Fables & Parables

Stories mythical and mystical, with messages so pertinent they can only be told from far-off lands...

The Pit and the Prince
The pit is dark and deep, and the chances of the prince ever climbing out are slim-to-none.
The entourage came across a half-frozen girl, and the king instructed his doctor to spare no effort in reviving her.
7 Parables of the Maggid of Dubno
Rabbi Yaakov Kranz (1741–1804), the Maggid (Preacher) of Dubno, was known for his ability to make almost any point by way of a parable.
The Artist’s Quest
They call him the Artist. Not much is known about his origins, or what drives his relentless search. But one thing is certain: he will stop at nothing to find what he seeks.
The Kind Noble and the Charlatans
Now, on his way home, his mind was on his empty pocket and his wife’s impending disappointment.
The Monster of the Woods
Deep in a forest, somewhere in Russia, a young man braves the dim paths and furious storms in a desperate search for hope from an unlikely source: the Monster of the Woods
The King's Friend
Based on an urban legend
The Dancing Jews
The Baal Shem Tov was once asked: "Why do Chassidim burst into song and dance at the slightest provocation? Is this the behavior of a sane person?"
Cracked Vessels
Each day the old woman put the yoke over her shoulders and went down to the river, filled the cans, and walked back to her modest hut...
Rocks and Diamonds
“Oh, you little boy,” said the man, resting his free hand on the little boy’s shoulder, “you don’t know what it’s like to have to schlep rocks. When you’ll be big like me, you’ll be happy with a little oven too.”
Why must everything be so difficult? Couldn't G-d have designed our lives so that we wouldn't need to encounter disappointments, challenges and toil every step of the way?
Life After Death: A Parable
Suddenly the world convulses. Upheaval. Writhing. A crushing, staccato pounding. One brother disappears into the turmoil. The second brother bewails the tragedy--the death of a perfectly fine fellow. Why didn't he take better care? Why did he fall into the abyss?
The Fireman
A Parable
He ran to the nearest hut and set fire to its straw roof. The fire began to spread very quickly. “Don’t be alarmed!” cried the lad. “Now watch me.”
The Palace and the Pigeons
The precious jewels had been scattered to the farthest reaches of the globe. How would the king recover that which was most dear to him?
He stopped before the huge glass window and gazed at the rich people sitting in the plush warm room talking and laughing while eating delicious cheese blintzes...
“Why have they stopped crying?” wondered the villager. “Are they no longer hungry?” Then he remembered the cholent . . .
The Splattered Gem
“Grind, mix, pour, squander the entire gemstone,” commanded the king. “Who knows? Perhaps a single drop will enter the mouth of my son, and he will be healed!”
Two Birds of Paradise
Perhaps it was the oils of the black bird’s feathers that refracted the light of the sun into so many rainbows. Perhaps it was the mystery of her absolute blackness, or the contrast she held against the bright morning sky. All that could be said is that it was a beauty as indefinable as black is dark.
The Clock on the Tower
For as long as anyone could remember, there was a clock mounted high up on the tallest building in the town. But times change. A murmur of discontent was heard in an element of the population . . .
The King's Gift
Just as the sun had sighed its last rays, the king and his guards sighted a small bright cottage, whose light bravely defied the dusk of an already darkened valley...
A Million Little Cables
"This was all good and well," explained the old navy diver, "when the ship had been under for a month or so. After that it would begin to rust and the hooks would bring up only huge chunks of iron, leaving the rest of the ship behind"
The Mud Hole
Two lost souls, a wealthy businessman and his coachman, arrived in a city one Friday afternoon . . .
Beggars at a Wedding
The day of the wedding arrived. Hundreds of beggars took their places around tables laden with the best food money could buy. But then tragedy struck . . .
First-Class Stowaway
“Sir, you have a first-class ticket,” said the conductor. “Why you are lying under a bench in a third-class car?”
The Cat
Everyone has a right to an opinion. It is inevitable, however, that certain opinions will carry more weight than others.
The Artist
“Your Majesty,” said the artist, “I humbly ask that you make no judgment of my work until fifteen minutes after it is unveiled.” An unusual request, but the king nodded in agreement.
The Man on the Junk Heap
Once upon a time there was a fabulously rich man who was miserable. He took up music, sports, travel, even meditation; but nothing seemed to help. With no other choice he went to a wise man for advice...
Diamonds and Fish
Once upon a time there was a poor man who heard about a faraway land where diamonds were as plentiful as dust -- one need only bend down and fill one's pockets
Though motivated by an inner love and a sense of concern for the spiritual health of one's fellow, these rebukes often come in the form of a pricking needle
The Cry of the Shofar: Two Parables
A King had an only son, the apple of his eye. The King wanted his son to master different fields of knowledge and to experience various cultures, so he sent him to a far-off country...
Barrels in the Snow
He was full of gratitude to the wagon driver, but his gratitude did not keep him warm. After a few minutes huddled between the barrels, he was abruptly reminded that he was still freezing to death, and not being able to move didn’t help any.
Two Bagels
The commander of the Bavarian troops stepped forward, fell to one knee before the Emperor and said: "I ask for autonomy for Bavaria!" "Liberty it shall be!" shouted Bonaparte
Every week, the family cow tethered in my grandmother's yard received a special treat: the pan of water in which the Shabbat pots and dishes had been rinsed...
The Donkey in the Pit
A parable on pain and gain
A donkey fell into a pit, and try as he might, his owner couldn't pull him out. Finally, the farmer decided that since the animal was old, and the pit needed to be covered up anyway, he'd just bury the old donkey right there...
The Feast
A seder story
First we drank a glass of wine. Then we ate a bit of parsley. Then they started talking, and talking, and talking. The smell of the food from the kitchen is making me insane, but they don't bring it out!
In the Land of Obmah
A Rosh Hashanah story
After a month of determined journeying, the elders of Obmah reached the deep caves of Igsirous, the last bastion of loyalty to King Avmal remaining in the kingdom...
The Princess
Many dukes and princes wooed the princess, but she turned them down one after another. The king became impatient and swore that the next young man that would come to the gates of the palace would be her husband...
The Princess & the Peasant
He built them a house and put straw on the benches and brought her tomatoes from the garden. He was so happy and she was devastated. But this was the situation
The Palace
A rich man and a poor man came to see the king. The rich man got the "experience." The pauper saw the king
The Wicked Lamb
“Brothers and sisters!” the king roared. “We must each search our hearts and confess our sins, so we should know who is the cause of this calamity . . .”
The Elusive Horse
They heard it before they saw it, an unearthly sound of crashing metal and a thousand charging bulls. And then, in a huge cloud of black smoke, it appeared . . .
Stuffed Derma
One day, the Kaiser of Austria came to visit the Czar of Russia...
Sly Arrogance
“Will I be able to do my job?” the Evil Side asked. “Will people really listen to me?”
The Turkey Prince
Who Are You?
Initially, the king and queen thought he was kidding. However, when the prince began to spend his days and nights in the chicken coop, his parents knew that serious trouble was afoot...
Bragging Rights
The doctor keeps recounting his good deeds. The rabbi keeps insisting that he does the exact same thing . . .
Forged in the Crucible of Life
A king once had a prized jewel, the crown jewel in his magnificent diadem. But one morning, to his dismay, he discovered a single thin crack descending down its face.
Tzitzit for Cheap!
A Conversation Between Two Souls
Two souls meet midway between heaven and earth. "Nu, what can you tell me about the world I am about to enter?" asks the descending soul.
Chicken Fight
The advisor whose chicken won the race would become the hero of the king's court. Rabbi Yonasan had no idea how to make anything in this world vicious, certainly not a chicken...
Can You Spare a Child?
One day Feivel hesitantly approached his brother with a proposition: "Perhaps you would consider giving us one of your children to raise in our home and to treat as our own?"
The Belated Dinner
After waiting for what seems like an eternity, his wife places a plate before him. He takes a look, and all he sees is a hard-boiled egg and a potato!
How the Horse Escaped
He was so concerned that someone would attempt to steal his horse that he built a well-fortified barn, replete with iron doors and locks.
Two Old Horses
An old man was sitting in a carriage being led by two very old horses, trekking through the evening snowstorm with ease.
In Search of Treasure
Valencia, Spain. In the dead of night, the rabbi is awakened to a summons by the enigmatic Señor Fernandez. What follows is a fascinating tale of courage, triumph, glory – and loss.
The merchant learned the value of acknowledging who really makes things happen…
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