What will you do now?
Tortoise: I guess I'll just go back to my old job. Oh and keep that hare in line. I might teach him to be less self- centered, and who knows, maybe he'll change.

          This interview was just a creative way to see things in the tortoise's point of view. In real life you should always stay focused and take your time to get things right, or you'll end up bragging about something and getting shown up by the least likely person just like the hare.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Mermaid and the Woodcutter

A woodcutter had been hard at work all day, cutting down trees to sell for firewood. It was nearing sunset, but he wanted to cut down one last tree before going home for the night. Coming across a sturdy elm that grew beside a deep pool, he set to work. But he was so tired that, after a few strokes, his ax slipped out of his hands and fell with a splash into the deep black water.
          "How could I be so careless!" the woodcutter cried. "I'll never see my ax again!" And he stood by the water in despair.
          Now, a mermaid happened to be nearby, and heard the woodcutter's lamentations. Quick as thought, the creature appeared before him and asked him what was wrong.
          "I've lost my only ax in the water," the woodcutter groaned. "I can't afford to buy another, and now my children will go hungry. What can I do?"
          "Wait here," the mermaid replied, and she dived to the bottom of the pool. When she came back to the surface, she held in her hand an ax made of pure gold.
          "Is this the ax you lost?" the mermaid asked the woodcutter.
          "No, that one isn't mine," the honest man answered.
          The mermaid dived again to the bottom of the pool and came up with a shining silver ax. "Then this one must be your," she said.
          "No, that one's not mine, either," sighed the woodcutter. "Mine was just a plain iron ax with a wooden handle."
          For the third time the mermaid dived to the bottom of the pool, and this time she came up with an old, worn iron ax.
          "That's the one!" cried the woodcutter joyfully.  “How can I ever thank you?"
          "My friend," said the mermaid, "your honesty deserves a reward. Take all three axes home with you, and your children will never go hungry again."
          When the delighted woodcutter reached home, he told his family what had happened. Now, the woodcutter had a brother who, when he heard the story, said to himself, "Why should my foolish brother have better luck than me? Tomorrow I'll try the same trick, and I'll come home wealthy too!"
          The next day the woodcutter's brother went to the same pool and promptly threw his ax into the water. Immediately he began weeping and wailing, calling on the mermaid to help him. The mermaid appeared and, diving to the bottom of the pool, brought up a golden ax. "Is this the one you lost?" she asked.
          "That's the one!" the woodcutter’s brother cried.
          But the mermaid let the golden ax fall back beneath the water.
          "For your dishonesty," she said, "you'll have no ax at all. "And then she vanished, leaving the woodcutter's brother poorer than ever.

Honesty is the best policy

          This story bears truth, no matter how you look at it. Lying is bad in general; at least that's what we've been told since we're old enough to speak. No matter in what circumstance, you should always be honest. If you cheat on a test, you should tell the teacher about it otherwise the guilt will make you feel miserable. If you tell a little white lie, like you ate your vegetables instead of giving them to your dog which is what you really did, then you would keep doing that and never eat your vegetables. You would lose your health and that would be bad. A little white lie might seem small, but everything works out better if you are just honest. Whenever you do something well, you want to tell someone about it and you would be completely honest with that. So why can you not be honest for the bad things. For example, if you win a basket ball game, you want to tell your parents about it. You would be honest there and tell them all about it. And if you lost, it would not be too hard to tell them. So you have to be honest about good and bad to be completely honest. Grant it being honest about doing bad things has consequences like going to jail for robbing a bank, but in the end, honesty makes the world a better place.

          Honesty creates trust between us all. If everybody was always honest, there would be no corruption, there would be no betrayals, and the people who get away with crime would be non-existent because they would always confess. But sadly, people today are never completely honest. In the past there have been honest people like mother Teresa but that is one in a billion. We need to have that number grow. Frankly, I am not perfect either. I have lied my fair share of times. But if we all just tried to be honest, then we will all be just, all around, a better society for the next generation. So we don't end up like the woodcutter's brother, completely broke and without a clue.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Little Crab and his Grandmother

Grandmother Crab was quietly resting on the seabed when Little Crab scuttled by.
 "Foolish child!" she scolded. "Why are you walking sideways like that? You should always march straight ahead, and show the world you're proud to be a crab!"
 Now, Little Crab was proud to be a crab, and he wanted the world to know it. "Show me how, Grandmother," he cried, "and I'll never walk another way!"
 With great dignity, Grandmother Crab stood up. But when she took a step, she could only go sideways, just like Little Crab. And when she tried again, she tripped and fell with a thump to the ocean floor.
 Grandmother Crab sat up stiffly. "On second thought, Little Crab," she said, "a true crab should always be very proud to walk sideways."

Master what you teach.

          This is an important lesson to anyone out there. Whether Little Crab was being obnoxious or if he really wanted Grandmother Crab to show him, we'll never know. What I do know is that Little Crab was right to ask. So for kids out there who are being told to do things by their parents such as, "Play the instrument like this..." or, " Shoot the ball like this..." Ask them to show you. Chances are, they won't be able to play the instrument or shoot the ball the way they described. But make sure you don't ask in an obnoxious way because otherwise that may land you in a lot of trouble. Trust me. If it is really obvious that your parents don't know, but they are really strict parents and might take what you say as disrespectful, just leave it be. I know it can be frustrating, seeing your parents are not perfect; but just live with it. It's not the end of the world.

          Now if you’re an adult or a teenager working with younger kids and teaching them how to do sports, school work, playing an instrument, etc., you want to master what you teach. If you don't and one of your 'students' calls you on it, you'll end up being embarrassed and lose all credibility in that subject/activity. For instance, the other day, I was having a football catch with my friends and I told my friends that I was really accurate with my throws. But, my throw ended up sailing 5 feet over his head. It was really embarrassing, especially when my friend said, "Looks like I'm learning from the master." Sarcastically of course. So for all the people out there teaching others on how to do things, master what you teach, so you don’t trip and fall like Grandma Crab.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Grasshopper and the Ants

All summer long a merry grasshopper spent his days making music. When he saw the ants marching past him in a line, carrying seeds and grain to store in their hill, he laughed at their toil.. "How foolish, to work so hard in the hot sun!" the grasshopper said. "Summer's the time to play and sing. There's time enough to worry about winter when the first snow falls."
But when the days grew short and the first snow fell, the grasshopper could find nothing to eat. Shivering in the cold, he came to ask the ants for help. "Please, can't you spare me a seed or a leaf?" he begged. "I'm too hungry even to sing!"
The ants shrugged in disdain. "We worked hard for our food and we have none to spare, " they said. "All summer long you made nothing but music. Now all winter long you dance!"

Don't put off for tomorrow what you should do today.

          Today is my first entry and to start off I just wanted to explain what I am doing. For the next 21 days, I will be posting a different Aesop's Fable every so other day and discussing the morals of the stories. The first one is The Grasshopper and the Ant.

            Today I had a basketball game at school that I couldn't go to because I forgot my basketball shoes at my home. I went home and didn't play. I should have told my coach that I couldn't play and that I was sorry I couldn't be there; but I postponed it because I had other things to do and classes to get to. So at the end of the day, I went home and forgot to tell my coach completely. So to him it must have felt like I completely blew him off. I felt bad about not telling him but I felt even worse for forgetting to tell him. I feel that the moral of this story is perfect for this occasion. It basically says, "Don't procrastinate!" I put off telling my coach about not being able to go to the game and I eventually forgot. Now that I have read this story, I will know better for next time.

          Many other people procrastinate, not just me. Just in my class alone, a lot of my friends tend to procrastinate on their homework and projects. Like just today, my friend did not do his homework because he put it off until the last moment and barely got started. So he did not do homework for 3 subjects and he probably got an "F". He said to me, "It's fine, I'll just do it later." But later never came. Most of my friends, looking back, are not the best with managing their time.

          For those people who aren't the best at managing their time, here are some tricks that you can use to stop procrastinating.

  • Try to write down things to do to keep reminding yourself not to not put them off
  • Do the worst things first to get them over with
  • Make jobs smaller and easier to manage
  • Self-assess what you have done every other hour to make sure you are still on track
  • Stay focused and don't get distracted 
          What I'm trying to say is, don't procrastinate like the grasshopper, or you'll end up starving through the winter.