Words of Wisdom aims to highlight important morals, which we feel our readers will benefit from reading. We hope you enjoy this fable.
Be it in the East or West, people have always stressed cultivating their speech and restricting oneself from saying unkind words that might hurt others. The thought-provoking incident that unfolds in this fable reminds us of the old saying “Think before you speak.”
A young villager was perplexed over the recent theft at his home and became suspicious of his neighbor. The more he thought about it, the more he believed that the man next door was the culprit.
The alleged robber was a middle-aged man named Kai who didn’t socialize much and used to return home late in the night. He was absolutely under the young man’s radar. Eventually, the young man shared his concerns with some of his friends.
In no time, the rumor had it that Kai was the thief who had been robbing the villagers for quite some time. Soon, Kai was arrested by the village police, only to be proven innocent by the law. Kai then brought the young man before the law.
Standing before the judge, Kai said: “After all these rumors, it’s impossible to restore my lost honor and tarnished name. No one trusts me.”
Instead of answering the question, the judge pointed at the young man, saying: “Your rumors have done much harm. Now tell us, what should the village do to restore innocent Kai’s honor?”
“Those were just comments,” said the young man. “How does it matter?”
The judge wasn’t expecting this reply. He handed him a piece of paper and said, “Young man, the case is not closed yet. Write all the bad things you spoke about Kai on a piece of paper. Tear the paper into pieces and throw them on your way back home. Tomorrow, I’ll give the final verdict on your actions.”
The next day, the judge ordered the young man to collect all the torn pieces of paper and place them on the table before the courtroom. “But that is impossible,” said the worried man. “The pieces of paper are nowhere to be found as the wind had scattered them.”
The judge replied: “Exactly. And this is what your words have done to destroy Kai’s honor.
“Words must be spoken with wisdom. Each word we utter has immense power. The words of compassion can transform anything around us, just like words loaded with hatred can demonize anyone,” he said.
Although this is just a tale, it clearly highlights the impact our words have on the people around us. No doubt, almost every culture, since ages, has emphasized minding one’s speech.
For instance, take a look at the Chinese character for the word “wisdom”—zhì huì (智慧). The character zhì (智) consists of an arrow (矢), a mouth (口), and the character for sweetness/willing (甘). The character huì (慧) consists of a broom (彗) at the top and a heart (心) at the bottom. Together, these individual characters express a deep meaning: The words we speak are as sharp as arrows; if we speak with kindness, our words have the power to untie the knots of negative emotions harbored in anyone’s heart.
Isn’t it the best if we can spend some effort on analyzing and understanding the impact of the words we say? Happy talking!