n. a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters.

Sometimes people connect with a particular story during a particularly difficult time. We’ve compiled a list of fables and posted them here.

We are not the author or owner, nor do we hold any rights to the stories below.

The finger trap: the harder you struggle, the more stuck you get

Relevance to law: Sometimes one cannot fight their way out of a legal problem. Particularly in family law cases, sometimes problems have to be solved by therapeutic work, patience, and time.

Zen monk carrying the woman across the river
An older monk and a younger monk were traveling together. They noticed a woman at the edge of a stream, afraid of the strong current, who asked for assistance in crossing. The older monk picked her up, carried her across the stream and put her down safely on the other side. The monks then walked along in silence, mile after mile. Finally, the younger blurted out “Why did you carry that woman across the stream? Monks aren’t supposed to touch any member of the opposite sex. The older monk replied “My brother, I left her at the edge of the river, but you are still carrying her”

Relevance to law: Holding on too hard to grudges or slights can divert a person from their enjoyment of the moment they are in. Also, look for the spirit and the purpose of a law, rather than focusing simply of the literal language.

Thai Wisdom

I met a man in Thailand 28 years ago who had grown up near a US Air Force base. He told me that the difference between Thai people and Americans is this:

“Say there is a group of friends who go out to lunch every Friday together. One of them begins to constantly make excuses for not paying- “I lost my wallet”, or I’m getting paid late this week”. With Americans, you start talking amongst yourselves about what a jerk he is, and how offensive his sponging is, and everyone stops speaking to him. With Thai people, we just stop inviting him out to lunch.”

Relevance to law: It helps to limit your opinions of other people, especially when in a lawsuit, to how they can actually harm you or hurt you. In litigation, it is better to avoid sweeping judgments of character, and focus on specific behaviors that you want to change, object to, or encourage. Anger at aspects of someone’s character that do not directly affect you is wasted energy, and may foreclose potential benefits that person may still offer you or your children. We are the sum of our faults and virtues, all of us in different mixtures.

Blind brothers and the elephant
There were six blind brothers who lived in a small village, and they wanted to find out what an elephant was like. They were directed to a road to the city, and once there, had someone lead them to an elephant. Each grabbed a different part: the tusks, the trunk, the ears, the sides, the legs, the tail. Each of them described what they had l3earend about an elephant:

One grabbed the tusks, and said “The elephant is like two long bones.”

Another felt the trunk, and exclaimed “The elephant is like a long snake dangling down from the sky.”

“Ah, no!” responded the third, feeling the ear “The elephant is like a large fans.”

“Your wrong” said the fourth, feeling the side “the elephant is like a large wall.”

“No!” shouted the fifth. Feeling the leg ”an elephant is like a palm tree trunk, round sturdy”

“You are all lying” complained the sixth, holding the tail “my hands tell me without doubt that an elephant is nothing but a piece of string.”

Hearing the altercation, a caliph cried, “You are quarreling over nothing. All of you are right, and all of you at the same time are wrong.”

“I am able to see the whole elephant. Each of you has been holding only one part of it. You’ve been speaking from experience, all of you are right in some way. Despite the fact that none of you is lying, and each is trying to tell the truth as best you can, your experience is limited. It is only by combining what you have perspectives that you develop an understanding of truth. But don’t feel badly. Many people whose eyes work perfectly well make the same mistake. They assume that they know the whole truth, or accuse someone who has a different experience of maliciously lying.”

Relevance to law: One should always listen to a wise caliph. Also, lying can take many forms. People who tell a different version of the truth from what we have experienced often simply see a different aspect of a situation. For most of us, our emotions are what blind us, or cause us to see only one aspect of a situation. The most important thing in a court room is not to convince the judge that the other side is lying, but rather, that our view of the truth is more complete and accurate.