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Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • Patience - hamperoutioun

    Once upon a time there was and there wasn’t a poor family with one son. when the boy was 18, he made a strange request of his mother, “Go to Tateos Agha
    and ask that he give his daughter in marriage to me.”

    The mother remonstrated, “We are so poor. Tateos Agha is the richest man in town. He will never give his daughter to you.”

    “Never mind, Mother. Please ask him. I am ready to do anything to win her hand in marriage.”

    The mother seeing her son’s determination decided to ask the merchant although she was certain he would say no.

    Arriving at the merchant’s house, she entered and said, “Tateos Agha, may your fortunes always increase. I have a sincere request to make of you. If you think it is appropriate, then please grant it. You know my family is poor. We have raised a good son who is honest and God fearing. He wants to marry your daughter.”

    Tateos Agha was taken aback by the request for marriage. Yet, he respected the mother. Not wanting to hurt her feelings he said, “Good woman, please ask your son to come here so I can talk with him.”

    The mother was pleasantly shocked by Tateos Agha’s reply. She hurried home and told the good news to her son. The young man went to see the merchant. When he sat across from Tateos Agha, the rich merchant spoke to him in kind words, “My son, you can marry my daughter if you go to Van and find out the history of the washer man who works from dawn to dusk but cannot even finish washing a single handkerchief.”

    The young man journeyed to Van. He found the washer man who had a handkerchief in his hand and was about to wash it. The washer man looked toward the balcony of the church steeple nearby. He ran toward the church searching for something, looked around and returned again to the river. He nearly immersed the handkerchief into the river to wash it, but stopped and looked up at the steeple and again ran toward it, looked up and down and ran back to the river. He repeated this strange
    routine from dawn to dusk. He was not able to wash the handkerchief or anything else.

    The young man asked the washer man as he ran with him, “Washer man, why are you running up to the church and back? Why don’t you wash the clothes and earn a living?
    You are not even washing one handkerchief.”

    “I can’t answer your question until you find out why a blind beggar in Moush begs for alms near a church. When the people give it to him, he says, “Take your alms back and slap me instead.” If you can find out why he does this, then I will tell you my story,” said the washer man.

    The young man left the washer man and went toward Moush to find the blind beggar. Walking through the town, the young man found a blind beggar near a church. He noticed that when a passerby gave him a pittance in charity, he said, “Please take this back, but slap my face instead.” After seeing this strange behavior several times, the young man approached the blind man and asked, “Why do you refuse to accept charity? Why do you ask your benefactors to slap you on the face?” Please answer me so that the washer man in Van will tell me his secret. Then, I can return to my home town and marry the one I love.” The blind beggar replied, “In Yerevan, you will find a rich merchant. He goes with his caravans for six years at a time. He sells merchandise in foreign lands and comes back with may precious wares.When he returns to Yerevan, he does something very strange. He goes to a place where he has set up two large rocks close together. He knocks himself first against one of them and then against the other. If you can find out why he does this come back to me and I will tell you why I act the way I do.”

    The young man proceeded to Yerevan. He inquired about the merchant and found out that he had just left on a six year journey. The young man had no choice but to patiently wait until the return of the merchant. After six long years, the merchant returned with his horses laden with expensive merchandise. The young man waited until he saw the merchant go to the place where he had placed the two large rocks. He witnessed how the merchant ran into one rock and then the other. The merchant repeated this strange behavior until he was bleeding and fell down in a swoon. The merchant’s attendants carried him back to his home and cared for his injuries.

    When the merchant recovered from his wounds, the young man asked to meet him. He was granted an audience. The young man asked the merchant, “Sir, please tell me why you knock yourself against those two large rocks and cause such bloody injuries to yourself.” If you would be so kind as to explain your strange behavior, then the blind beggar in Moush will tell me why he refuses alms. Then the washerman in Van will relate why he cannot wash a handerchief. Then, I will return to my home and marry the girl I love. I have been patiently waiting in Erevan for six years until you returned.”

    The wealthy merchant explained, “Young man, because you have been so patient for six years, I will relate to you my life’s story. As a young man newly married, I decided to become a rich merchant. I left my pregnant wife and began to travel, buy and sell merchandise. After twenty years I became a rich man. I returned to my village late one night. Since it was late, when I arrived at my house, all the lights, were off. I climbed the roof and peeped into my bedroom. There was my wife, but beside her on a low cot was a handsome youth. I was shocked. It seemed to me that she was unfaithful since I had been away for so long. I rashly entered and murdered my wife and her lover. That night, I slept at a tavern in the village. The next morning, there was news of a double murder of a mother and her son. I was overwhelmed with grief. If only I was more patient, I would have found out that the young man next to my wife was my own son. I left that town and ever since I am trying to repent for my terrible mistake. I bruise myself by slamming into those two rocks as an act of repentance.”

    The story was very sad. The young man was able to return to Moush to see the blind beggar. When he encountered the blind man, he said, “I met the rich merchant who revealed to me why he knocks himself against the two rocks.” The blind beggar asked the young man to repeat what the merchant told him.

    The young man retold the story of the repentant merchant. “Please tell me your story now so that I can see the washer man in Van who will tell me his story and I will be able to get married.”

    The blind beggar began to speak, “I was a camel driver at one time. I transported cargo from from one town to another. On my travel routes, I met an itinerant dervish who inquired what was my purpose in life. I answered that I was always searching for merchandise to carry from one place to another. He indicated that he had a large quantity of gold that could be loaded on 40 camels. He offered to give me one of the laden camels as recompense for my services. I was to safely deliver the other 39 to Kharput. I agreed to his proposal. I followed him to a cave that was closed with a giant rock. He said a strange incantation and the rock moved away so that we could enter the cave. He lit a candle and walked toward a groove in the wall where there was a small box that he put in his pocket. He told me to bring 40 camels into the cave and we loaded them with precious gold. He said, “You can take any one of these camels for your payment. The remaining 39 should be taken to Kharput.

    I quickly reflected how one camel of gold is good but I would prefer to get 10 camels. I brazenly asked for 9 more camels. The Dervish agreed. I was happy he agreed. I still was not satisfied so I asked for ten more camels. He agreed that I could have 20 camels. I was happy but not satisfied. I asked for another ten and he agreed. Now, I had 30 camels.

    I was still not satisfied. I asked for another 10 camels and he agreed. Now, I had all forty camels loaded with gold. But, I was still not satisfied. I asked the Dervish to give me the little box he put in his pocket. He said, “My dear friend, I have given you all 40 camels laden with gold and I have not complained. Are you not satisfied with such tremendous wealth?” I answered by shaking my head to say no. I wanted to know what was in the box. I impudently said, “Give me the little box!”

    “There is a special medicine in this box. If you apply it to one eye, you will see what is hidden under the ground. You will see buried treasures and other valuable things hidden to the eye of normal people. If the medicine is applied to both eyes, however, you will become blind. Since you insist, you can have the box, but be very careful.”

    I greedily took the box and applied the medicine on one eye. Amazingly, I saw buried treasures of gold, jewels and many other precious things. But surprisingly, I was not satisfied. I wanted more. I foolishly began to think that my ability to see with only one eye was holding me back from discovering more treasures. By the greed to acquire more covered my rational sense. I decided to apply the medicine on my other eye. To my horror, I became blind on both eyes. I began to scream for help. The Dervish came and saw my sorry plight. “You are so selfish, you cannot enjoy life. You have done this to yourself and now you must suffer the consequences. You must learn to repent for your mistakes,” said the Dervish. He slapped my face and took back the 40 camels and the little box of medicine. “This is my story young man,” said the blind beggar.

    The young man was thankful to the beggar. “Now, I can go find the washer man in Van and ask to hear his story,” he said. After some time, he found the washer man and told him he heard the story of the blind beggar. He requested, “Please tell me your story.” The washer man first asked him to repeat the story of the blind beggar. The young man told it word for word. The washer man began his story.

    “A long time ago, I was a washer man who lived and worked here. I washed clothes for anyone needing my service. One day, after long hours of hard toil, I returned to my little cottage exhausted. But to my utter amazement, it was transformed into a majestic palace. At first, I thought it was a mistake on my part. The entrance of the palace opened and a heavenly gorgeous woman beckoned me to come inside. She said, “Come in, this is your house and this is your family.” She took my hand and lead me into the palace. We entered a room full of precious jewels and gold objects. The curtains and rugs were made of the finest silk and tastefully colorful. There were 39 more beautiful women in the room all looking at me with eyes of affection. The lady who greeted me first said, ‘All of us belong to you. We will cook delicious food and serve you in every way possible for your pleasure. You can enjoy with all of us. The only precaution is you must never express dissatisfaction. If you complain three times, we will disappear and you will again become poor and miserable.’ It was unbelievable. I enjoyed these heavenly beauties for many years. I even had a beautiful child with one of them. Life was good. There was no dearth of anything. I became complacent. One day, there was a disturbing mist that covered everything outside. I couldn’t take my morning walk. “It is so misty, I can’t take my stroll outside and I enjoy the morning sun. What is wrong with nature?,” I said.

    The most beautiful women said, ‘You have complained once. Be very careful. You have two more chances before you lose everything.’

    Many months went by and I was enjoying life to the fullest. One day it rained very hard. I remarked, “I wish it wouldn’t rain so hard. It will ruin the beautiful flowers in our garden.” ‘Be careful, you have complained twice. You only have one more chance,” warned the most beautiful woman.’

    Many months passed and again I was dulled by the continual routine of happiness. One day it was unbearably hot. I could hardly breathe. I said, ‘My god, what an unpleasant hot day. I can’t stand it any longer.’ As soon as I said this, everything disappeared and I was again in my miserable cottage in my ragged clothes. I lost all those beautiful women and my dear child.

    I returned to my work as a washer man. When I go to the river to wash clothes, I see my wife and child on the balcony of the church steeple. I run toward them to beg them to come back, they disappear. I come back disappointed. Before I can wash even a handkerchief, again I see them and run toward them. This is why I cannot wash a single handkerchief from dawn to dusk.”

    The young man was so happy to hear the story of the washer man. He thanked him and said, “Now I can return to Tateos Agha and marry his daughter. He returned home and visited the Aga. He related all that happened to him during the years he was away. Tateos Agha was very impressed by the patience and determination of the young man.

    “My son, since you demonstrated such perseverance in finding out these stories, you are the one who deserves to marry my daughter.” The marriage was arrange and the young man reached his goal. May you also reach your goals.

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  • Once the Indian court jokester Gopal Bhan went too far in ridiculing the king who flew into a rage. The monarch ordered that Gopal Bhan be killed for disrespect. The court jester begged the king to remember all the service he had rendered him in the past. He requested that the king permit him (Gopal) to choose the way he should die. The king agreed to grant him his wish.

    Gopal Bhan said, “Your Majesty, let me die of old age.”

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  • When discussing the subject of the body and the soul, there is often confusion. To dispel any confusion, we can discuss a practical example that will help us to clear away any misunderstanding.

    Flight 1549, a US Airways plane with 155 passengers abroad, took off from New York and was headed to Charlotte, North Carolina. The plane was airborne less than three minutes when the pilot, C.B. Sullenberger, radioed to air traffic controllers that he had experienced a bird strike and declared an emergency. The pilot was forced to ditch the plane into the Hudson River. Sullenberger, an expert pilot was able to navigate the plane so as to clear the George Washington Bridge by less than 900 feet and successfully made a gradual river landing on the Hudson River without any passenger deaths. It was a modern miracle. The masterful skill of the pilot in such a dire emergency was historic.

    There is a profound lesson demonstrated by this extraordinary event. An airplane is a complicated machine with amazing capabilities. But, it is not as important as the pilot. The pilot controls this amazing machine called the airplane. We can draw a parallel between the pilot/airplane and the individual soul/material body. The soul is the source of consciousness that animates the material body in the same way as the pilot flies the plane and makes it function according to his will and direction. Without the pilot, the airplane cannot move. Similarly, without the presence of the soul the body cannot move. We understand this point more clearly when we see a person die. The soul leaves the body and the body becomes inanimate and without consciousness.

    The pilot is more important than the airplane and the soul is more important than the body.

    The airplane was fatally damaged because of a flock of birds that were sucked into the jet engine at low altitude. Still, Mr. Sullenberger was able to successfully land the airplane and save the lives of all the passengers. It is obvious that the pilot is more important than the airplane. Similarly, as human beings, we should not be baffled by the temporary covering of the material body and confuse it with the eternal soul that is trapped in this body. We must learn to become expert pilots of this body by using it exclusively for self-realization. Before we are obliged to ditch the body when it ultimately fails us, we can detach ourselves from the mundane pursuit of sense pleasures and use the body as a vehicle to reach our spiritual destiny knowing well that the soul is much more important than the body. If we become expert pilots like Mr. Sullenberger, we will be able to leave the body at the end of our life without any attachment or regret and live on eternally as a liberated soul. Without such expertise in spiritual life, we will be forced to take another body after death and continue our miserable existence in this material world pursuing illusory goals of sense gratification.

    This material body that we have is a lump of matter. But the consciousness or the living pulse in the body is different. Can anyone prove that the body and the consciousness are the same and not different? The answer is no. When the consciousness leaves the body, the body is dead and just a lump of matter that decays. There is no possibility of creating human consciousness from any combination of matter either chemically, mechanically, genetically or whatever.

    There are many other things we cannot produce artificially because they require the living pulse or the consciousness to function. One example is human blood. It is impossible to manufacture human blood independent of the human body although the components of it are known. The closest scientists have come to making human blood is a substance called HBOC or hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier. This is made from human or animal red blood cells from which the hemoglobin is filtered, impurities removed, chemically modified and purified, mixed with a solution and packaged.
    It is, however, made from already existing red blood cells and not manufactured from inert material ingredients. There is something in the human or animal blood that scientists do not understand. It is the living pulse or consciousness that is non-material and, therefore, the scientists cannot reproduce it with material ingredients.

    If we cannot distinguish the living pulse from the material body, then we are in the same position as a dog or animal thinking “I am this body. I am a big dog. I can bark very loudly.” Let’s say a man is giving a speech in a big assembly, but he has the same conception of life, i.e.: “I am this body,”
    then what is the difference between the man and the dog. We, as human beings, have to understand this crucial point. If we want to become more than the dog, we must find out in which sense we as humans are different than the dog by reason of our ability to discern the difference between the body and the soul. This sense of understanding is the following: “I am not this body. Rather, my real self or identity is an eternal and conscious soul that is different than the material body.” This understanding “I am not this body but pure spirit soul” is the beginning of real knowledge.

    An example of the above is a modern passenger airplane like the one Mr. Sullenberger piloted. If someone says the plane can pilot itself. The human pilot is not required. Is this true? Can the airplane pilot or drive itself without a pilot that is either in the plane or remotely controlling it? The answer is no. It is impossible. One becomes knowledgeable when they understand that the big machine, the airplane, cannot pilot itself; or, the material body cannot “pilot” or function itself without an intelligent “pilot” or living, conscious, intelligent pulse-soul. This understanding requires intelligence.

    Any intelligent man can understand that the machine itself is not as important as the “intelligent pilot” of the machine as in the case of the passenger jet and Mr. Sullenberger. The same applies to the material body and the conscious soul.

    If we accept the material body as the all in all, then we can analyze it part by part. For example, let us look at the breathing process. We may say that if the breathing is stopped, a person will die. But oxygen can be replaced or supplied just as we fill an empty tire with air. So let the doctors give a person who is dying more air or oxygen. But, people die anyway, even if oxygen is supplied. (Of course, oxygen is administered to people to keep them alive, but up to a certain limit. They die anyway even with unlimited oxygen being supplied.)

    The animal like the dog cannot understand that it is not the body. He has no understanding of his real position. Therefore, he cannot solve the problems of life (birth, old age, disease and death). But human intelligence is much more advanced than the dog’s intelligence. A human being can use his or her intelligence to understand he is different than the continually changing body and attempt to make a solution to the real problems of life. If a human being does not understand this difference or his real position then he is not different than the dog.

    Today, there is no educational institution that is teaching the understanding of the living pulse or force, Due to this lack of understanding, human intelligence is being used simply to prolong as much as possible the failing material body as if the essential identity of a person is this body and not the
    living pulse temporarily in the body. Without the living pulse, the body is just a lump of matter. Yet, the big scientists of this world want to somehow perpetuate the lump of matter and ignore the living pulse. They consider the living pulse as a product of material combination or a product of the lump of matter. This is the sad state of modern science and research. They do not understand the real position of the living pulse and therefore, all their research and discoveries remain inadequate in solving the real problems of life.

    The living pulse or spirit soul is the source of the consciousness in the body. Just as the pilot may be a small man compared to the size of the passenger jet, and, it is possible to increase the size of the jet although the pilot remains the same. In the same way, a living entity may have a body of a big elephant or an tiny ant, but “the pilot” or the living pulse remains the same. This is the real understanding of an intelligent person.

    The purpose of real education is to dispel the misunderstanding that almost all persons have that
    they mistake the body to be the real self. Knowledge means to know who is within the body. That is real education. This knowledge is not understood correctly in the western countries. In the East, the Vedas have preserved this knowledge intact such as in the Bhagavad-gita.

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  • There was a poor man who had many children. Because of the number of children, he couldn’t find anyone to be a godfather for his family because it was too costly. In Armenia, becoming the godfather of children in a family could be costly. The godfather pays the christening, food for the guests, gifts for the child, and entertainment for the guests.Sometime, if the child was a boy, the godfather would pay for the wedding expenses when the boy married.

    The poor father could not find anyone in his village who would become godfather for his children. He decided to find a godfather in another village. He walked toward another village. On the road, he met the angel Gabriel in disguise. The father did not know the real identity of the angel. Gabriel wanted to the poor man.

    “Where are you going friend?” the angel asked.

    “I am searching for a godfather for my children,” said the father.

    “There is no one in your village that wants to be godfather for your children?”

    “They are not willing to accept such a responsibility because I have too many children.”

    “My dear fellow, I’ll become the godfather of your children. I love children and want to see them happy.”

    The father and the angel Gabriel in disguise returned together to his village. They performed the christenings for all the children with gifts and music and good food. When all the ceremonies, dinner and music were finished the angel prepared to leave.

    The angel Gabriel spoke to the poor father, “Dear friend, I want to help you. You have so many children and very little money. Here is a suitcase filled with medicinal herbs. You will become a healer. When you go to a sick person’s house, I will be there too. But, no one else except you will be able to see me. You must remember what I am going to tell you now. If I stand at the head of the sick person, That person is destined to die. You must not do anything to save that person. But, if I am standing at his feet, give him any of the herbs in the suitcase and he will be cured of his sickness. You will become famous as a healer of the sick and accumulate money easily to maintain your family. But, you must promise me that if I am standing at the head of the person, do not attempt to heal that person. Promise!”

    The father said, “Yes sir, I promise.”

    The father, following the angel’s instructions, became famous as a healer. With each cure, he was given money. This regular income improved his family finances and his family was happy and prosperous. Once, the princess of the country became very sick. A reward was offered for anyone who could cure her sickness. The father-healer came to the palace and entered into the room of the princess. He was shocked to see the his angel friend standing at her head instead of at her feet. He thought this is a sad day for me. There is such a handsome reward for saving her, but my invisible friend is standing at her head. He didn’t want to lose the reward. He devised a trick.

    He spoke with the king in private. “Your Majesty,” he said, ” I can cure your daughter if you give me four bright and nimble men.”

    The king called his most able and trusted men and said, “Do anything this man tells you to do.”

    “Please listen carefully to my instructions,” said the father healer. “Two of you stand behind head of the princess and two at her feet. When I give you this signal, you quickly change her position so that her feet will be where her head was and her head where her feet were. You must do this so fast that no one will understand what has happened. I can cure her if you do this in a flash.”

    They all proceeded to the princess’s room. The angel was standing at her head. The men positioned themselves. The father healer gave the signal and in a split second the position of the princess was reversed. The angel didn’t realize what happened due to the surprise speed of the movement. The healer immediately took out one of the herbs and gave it to the princess. She was cured of her sickness quickly.

    Seeing this trick unfold the angel was fuming mad at the father healer. The father disobeyed the instructions of the angel. The angel decided to punish the father. He came before him and stood near his head. “Dear godfather, I am so happy to see. How are you?” said the father trying to hide his shock that his generous friend was standing at his head as if he would take him to the world of death.

    “I am also glad to see you, my friend the healer. I have christened your children and now I have come for your soul as you can see.” said the angel.

    “Godfather, I hope you are not serious about taking me,” the father said jokingly.

    “I am dead serious. You disobeyed me by changing the position of the princess. I must punish you.”

    “Godfather, you know I have a large family and a wife. You are the godfather of my children. What will happen to them and my poor wife?”

    “I will make sure they are well taken of after your demise.”

    “If you are really determined to take my life, I cannot do anything but submit. Please, godfather, grant me one last wish. Please do not take me until I say the Lord’s Prayer.”

    The angel granted the father’s wish.

    But the father did not say the Lord’s Prayer. The angel waited until he understood that the man was purposely silent. He said, “Why are you not saying the Lord’s Prayer?” “Say it now so I can take you.”

    “I refuse to say it,” said the father.

    “You must so that I can take you.”

    “I will not say it and you cannot take me until I say it,” answered the father.

    The angel left. He planned to trick the father to say the Lord’s Prayer at an opportune time.

    Some time later, the angel disguised himself as a young school boy. He took a small book with the Lord’s Prayer printed on one of the pages and carried it while walking and crying. He walked toward the father, who noticed him and felt sorry to see the little boy in tears. The father had a soft heart especially for children.

    “What is wrong my dear child,” the father asked.

    My teacher gave me this small book to read, but I can’t read it. He warned me that if I can’t read it tomorrow, he will whip me.”

    “Don’t cry. I will help you. Show me the book.”

    The book began with the Lord’s Prayer on the first page. The father read the Lord’s Prayer and coached the boy to repeat it correctly. When the prayer was read and completed, the angel appeared.

    “You have said the Lord’s Prayer. Now you will come with me,” the angel Gabriel said as he took the father’s soul away.

    Soon after, the angel went to the father’s house and asked for his oldest son. He explained what had happened to his father and why. The angel Gabriel felt duty bound to the family because he was the godfather. He told the father’s history to his son and said:

    “I want you support your mother and siblings by taking up your father’s healing service. I will give you a suitcase of herbs. When you call on a sick person, if I am standing at their head, you can not do anything for them. If I am standing at their feet, give them anyone of the herbs and they will get better. Remember, do not try to cure anyone at whose head I am standing. Don’t do as your father did.”

    The son strictly followed the angel Gabriel’s instructions. He became very famous and wealthy. When we accept good advice and give our word to follow it, we will always be successful and protected by God’s grace. May everyone who reads this story have their wishes for knowledge of life fulfilled.

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  • There was once a beggar who went from village to village to ask for alms. There was one village where the people were very generous. When someone gave him food or a few coins he would say “May you receive what you have given.” Everyone liked this phrase and they were always pleased to see him once a month.

    In this village there were two brothers who were merchants. Their business requirements took them frequently away from home. Their wives were often lonely. They began to secretly receive men of the village in their homes for entertainment. The beggar would make the rounds of the village. He also stopped in front of the two wives’ houses. When they gave him alms, he would say “May you receive what you have given.” The two wives, who were paranoid about their husbands’ finding out about their activities, became suspicious of the beggar. They imagined that he was hinting to them that he knew about their infidelity to their husbands.

    “I am suspicious of that beggar,” said one one wife. “I think he knows about our cheating on our husbands and is going to tell them about us.”

    “Why does he always repeat the same thing every time we give him alms,” said the other wife. “He must know something that will be our undoing. We must get rid of him.”

    One day the two wives decided to cook some sweet cakes (gateh) and lace them with poison. They made the sweet breads smell delicious and decorated them. When they saw the beggar, they gave him the two sweet breads. He thanked them heartily and said, “May you receive what you have given.” The two evil wives thought, “We shall see what you will receive.”

    The same day, the husbands of the wives were returning home after their long journey selling their wares. The beggar had decided to try and sell the two sweet breads since they were so decoratively made. He was hawking the breads as the husbands approached him on the road. They both looked at the beggar who was calling out loud, “Sweet gateh (sweet bread) from heaven made by two chaste ladies.” The brothers were intrigued because they had not eaten sweet bread since they had left on their journey. They stopped and examined the sweet breads which were warm and smelled fresh and savory. They gave the beggar some coins and left eating the bread.

    When they reached their homes, they were both feeling very ill and panting for breath. Their wives called a local healer who examined the men and said they had been poisoned. He gave them both
    purgatives, flushed their stomachs with emetics, and said his incantations for healing. Miraculously, the brothers were saved from death. The next day, the healer asked them what they ate or ingested the previous day. They could only think of the sweet bread they purchased from the beggar. The beggar was summoned and asked why he poisoned the two breads. He swore he had not poisoned the bread. He explained how he was called by the two wives who gave him fresh, sweet bread.

    The wives were questioned. At first, they denied any wrong doing. The healer and the husbands were persistent. Some the the wives of the men who were visiting the wives secretly and who were suspicious of the merchant’s wives also came and spoke privately with the merchants. The two evil wives finally admitted the truth and their unfaithfulness revealed.

    The ditch-digger falls into his own ditch. Don’t do evil deeds to others so that evil will not be done to you.

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  • Once upon a time there was a widow named Azneev. She lived a very humble life in a small cottage. She was very kind and compassionate. With her modest means, she lived a dignified life and was able to also give gifts of kind words, food, and small donations to those who were less fortunate than her. Azneev never spoke harshly to anyone. She was an example of a good woman who practiced the the Christian virtues of faith and charity. She would pray everyday and wish everyone well.

    One day Azneev found a wounded bird. She rescued the small creature and brought her home. She made a soft nest from twigs and grass and placed the bird in it. She cleaned the wound and wrapped a soft cloth around the bird to keep her warm. Everyday, Azneev fed the bird grains and water. Gradually the bird’s wing healed and one day she flew away. Azneev was both gladdened and sad. She was happy the bird was able to heal and return to her natural habitat. She was sad to lose such a good companion who she could care for tenderly.

    After three days, the bird returned and perched on Azneev’s kitchen table. She chirped excitedly and left a seed on the table and flew away. Azneev was thrilled to see her friend again even if it was for such a short visit. She noticed the seed. With all the chirping and hopping the bird did, Azneev understood that she was trying to communicate something to her. After saying her prays, she had a thought that the bird left the seed for her to plant. Perhaps the seed was the bird’s gift to Azneev. She felt a a reassuring certainty that she should plant the seed and wait patiently. She prepared a nice pot with good earth and planted the seed with a gentle prayer. She also thanked the bird for her precious gift and prayed that God always protect the bird.

    After some time, the seed sprouted and gradually grew into a beautiful plant. Azneev regularly watered the plant and sang beautiful songs and soothing lullabys. She decorated the pot with pretty wild flowers and colorful designs. The plant gave golden flowers. At first, Azneev thought that they were only colored golden. But on close examination she was shocked to see that the flowers were really made of precious gold. They shined brilliantly and illuminated the house day and night. Azneev understood that the bird thanked for her loving care by blessing her with unlimited wealth. Soon the word spread throught the town. Many people came to see the miraculous plant. Azneev was very generous with her new found wealth. She gave almost everything
    away in charity to the needy and for worthy causes. Azneev did not change her life style or her attitude. She remained humble
    and pure of heart without any trace of pride or arrogance. She continued to pray everyday and thanked God for her blessings.

    Azneev had a neighbor called Jealous, who observed the good fortune of Azneev and became determined to get the same blessings. Jealous was not religious. She was greedy. She often spoke harshly and often mistreated people. One day, Jealous set a clever bird trap with the hope that the bird that blessed Azneev would get caught in it. The unthinkable happened. The same bird was caught in Jealous’s trap. Jealous purposely broke the bird’s wing and then made a soft nest of twigs and grass for the bird. She cleaned the wound and wrapped it with a soft cloth and fed the bird gains and water everyday.

    Jealous’s only purpose was to obtain riches. She had no love or genuine feeling for the bird. She never prayed not sang for the bird. She was blatantly self-interested. The bird eventually healed and flew away. After three days, she flew back to Jealous’s kitchen and left a seed. Jealous planted the seed and waited with great anticipation. The plant grew and eventually gave fruits.
    But the fruits were live scorpions that crawled all over Jealous’s house and bit her every chance they could. Jealous ran away from that house and never returned.

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  • Once upon a time there was a rich family with seven sons. All the sons were married and lived in one house with their mother and father. Although they were rich, the big house always seemed to be disorganized and this caused everyone to feel unhappy. One day the youngest of the brides pleaded with her mother-in-law to give her the charge of household. The young girl worked hard to keep the entire household clean and orderly. Everyone felt happy to live in a freshly cleaned and well organized house.

    Two of the elder brothers were jealous of their youngest brother’s wife. They didn’t like her making rules for them and trying to enforce them. The young bride insisted that all the men bring home firewood every evening and place it neatly on the wood stack in the garden. The two jealous brothers found a large, black dead snake one day. They brought the snake back and threw it on the wood stack. They thought it would be an excellent way to scare the young bride and discourage her from continuing her management. But destiny is such that one cannot predict its course. A stork happened to fly near the wood stack. It saw the large snake. The stork happened to be wearing a precious and extremely valuable crown of jewels. The large bird swooped down, dropped the crown, picked up the snake and flew away.

    When the young bride went to inspect the wood stack, she saw the precious crown and immediately hid it. During the family dinner, the two jealous brothers expected to see the young bride come running disheveled and frightened. They were, however, disappointed when she entered the dining room calm and serene. They were not aware of what actually transpired.

    The next day, the young bride talked with her father-in-law. She gave him the precious crown. She suggested that he take it and give it as a gift to the king. If the king offered him a reward, she advised him to not accept anything in return. He followed the young bride’s advice. Gifted the crown to the king and refused any gifts in return for the precious crown.

    After some days, the king ordered seven mules to be loaded with gold and precious gifts and delivered to the home of the seven brothers. When the mules arrived with the royal tresures, the young bride refused to accept the gifts. But the royal guards insisted that the king had ordered them to deliver the gifts. They unloaded the mules and left the treasures at the doorstep of the seven brothers.

    When the family members saw the treasure, they were amazed and understood that something wonderful had occurred due to the expert advice of the young bride. They realized that she was
    talented and clever. She never revealed what really happened. But everyone accepted her household management after that because she was able to make a happy and prosperous home.

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  • Once upon a time there was a rich man whose wife died on giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. When the girl became sixteen, she was afflicted by a severe headache that no one could cure. The father despaired. He set out to find a healer.

    On his search, he met a dervish who spoke to him, “You have a daughter who has a chronic headache. You cannot find a cure for it. Take my advice. Go to the mountain near your town. On the trail leading upwards, you will find a big black rock.Chip off some of the rock and grind it to a powder. Mix this powder with water and give it to your daughter to drink. She will be cured of the headache.”

    The rich man could hardly believe the words of the dervish. He was determined to try anything that might help her. He hurried to the mountain, found the black rock, chipped some pieces off and ground it to powder. He mixed the powder with water and gave it to his daughter to drink.She gulped it down and soon after her headache disappeared.

    A side effect of the magic potion was that she became pregnant. The father was perplexed. He knew his daughter was chaste. He could not understand how she became pregnant.The daughter gave birth to a son. The rich man sold all his possessions. He took his daughter and grandson away to a far off town where he introduced his daughter as a widow.

    When the grandson was 8 years old, his grandfather took him to a polo event to teach the boy the manly art of riding a horse in competition. The grandfather seated the boy on a horse. He also mounted a horse and a courtier friend of the grandfather also mounted a horse to begin the polo game. When the boy pressed his thighs against the sides of the horse he perceived the horse to be in foal or pregnant. “This horse will soon give birth to a colt in three weeks. The colt will be blind in the right eye. Please help me get off this horse.”

    The courtier and the grandfather were intrigued and puzzled by the young boy’s remark. They helped him get down. The courtier decided to wait and see if the little boy’s prediction was correct.
    There are rare occasions when children are born with extraordinary powers. They can remember their previous lives or they can foretell the future.

    After three weeks the horse gave birth to a colt that was blind in the right eye. The courtier became convinced that the young boy was blessed with visionary powers. He gave gifts to the boy and marveled with the grandfather about the boy’s gift of prophecy. The courtier returned to the royal court.

    A strange thing happened. One day a fisherman caught a beautiful fish. He thought the king would appreciate such a rare specimen. Seeing the colorful fish, the king wanted to show it to his beloved
    queen. The fish was placed on a golden platter and taken to her private quarters for her viewing. The king’s servants knocked on the queen’s inner chamber and said, “The king has sent you a
    colorful fish for your pleasure.” Covering her face, the queen opened the door and asked if the fish was a male or female. When she said this, the fish began to jump up and down on the dish and made sounds that sounded like human laughter.

    The king’s servants were shocked. They called for the king to witness this unusual sight. On seeing and hearing the strange fish, the king was so alarmed that he called his counselors and many wise men to explain why the fish was jumping up and down and laughing like a human. No one was able to give a plausible answer.

    The courtier who witnessed the powers of prophecy of the the young boy, spoke to the king, “Your Majesty, this occurrence is perplexing even to the best wise men in your kingdom. I know a young boy who has exceptional powers of prophecy. I witnessed the boy predict that a horse was with foal and would bear a colt with a blind right eye. What he said came true.” The king was impressed. He summoned the young boy to the palace.

    When the boy came into the assembly of the king, he said, “Your Majesty, I can perhaps explain the bizarre behavior of the fish. But, you must first promise not to get angry at anything I say or do.”
    The king agreed.

    The boy asked the king to order the queen’s forty maids be summoned into the assembly. The king sent his guards to bring the maids. When the forty maids were brought into the assembly, the boy ordered the two guards to take off the clothes of the maids. The guards were reluctant to do as ordered. The king, however, ordered his guards to unclothe the forty maids. It turned out that the forty maids were actually forty handsome young men. Everyone was shocked. The king became very upset.

    “The fish laughed and jumped up and down and rolled on his side because of the outrageous question and feigned modesty of the queen. What did it matter if the fish was male or female. The queen already had forty males in her bedroom.”

    The king was outraged. He ordered his queen and the forty men to be hanged for their immoral charade. The king married the young boy’s mother. The boy, his mother and grandfather lived happily in the palace.

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  • Once upon a time there were three sisters in a hilly land. While hiking in the nearby hills, they discovered a large kettle full of gold coins. The kettle was so large that it had seven handles and needed seven men to carry it.

    The sisters screamed, “The killer of the soul. Run for your lives.” They ran as fast as they could away from the kettle.

    There was a group of six robbers who saw the sisters running and screaming. They stopped them and asked, “Why are you running? What is the matter? Why are you so scared?”

    “We are running away from the killer of the soul.”

    “What is a killer of the soul? Show us this monster,” said the robbers.

    The sisters went with the robbers. They showed them the kettle. “This is the killer of the soul,” they said and began to run away.

    The robbers were amused by the three naive sisters. They spoke to one another about the foolishness of the sisters. “Imagine calling gold the killer of the soul!”

    The robbers saw this golden opportunity as the change of destiny for them. For many weeks they were being pursued by the police. In fact, they were very hungry because they had not robbed anyone for weeks. They discussed their change of destiny. One robber suggested, “Friends, we have not eaten properly for weeks. Three of us should go to the nearest town and bring back some food. The other three should stay here and guard the kettle of gold.” Three of the robbers went to town and the others kept watch.

    The guardian robbers devised a plan, “Dividing the gold three ways will be much more beneficial than six ways.,” said one robber. “What do you mean,” said the second. “He wants to say that we should kill our three brothers when they come back with the food and take the gold for ourselves,” said the third. “We’ll hide behind that big rock overlooking the kettle. When they come back, we’ll stone them to death with big stones from above,” said the first robber. They agreed to this sinister plan and began to collect big rocks to kill their comrades.

    The three robbers that went to fetch food in the nearest town similarly devised a plan to eliminate the other three who stayed back with the kettle of gold. They purchased a big feast and mixed poison with it so that their unwitting friends would die after eating it. They returned to the kettle of gold with the large quantity of poisoned food. The three robbers who stayed behind were waiting to stone them to death .

    When the three arrived from the town, they did not see their friends guarding the kettle. They set the food near the kettle and before they could catch their breath, the other three robbers began to throw stones at them from above. “Stop, stop, spare us,” they cried. But they were quickly injured and fell to the ground with serious wounds. The stoning continued until all three were dead.

    The three treacherous robbers who stoned their friends were satisfied that their plan worked. They had a ravenous hunger. They joyfully partook of the sumptuous dinner without realizing their dead friends’ vile trap. In a short while, all three began to choke and bloat with pain. They foamed at the mouth, choked and died on the spot. The kettle of gold remained untouched.

    After some time, the three sisters came back to the same place where they had discovered the kettle of gold. They saw the six robbers dead and the kettle of gold in their midst.

    The horrified sister looked at each other and exclaimed, “We tried to warn them that the kettle of gold is the killer of the soul, but they did not believe us. May God keep such horrors far from us,”
    (ahsduhvahdz mezmeh hehrou baheh ays bes tuhspaghoutioun), they cried and ran as fast as they could away from the kettle of gold.

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  • Once upon a time a young man wanted to get married. He spoke with his father about his desire.

    The father, a very wise and experienced man, told his son that before giving him permission, he must earn a gold coin by honest labor. The father insisted that his son give him the gold coin.

    The son had received a gold coin as a birthday present. He brought it to his father and gave it to him. “Now, father, can I get married?” he asked.

    The father threw the gold coin into the river and said, “You are not ready for marriage because you did not earn the gold coin by honest labor.”

    The son was surprised that his father knew the truth about the gold coin. The next day, the son borrowed a gold coin from his mother and gave it to his father.

    The father looked at the coin and threw it into the river. The son was annoyed. He asked, ” Why are you doing this? I did what you asked. I brought you a gold coin. Please, let me get married.”

    The father refused to give permission and insisted that the coin was not earned by honest labor.

    The son reflected on the strange behavior of his stubborn father. He concluded that his father would never give permission for marriage unless he find a job and earn the gold coin by honest labor. After a long month of hard labor at a neighboring town, the son returned and gave his father a gold coin.
    The father looked at the coin and was about to throw it into the river. The boy suddenly grabbed his father’s arm and stopped him. He pleaded with his father, “Please don’t throw it away. I have worked hard for a month to earn this gold coin.”

    The father looked into the eyes of his son and said, “You are ready to get married because you have understood the value of money. I am sure now that you will spend your hard earned money wisely.”

    The son married a good girl and was always careful not to foolishly squander his earnings.

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