Parable – China

Two dogs are trying to cross over a bridge. They are each standing on opposite ends of the bridge and it is only wide enough to hold on dog at a time. Neither is willing to let the other go first, thus they end up meeting in the middle. The dogs begin to fight and they both end up falling into the water. Next, two goats come upon the same bridge. They, too, are standing on opposite ends. However, one goat lets the other cross first, thus they are able to cross safely.

My informant was taught this parable by his Chinese school teacher when he first entered the school. The moral of this story is quite obvious. If one is kind to others and is always polite, then life will be smooth and good. However, if one is always selfish and never thinks of others, he will fall and have a hard life. My informant says that in Chinese schools, parables were a large part of the teaching system. Because telling stories is a good way to entertain young children and keep their attention, teachers will often tell well-known stories that have a moral to them.

Another reason that his teacher taught him this parable is because respect is very important in Chinese culture. One must always put another before them, especially if it is a friend or family member.