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Universal Stories

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Universal Stories

The Bundle of Sticks
An Aesop Fable
The Greek folk hero, Aesop, illustrates the concept of teamwork in this short but affective fable. The story centers on a father demonstrating to his sons, the importance of working together. Illustrating this concept, especially to these feuding siblings, wasn’t a simple task but was made easier by using a common item that each son was familiar with. The father challenged his sons by giving each a bundle of wood. The sons were then asked to break the bundle in half. As hard as each boy tried, they could not split the bundle of wood. The father then untied the bundle and gave each of them one stick to break. Each son was able to break his piece of wood without any difficulty. This simple test, showed how working together, this band of brothers could reach goals far beyond the ones they could reach as individuals.

The Lion and the Mouse
An Aesop’s Fable
Compassion has always been a virtue most of us like to think we practice. But there are those who choose not to share compassion with others no matter how much they need it. After a small mouse disturbs a sleeping lion, the mouse is threatened with certain death. As a consequence of convincing the lion that he, a tiny mouse, could someday save his life, the lion set the mouse free. By releasing the lion from a net a few days later, the mouse proved the he could, after all, save the lion’s life. The compassion the lion had for the mouse proves that compassion is a trait that will not only make you feel good, but could save your life.

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Two Frogs in the Milk
An Aesop Fable
There is no better way to illustrate a person’s commitment to something important or relevant then to test their commitment in a life-or-death situation. The two frogs involved in this story, found themselves in their own life-or-death predicament and found that they were tested to the very end. They had each fallen into a bucket of milk and had no choice but to kick furiously to keep from drowning. After hours of kicking and trying to escape, one exhausted frog stopped kicking, sank to the bottom and drowned. The other frog continued kicking and eventually churned the milk into butter and simply hopped out of the bucket. The different degrees of commitment between each of these two frogs, demonstrates how those who are more committed than others, will certainly pass the test and live to see another day.

What Goes Around Comes Around
Author Unknown
This story is a simple one and illustrates how even a good man can find himself making poor ethical choices, and how making those choices will work against you in the end. As a well-respected and trusted professional, this retiring carpenter was asked by his employer to perform one more task. He is asked to build a house. After a lifetime of superior craftsmanship, our carpenter decides to take the easy way out by using sub-standard material and poor craftsmanship to build his employer’s house. Upon completing this task, his boss presented him with the key to the house as a parting gift. He realized then that what goes around, comes around, and how keeping your ethics high, and your standards intact should always be a priority.

Radical Transformation
Written by Charles Perrault / Adapted by the Brothers Grimm
By going from cinders to the palace, Cinderella is certainly a story illustrating ones journey from one end of the social spectrum to the other. Her determination and patience, along with a little magic, shows all of us how we can transform ourselves into whoever and whatever we wish to be. Going against the demands of her evil stepmother and stepsisters, Cinderella left her chores to attend a ball hosted by the Prince. When the Prince met Cinderella they fell in love and were later married making Cinderella a Princess and an iconic example of a successful radical transformation.

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Good/Bad Judgment
The Two Wolves
A Cherokee Legend
The story of the two wolves establishes the divide we all sometimes have when making judgments. It’s a story about a battle between good and evil going on inside a young boys heart. The boy is conflicted as to which side will win. After sharing his dilemma with his grandfather, the boy came to the conclusion that the side he nurtures is the side that will win.

David and Goliath
A Bible Story
The story of David and Goliath has been a favorite Bible story for centuries and has become one of the better-known stories about good versus evil and how the weak can overcome. It also has become an example of bravery and courage over adversity. The threats made by the Philistine named Goliath, had the Israelites in a corner. After all, Goliath was a large man well over nine feet tall and threatened to destroy their land and take them all into slavery. David, a young Israelite, was considerably smaller than Goliath but had the courage to challenge the giant’s taunts. David won the battle with Goliath and the courage he demonstrated, not only delivered peace to the Israelites, but David became a hero to all the people of Israel.

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