INSTANT WISDOM > SPECIAL > STORIES
04/11/01

THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM

Two travelling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a
wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay
in the mansion's guestroom. Instead the angels were given a small space
in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the
older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger
angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what
they seem."

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but
very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they
had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a
good night's rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels
found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had
been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was
infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen?
The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused. The
second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you
let the cow die.

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied. "When we
stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored
in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and
unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't
find it."

"Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came
for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they
seem."

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