Central Asian (Khirghiz) Tale: The khan (leader) gives instructions on who is to follow him at his death. His white falcon lands on the shoulder of a poor shepherd, who turns out to be a wise and just leader. The shepherd chooses a wife by declaring a contest of riddles. Wisdom and kindness are not the province of the elite alone.
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Korean Tale: A young boy greedily demands stories from everyone he meets, stuffing them into a “story-bag” and never sharing them. When he grows up and is about to be married, a servant overhears the stories plotting to take revenge. Stories are gifts that are meant to be shared.
A Chinese Tale: A woman’s sons set out in search of the cherished silk brocade she has woven. When the two eldest sons refuse to follow the instructions to retrieve the stolen brocade, the youngest son fearlessly accepts the challenge. A magical reward is given to him and his mother.
A Palestinian (Arab) Tale: A poor woodcutter drops a fava bean down a well and starts moaning. The spirits who live in the well give him a series of magic objects to keep him quiet. He loses the first two to his neighbors, but then regains them. Even foolishness is sometimes rewarded with useful gifts.
A Tale from Asia: A young man grows up to be a harpooner on a whaling ship. One day he suddenly discovers himself to be a whale—the very one he was setting out to kill. After this experience Eizo gives up whaling and becomes a Zen priest. If we could fully imagine the lives of animals we hunt and kill, (or raise and slaughter) would we not change our attitudes towards living beings?
Indian Tale: A parrot remains loyal to the fig tree where he makes his home, although he is being tested. The god Shaka has withered the tree to test the parrot's fidelity. How does friendship endure the tests of time?
An Indian (Buddhist) Tale: The Buddha-to-be, born as a quail, instructs his flock how to escape the hunter’s nets by working together. He then encourages them to move deeper into the forest in order to practice cooperation. Some of the quail refuse to leave, and as a result of their arguing, they are caught by the hunter and perish.
A Jewish Tale: A generous woman whose home was open to all visitors, once borrowed money from her neighbor. When asked by her son why she had borrowed it, she explained that it was so her neighbor would never feel ashamed of coming to her if he was in need. Allowing others to give is also a form of generosity.
Using the inspiration of Amanda Gorman’s poem “Earthrise,” participants consider what it means to act in ways that honor the Earth. Individuals identify and publicly commit to take action that works to help humans and nature flourish together.