Peace Stories

Little Boy and the Dragon

Long, long ago there lived a dragon in a tiny village.

The villagers were all terrified of the dragon. They believed their village had been cursed that they had such a creature living in their midst.

Several men tried to fight the dragon.

One man attacked the dragon with a sharp sword. The dragon grabbed the sword and almost magically pulled out another sword, twice as large, twice as sharp and cut the man into half.

Another time, a villager set off with a large wooden club to hit the dragon. The dragon responded by slamming the man with a wooden club, twice as large as the one that the villager had.

On another occasion, a villager tried to set the dragon on fire. But the dragon opened his mouth and spewed huge flames - that roasted the poor man.

Scared by these events the village folks gave up trying to fight the dragon. They thought this had been their lot, and they had to learn to live with it.

And then one day a little boy said he would go and vanquish the dragon. People were surprised, and despite their disbelief, went along to see the little boy take on the dragon.

As the boy looked up at the giant, the monster just flared his nostrils and glared back. The little boy then took out an apple and offered it to the monster. The monster grabbed it, held it to his mouth, and then thrust his clenched fist in front of the boy. Bang! As the fist slowly opened, the people were astonished to see two delicious apples there. Twice as red and twice as large as the apple that the boy had offered.

The boy then took out a little earthen pot with some water and gave it to the monster. And the monster took that and responded by placing in front of the boy two urns made of gold, filled with delicious juice.

The little boy smiled. And the giant just smiled back.

The people were ecstatic. They suddenly realized that the monster had not been a curse - but a boon to the village.

The story is centuries old, but the monster is still around - in our neighborhoods, in our schools, and in our places of work. However as we learn from this story that many of our problems appear that way because of the way we look at them. Usually we get back from others what we give them, and often twice as much!

Is someone being rude to us? Maybe we need to change the way we behave with them. Instead of waiting for them to change, it might be better that we change first!

Be nice to the "Ms Nasty" in college. Look at Maths as a cool, fun subject. And you'll discover that the evil monster is in fact a benevolent giant.

It's significant that it took a little child to discover the true colours of the monster. Children don't have preconceived notions. They believe the world is a wonderful place. It's only as they grow up that the optimism vanishes, and negative conditioning sets in.

Go on. Let the child in you take over. Look at everything you dread with fresh eyes - be it rude friends, tough subjects or lousy jobs.

Maybe the monster is really a nice guy. Change the way you look at him. And see the difference!

Two Brothers and the Carpenter

Once upon a time, two brothers, who lived on adjoining farms, fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence. One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I 'm looking for a few days' work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?" "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, it's my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore." The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you." The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day -- measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. Instead there was a bridge!

A bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other..A fine piece of work, handrails and all! And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done." The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build." Remember This... God won't ask what kind of car you drove, but He'll ask how many people you helped get where they needed to go. God won't ask the square footage of your house, but He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home. God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, but He'll ask how many you helped to clothe. God won't ask how many friends you had, but He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend. God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, but He'll ask how you treated your neighbors. God won't ask about the color of your skin, but He'll ask about the content of your character.

Lysistrata (Summary of a play by Aristophanes, 410 B.C.)

In sympathy with women of Greece, whose husbands and sons were either killed or away from home for long periods of time, during the prolonged Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), which Athens and its empire fought against Sparta and its allies, Lysistrata developed an ingenious plan to end the war.

She gathered all the women of Greece. She reminded them that instead of enjoying the pleasures of love and making the best of their youth and beauty, they had been left to grow old in lonely grief and to languish far from their husbands, who had all been with the army. She asked them to swear an oath that they will withhold sex from their husbands until both sides sign a treaty of peace.

Frustrated by this unusual deprivation, delegations from both states finally meet at the Akropolis in Athens, where Lysistrata lectures them on the need for reconciliation between the states of Greece.

Lysistrata reasons that because both Athens and Sparta are of a common heritage and because they have previously helped one another and owe a debt to one another, the two sides should not be fighting.

After both sides agreed, Lysistrata gave the women back to the men and a great celebration ensued. "All is for the best; and now Laconians, take your wives away home with you, and you, Athenians, yours." she said. "May husband live happily with wife, and wife with husband. Dance, dance, to celebrate our bliss, and let us be heedful to avoid like mistakes for the future."

"...These let us invoke, and all the other gods, calling all the inhabitants of the skies to witness the noble Peace now concluded under the fond auspices of Aphrodite. Io Paean! Io Paean! dance, leap, as in honor of a victory one."

Sometimes we need to use ingenious means to curb conflicts and foster peace.

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