Here is a little story that came to mind in the early hours of the morning. As with these type of
stories the recipient may find in it, what is in it for him or her.

There was once a falcon to whom the king spoke in terms of endearment. Elated,
the royal bird flew at his behest from the forearm of the king. He flew high and far,
beyond the reach of many another bird. In the course of his flight he spotted a
glittering treasure which he had not in his previous flights noticed. He circled and
dived, catching the glittering treasure in his claws. He saw the treasure had the
mark of the king on it and with delight he headed back to the king.

On the way he happened upon a flock of owls in a wilderness scratching at the
earth for anything they could find. 'How they waste their energies for such
baubles', he reflected. Recalling the generosity of the king, he was anxious to
emulate this quality and swooped down depositing near the owls a precious jewel
of great worth from his treasure. In doing so a blade of straw that he had picked up
inadvertently with the treasure fell to earth nearby. He hovered in the air a while to
see the result of his offering. To the falcon's delight the owls advanced on the
place. However delight turned to surprise as he saw the owls ignore the treasure
deposited and advanced in numbers on the piece of straw. They fought and fussed
over the straw but the jewel of great worth remained untouched. The falcon
eventually left in some amazement and returned to the arm of the king. There he
related the tale to the king. The king, who naturally understood the language of the
birds, stroked his falcon. 'Do not be disappointed,' the king said, 'it was ever thus -
let the treasure lie where it is, it may be one day some young falcon who still
labours under the impression it is an owl, will notice the treasure and seeing my
mark upon it will seek me out to return it to me, and thus gain his rightful place at
my court. It is the nature of owls to seek what is in accord with their nature.
Perhaps next time you are moved to such an act you should first wrap the treasure
in an abundance of straw. My treasure is to be found in many places waiting for
those who recognise my mark upon it'

Here is another story.

Buying Spectacles

Thanks be to God for the arrival of this story which reached my mind just this
morning, so to speak complete and only requiring to be assembled on the page.
This is a kind of ‘flat pack’ process. By this I refer to the contemporary practise
of getting furniture and such like in kits ready to be assembled - so for the faults
of this assemblage blame me not the Designer or Manufacturer.

This story concerns three brothers – of somewhat different natures. The eldest was
of a somewhat fastidious in nature but with great keenness of mind. The second
was inclined to spiritual enthusiasm and could be termed as either an absent
minded dreamer by his detractors or as ‘other worldly’ by his admirers. The third
brother was of a practical turn of mind capable of being industrious or negligent
by turns.

It happened one day their father lectured all three brothers on the importance of
the small kindnesses and courtesies of life. ‘My dear sons’, he said, ‘in this world
there is little that can be accounted as valuable as small acts of courtesy or
kindness whether it is in greeting others politely, going out of your way to assist
someone in need, giving respect to the elderly or help to the disabled or even a
small smile of encouragement to the down-hearted. All our acts large and small
are seen by the All-knowing, All-seeing God – and the accumulated effect of
small courtesies has undoubtedly the effect of giving a better quality of social life
and thus is a service to God. There are some things to be born in mind however.
Firstly do not be ostentatious in your acts – it you rather that the recipient who is
the true beneficiary of your act of kindness. Secondly know that God sees in your
heart, so an act of kindness or courtesy only has its full value when it proceeds
from a pure heart. Thirdly do not be negligent in this respect, integrate courtesy
into your very nature – do not merely ‘tack it on’ as an added extra.’

The effect of these words sunk deep into the minds of the three young men so that
the words became manifest in the behaviour of all three. This is the power of good
words properly absorbed. They may appear to be simply a collection of sounds
or, if written, marks on a page but they become manifest in thousands of acts
changing the nature of the world we live in. You could say the words went like an
army into the world.

From that day the brothers did what they could to put their father’s words into
action. However the different personalities manifested those words in different
ways. The elder brother became known for his acts of courtesy and he would
frequently go out of his way to perform such acts. He became a byword of
courtesy in the local community. The second brother also did not neglect acts of
courtesy but tended to focus, as was his wont, on the inner spiritual quality of
such acts as service to God. The third brother became industrious in social
projects for the welfare of the disadvantaged working hard fixing things for
neighbours and the disadvantaged and so on.

Now it happened one day that the three were going into town on various errands –
one of these involved collecting some new spectacles for the second brother. They
went into the shop which was reached by some steep steps. All three were waiting
in the shop, mentally much engaged in their various thoughts about the tasks they
were engaged in. The older brother with some meal he was preparing to feed the
poor. The middle brother was focused on the nature of service to God. The
younger was concerned about how to fix a neighbours pipe.

An elderly man with a walking stick began mounting the steps with difficulty – all
three would undoubtedly have helped the man had they not been preoccupied, but
as it happened it was the middle brother who suddenly became aware of the old
man – and without any time for thought, he went down the stairs and assisted the
man up the steps. All three left the shop and none mentioned the incident again.

That night the middle brother had a dream of such strength and vivacity that he
was not sure if he was awake or a sleep. He recollected assisting the old man up
the steps but he was not just an old man but a spiritual king and it was he himself
that was being assisted up the steps to a great throne. The august personage spoke
words of benevolence to the brother and said he would reward him with a great
gift – of Divine Knowledge. Thereupon there flooded over the brother a revelation
the like of which it does not behove us to describe, and from that day forth there
remained with the brother an understanding of the spiritual realities that escapes
all but a few.

God knows best and he sees in the hearts the things which are hidden by men even
from themselves.

JMZ July 08
The Story of a Donkey (or Lost and Found)

The villagers were in consternation. That is to say a state of uproar and concern
– not the town nearby called Consternation, which is quite a different story.

It transpires that a donkey, yes a donkey, had disappeared. The villagers had a
meeting in the town hall (which serves as the post office on Wednesdays and
Saturdays). They all expressed their views which were as various as the number
of people there. The conclusion however was clear, when all the evidence had
been sifted and digested, that he had just wandered off and got lost. Anyone who
knew the donkey in question would not have been surprised at all by this
conclusion. It was finally decided to pick a man who knew his way around the
countryside and get him to institute a thorough search.

The man chosen was wily as a fox and sagacious to boot. He knew the highways
and byways having travelled them many times before. Replete with sturdy
walking boots and a stick to beat aside the bracken he duly set out. The twists
and turns of his search need not bother us – suffice it to say he finally found his

Now, the donkey was deep in brambles and waterlogged ditches, and did not
know what to do, or which way to turn. But let’s hear it from the donkey’s point
of view.

It’s very simple really I had made a few mistakes – well to be honest more
than a few - and somehow everything I did only made matters worse. I thought
I had heard somewhere that if you are in a hole just keep digging – of course I
may have got that wrong. Anyhow that’s not the point but I just kept on going
and every step made matters worse.

Strangely though I suddenly met an old man with walking boots and a stick
who for no particular reason I could see, took a liking to me. I guess it was my
mellifluous braying he liked, or maybe he just liked my ears – who can say?
He spoke gently and kindly and in my despair I asked him if he could show me
the way out of here. He gave me a lump of sugar and quietly jumped on my
back.  Well my back is strong and it made little difference to me. In fact in little
or no time I forgot he was there. I was a bit disappointed he didn't’t just pull
me out with his bare hands, but there you are you get what you pay for they
say! As fortune would have it I felt inclined, I don’t know why, to try something
different and took a different route – which actually worked quite well! Soon I
was on more even ground.

Next I felt something urging me to the left and behold there was the main
highway leading to my village. I began to feel really quite pleased with myself
– how many donkeys could have got themselves out of that mess I wonder!

Initially, I turned right on to the highway, but you know something seemed to
tell me that was wrong; and the more I went that way the stronger the feeling
became. Well, as you know, it is not in the donkey’s nature to change his
course but eventually I did, and sure enough in the distance I could see the
village spire. Well I have heard of some bright donkeys but I guess I take the
biscuit for my cleverness. Everything seemed to be going well and my only
complaint was a slight nagging sensation on my back – but hey what of that?

Further up the road I met a female donkey of quite incomparable good looks I
might say. Well she was all for taking a trot in the woods and who was I to say
no! Except, the strangest of things, she suddenly became frightened looked
over my head and trotted off on her own. Easy come, easy go I say.

There were lots of little incidents like that but I could see I had become quite a
clever donkey indeed, ‘cos every time I somehow managed to get back on to
the road.

Eventually I reached my home village and I think news of my cleverness must
have travelled in advance, because all the villagers came out obviously to greet
me. “How clever!” they kept saying – well my heart was fit to burst with pride
at my achievement – now in the donkey kingdom I would be a king!

A strange thing happened then, I miraculously got cured of the irritation on my
back. I realised then that the man with the boots and the stick had been on my
back all the time – I had quite forgotten. Well, I suppose I should have charged
him for the ride – after all you don’t get a donkey ride for free these days. Hey
ho! I was feeling in a generous mood and decided to waive the fee. The only
thing a bit disconcerting was that the villagers seemed to make a lot of fuss of
him too. Still that’s people for you!”