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Zen Fairy Tales Chapter 16

One day, a mighty warrior passed through the village on his way to do battle in a neighboring province. He was dressed in the finest armor and carried the best of weapons. He had a real bad attitude though; he was arrogant and had no respect for anyone he thought was lesser than he. The warrior walked with a contemptuous sneer on his face and disrespect in his heart for everyone he met.

Along the same road, local peasants were trying to get their wares and vegetables to the market. The craftsmen and farmers were having difficulty moving along the road because their carts were heavily laden.

"Get out of my way, you stupid fools," the warrior shouted to anyone that crossed his path. He knocked over carts and even kicked dogs, (which is definitely never a good thing to do.) The people were very frightened by his appearance and the sound of his voice so they moved quickly to the side of the road and let him pass.

Sometime later, the warrior was returning from battle. He had been severely beaten and was trying to get home without being killed. Enemy troops were close on his heels but this time the people did not get out of his way as quickly as they had the last time. He soon found himself at the entrance to Mokubei's hut where he demanded water, food and a place to rest.

The priest looked at the warrior without flinching a muscle. "Go ask the people you insulted when you first came through the village. Don't come around here demanding things when you have no respect for those who can provide it for you, especially if your armor is tarnished and you have lost your dignity." The warrior knew not to mess with Mokubei. He left hungry, thirsty, and tired.

Be nice to as many people as you can. You never know when you'll need them to be nice to you. Besides, just because you look good going in doesn't mean you'll look good coming out. Say the following to yourself.

"I will always show respect to others even if I think they are acting foolish. I will maintain my dignity, walk the other way and avoid arguments if I can. By showing respect towards others I know they will show respect to me. By being secure in my own mind and keeping my dignity, I know that what I think about myself is more important than what others may think of me."


(c)SFKaufman 2001-2008