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Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Story of Mother Love - The love of a Sweet Mother

I lay in my bedroom staring the motionless fan hanging from the ceiling above. Electricity has gone, but the cool breeze through the windows works better than the fan. Despite that, sweat drops cover my body.
The pain in both legs makes me mad. Two months back a slip in the corridor had gifted me broken bones in both legs.
Amidst the pain, the fingers of my left hand are wrapped around the cell phone. The pain in my heart coupled with the unbearable pain in my legs makes my grip over it even tighter.
I am expecting a call. A call from my son-in-law!
A confirmation call for me to add myself to the group of grandmothers!
The most precious person in my life, my Munni, is admitted in the city hospital for her delivery. My kid is just nineteen years old and is going to be a mother. I know it isn’t news in today’s world. But for me, it is!
An accident had taken away my husband when Munni was seven years old. That time I had thought that my life was over. But it wasn’t. Without much education and a stable employment I had taken pains all these years to raise Munni giving her every comfort a middle-class child would expect. But I couldn’t send her to college, though she was a good student who aspired to study more.
When my pretty daughter turned eighteen, the proposal from this decent, employed guy, my son-law, had come. It changed my Munni’s life and along with it, my life too. She had moved with her husband to the city and I live alone in this cheerless house. Munni, my only cheer, is far away!
My son-in-law had promised to send her to college, but soon she became pregnant. It wasn’t a mistake too! And even now he assures me that he will send her for study, after the child is born. I don’t know. But there is no reason for me to doubt my son-in-law. For my Munni, he is a good and loving husband who takes good care of her and my daughter is happy with him. That automatically makes me glad. And sometimes, her age gives her fears, which she lavishly gives me too. Whenever she shows that generosity, I become weak like a one-armed boxer and the life scares the hell out of me.
These days, I can’t move myself without my old aunt’s help, so taking care of Munni seemed something unthinkable, so she had to plan her delivery in the city itself. They have hired someone to take care of her. As travel has been impossible for both of us, I haven’t seen my daughter in months. Since then our only contact was through cell phone. She calls me umpteen number of times for sharing even her most silly doubts and fears. I understand how much impact a mother can make on her children. My words, loaded with love, strengthen her, give her courage to face things for which a woman is destined.
That’s when I realised how important a cell phone is in my life. I don’t know how I would have managed without the cell phone, which meant no connection with my only daughter, for whom I have lived so far and for whom I am still living.
Once she asked me, ‘Ammi, what if my child is a still born? When I went for check-up, another girl I met there told me her first child was a still born!”
Always I ask her to be positive, to pray and to not think about such matters.
Another time she asked, ‘Ammi, what will you do if I die?’
She, with that question, had taken my good life that very moment. Her fears always make me fragile.
I had become her mother at a younger age than hers. But I hadn’t given much thought about it then. I was just excited about the baby, my baby! Even if I had fears, there was none to support me, my mother was a harsh one. I was ignorant. Sometimes, ignorance helps. When my date was due, fear had gripped me. But soon, I had become extremely happy seeing my cute baby, my Munni.
But Munni’s question had made me panic. I can’t even imagine losing her. I would rather die with her.
I had cried, had scolded her for asking that.
I don’t know what other mothers think, but I am more concerned about my daughter and her life than the child’s. It may sound selfish, but it is a truth. Childbearing is not a big event as lakhs and lakhs are born each day. But even the most mundane thing becomes the most important news when it comes to our children or close people. That is what it is all about.
But again, I didn’t know how to pacify her. I just had told her nothing like that would happen.
But the fear which found home in my heart from that moment has remained there like an uninvited guest.
“What would I do without her?”
A girl’s best friend is always her mother. But taking our circumstances into consideration, I am unable to be with her, when she needs me the most, to stray away all her fears.
I cry over my helplessness. I know it doesn’t help. But that’s the only thing I am able to do now.
I find my cell phone as one of the most treasured possessions. The thing that makes me alive connecting me with my life, with my breath, which makes me forget all the pain by her sweet voices.
I check the cell phone, nothing new! I don’t want to call and disturb them.
As times passes, fear gains strength. Bad thoughts pass through my mind.
I try to remain calm, but I can’t. I am no saint to win over all my emotions. I am an ordinary lady.
But, as my thoughts wander, I get to know that if I don’t find peace and overcome my fears myself, none can help me do that.
I think about my life. I had gone through many bad times while living the life of a widow without anyone’s support. But I had overcome all those hurdles, had led a model life. I had raised a girl, had given her education as far as I could and had given her in marriage to a good man.
I, who have come all this way, am now afraid of losing my child.
But does worrying help? Will our fears change anything? Will it bring us desired results?
I think. I try to be strong. I try my best to think good thoughts.
With no one around, I close my eyes, I try to bring all nice thoughts, all my successes to my mind. I try to pray, but I am unable to concentrate.
I remind myself that everyone has to face what life brings, good or bad. Everyone has to face down their demons, no matter what.
I clutch the cell phone more tightly. With the positive thoughts in my mind, even that clutch over the phone gives me a feeling that I am overcoming my fears.
The cell phone in my hand vibrates, and then it starts ringing. I know my heart is not just beating, but it is drumming. I listen holding it to my ear.
“Ammi….!” My son-in-law’s voice.
“Ha….” I realise my voice has choked in my throat.
“God blessed us…it is a baby girl! Both Munni and baby are healthy and fine. Be happy Ammi!”
I wanted to thank god. But no voice came out of me.
“Ammi, you there?”
“Ha beta, I am hearing, god has shown mercy!”
After a brief talk about Munni and kid, I put the cell phone down.
My little Munni has become a mother, a mother of another girl.
May be, some day she also will go through the tensions which I have undergone, but again, maybe not, at that time girls can be much bolder than the present times.
Tears flow down my face, tears of joy, the same tears I had nineteen years ago, when I saw my Munni’s face for the first time.
The uninvited guest has left my heart. I am sure it has left my daughter’s heart too.
My daughter has me to drive her fears away; for me, I have to do it myself.
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Murder in the grave- Suspense Story

It was a graveyard all of us saw from outside and some of us the inside too, as the near ones were accompanied till they they were buried. In a crowded city like ours, there had been a mushrooming of flats even near the graveyard and the graveyard was not a far off, dark and gloomy place from where eerie sounds of anklets or the whines of sickly dogs were heard or that’s what people believed till sometime back.
The graveyard was at the back of a small church and once in a while people were not startled when they heard the slow ringing of the funeral toll in the neighbourhood.
But in the recent past some rumours were being spread about the graveyard. People started talking about shady figures seen inside the compound at dusk and strange shrieks heard in the dead of night. Some said that the old church organ was also heard in the dead of night, sometimes, though the church was locked from the outside. But the rumours helped keeping the petty thieves at bay.
The real estate people who were trying to build all over the vacant land around the graveyard, considered these rumours malicious lies, spread in order that the price of land would hit rock bottom.
As the graveyard was big and was the only one for the entire Southern and Eastern part of the city, it was used by a huge population and many started believing the rumours.
Now, this murder had given a kind of authentication to the stories on ghosts. Though the police came, it was suspected that, even some in the police department believed that a ghost had a hand in the murder.
I walked out of the crowd. Quite suddenly I saw him also moving out of the crowd. He was wearing a grey overcoat, though it was not very cold. The coat reminded me of something. I recalled the face of the dead man. I turned the pages of my memory. I could recollect the coat, because it was unique. It looked like the overcoats worn in western countries two centuries back. Yet it it did not look worn out. In this city too people wore coats, but shorter ones. The recollection of the coat led the thread of memory to where I had seen it before.
Yes, I had seen the dead man with the man wearing the overcoat. I had seen them in heated argument a few days back. I had found out something. In my excitement I went very near the man. A speck of blood on the coat near the right shoulder was what I saw.
Apparently no one had seen them together except me and so no one suspected him. He seemed just another man drawn by curiosity. But I could guess who he was. I had seen them near the graveyard in pitch darkness. He seemed a mean fellow. Should I tell the police? Who would believe me?
I followed him silently. I got into the bus along with him. I found out where he lived. I was one hundred percent sure he was the murderer; he had that dirty smirk in his face that said it all.
The police could not get a clue to the murder. The body was brought for funeral after the postmortem. I was not surprised to see him at the funeral. He was wearing the coat without the stain now. It was a dark cloudy day and people who attended the funeral, and those weren’t many, left quickly. The man lingered for sometime just outside the compound. I knew what I should do. I gave him a powerful smack on the back of his head. Blood splattered and drenched his overcoat as he fell down, lifeless. A fit punishment for one who was the cause of tarnishing the image of ghosts!
I went inside the graveyard. I could hear someone shrieking outside. A huge crowd was gathering near the body and the arrival of the police jeep - I could tell from the noise outside. All became quite once again around midnight. My pale friends rose from their graves as usual for their midnight party. I walked into the church, through the church wall and sat at the organ to play.
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The 87 year old student called Rose

I absolutely love this story. She is such an inspiration. Take time to read. You will not regret it!
An 87 Year-old College student named Rose.
The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know.
I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me
with a smile that lit up her entire being.
She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze. "Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked. She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids”
"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. "I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.
After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the
next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.
As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell
you what I know."
As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop
playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.
You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!There is a huge difference between growing
older and growing up.
If you are nineteen years old and lay in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.
If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.
Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."
She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."
She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.
At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.
Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be. When you finish reading this, please send/share this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!
These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.
"REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY.
GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get, we make a Life by what we give."
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Mrs Thompson, the great Elementary Teacher

There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.
But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners. He is a joy to be around.”
His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”
His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”
Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.”
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.
Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.
Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer—the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.” Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you
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Touching Story of the 4 finger pianist

This story will inspire you... to realize how anyone can overcome adversity!
What do you do when you’re born with two digits on each hand and your legs are amputated at the knees when you’re three? Well, if you’re Hee Ah Lee, you become a concert pianist. She is quite a pro at it now, and you’ll love hearing her play.
Hee Ah Lee was born with sever physical deformities. She only had two fingers on each hand. And her legs ended at her knees. Her doctors didn’t expect her to live.
But she did live. At the age of six she started to play piano. At the time, her four fingers were very weak. She couldn’t even hold a pencil. Her mother hoped playing piano would strengthen her grip.
It worked. But more than that, Lee found a calling. She now tours the world, playing for stunned audiences. She plays pieces that would be difficult for able-bodied pianists.
It is the story of a mother and a daughter who have overcome odds from the very beginning.
Lee’s mother became unexpectedly pregnant while married to a disabled man. Doctors told her that because of a medication she had been taking her child would not be normal. She elected to continue with the pregnancy and in 1985 in Seoul, South Korea, little Hee Ah Lee was born with only two fingers on each hand, disfigurement of her legs, and slight brain injury. The hospital told Sun that she could not care for the child at home and relatives wanted her to place the child for adoption in a foreign country. Sun thought her baby was beautiful, however, and was determined that she would live a successful life.
When Lee was a pre-schooler her mother decided that she wanted her daughter to take piano lessons and for two reasons. One was that she felt it would help her strengthen her hands so she could hold a pencil. The other was that she felt that if she could master the piano, she could master anything. For six months piano schools turned them down then the one teacher who did accept the task got discouraged and wanted to quit. It became a three-month contest of wills between mother and daughter that led to a confrontation in which Sun actually threw her daughter on the floor in frustration. She said Lee got back up on the piano bench and for the first time played the children’s song she had been trying to learn. That was the turning point and one year later Lee won the grand prize in a piano concert for Kindergartners. It was at age 7 that Lee won Korea’s 19th National Handicap Conquest Contest and was presented with her award by the President of Korea.
Today Lee is 22, has won numerous awards, and is a widely traveled concert pianist with more than 200 appearances. Her first album titled “Hee-ah, a Pianist with Four Fingers” was to be released in June, 2008.
Lee gives tribute to her mother for challenging her to master the piano and said that although her training was difficult, “as time went by, the piano became my source of inspiration and my best friend.”
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4 year old little boy wrote a letter to God

A True Story -- Author unknown
There is a kind soul working in the dead letter office of the U.S. Postal Service somewhere...
Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God, so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could, so she dictated these words:
....................................................
Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Love, Meredith.
(written by the mother of Mer Claire)
....................................................
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to: God in Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had. Yesterday there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith" in an unfamiliar hand.
Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers, titled, "When a Pet Dies." Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
....................................................
Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I am wherever there is love.
"Love, God"
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The two hospital Patients

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on holiday.
And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch and, after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.
It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."
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Short story of How the tiger for it's whiskers

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit's end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.
When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.
As Yun Ok approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: "I hear you. What's your problem?"
She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?"
"Make me a potion!" cried the young wife. "Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be."
The old man turned around. "Young woman, your request doesn't exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection."
"I know", said she.
"It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then."
Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit's hut. "Yun Ok", he greeted her with a smile, "I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger."
"What?" she gasped. "Such a thing is impossible!"
"I cannot make the potion without it!" he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. "There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I'm very busy."
That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?
The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.
The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.
So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger - and not a smaller mountain creature - had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.
After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she'd have to come closer to it).
Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.
"Actually", she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, "it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it." The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.
Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: "Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?" While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.
The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: "I have it! I have the tiger's whisker!"
"You don't say?" he said, turning around. "From a live tiger?"
"Yes!" she said.
"Tell me", said the hermit, interested. "How did you do it?"
Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.
"Yun Ok", the hermit said softly, "you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?"
Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.
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The story of the woodcutter

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.
His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work.
The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.
“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”
Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.
“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.
“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.
“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”
Reflection:
Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “axe”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.
Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.
We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “axe”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness.
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