Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Neighbor's Shifty Son... a tale from China

A few years ago I was in my neighborhood library, when I came across Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About by Margaret Reed MacDonald. I rechecked it out recently in large part because of the following story about the way in which suspicion can color the way in which we see the world.

The Neighbor’s Shifty Son

A farmer once lost his axe. 

He felt certain that his neighbor had stolen the axe. 
He watched that neighbor with suspicion. 
He noticed that the neighbor’s son seemed as shifty as his father. That boy looked just like a thief. 
The farmer knew he could not trust either of them.

One day when he visited a distant field where he sometimes worked, the farmer discovered his axe. 
He had left it behind the last time he worked the field. 
When the farmer returned home he noticed his neighbor’s son at play. 
The boy looked absolutely normal now.
There seemed nothing shifty or suspicious about him at all.

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