A knowledgeable man went to a mosque near noon. He was standing in the courtyard of the mosque. Beside him, four footboys of the bazaar were having lunch. The first boy was having bread and Halva*. The second and third boys were having bread and cheese and the fourth boy was eating only bread.

One of the boys who had bread and cheese told the boy with Halva, "I would like to have some Halva. Give me some Halva too."

The boy with Halva said, " If you become my dog, and act like a dog I'll give you some."

The other boy imitated a dog's voice, got some Halva, and everyone laughed.

The third boy said, "Give me some Halva too."

The boy with Halva said, "If you become my donkey and act like one, I'll give you Halva too."

The other boy imitated a donkey's voice and got some Halva.

Then, the forth boy said, "Now that you gave them Halva, give me some too."

The boy with Halva said, "If you become my cat, and meow, I'll give you some too."

The boy said, "I won't become anyone's cat. If you want to give me some, just give me."

The boy with Halva said, " That's the only way I can give you some. You won't get any Halva if you don't act like you're my cat."

The other boy thought to himself, and said, "Let me ask this gentleman and see if eating Halva is worth becoming someone's cat."

Then he faced the scholar, and said, "Sir, in your opinion, is it better that I become a cat and eat Halva, or should I stay as I am and eat only bread?"

The scholar answered, "I don't know what to say, my dear. You're just a child and like to have some Halva. But I know that I, myself, haven't eaten Halva for thirty years and as you see, I am not any different from others, and I have everyone's respect. But I have a neighbor who eats Halva everyday, but no one respects him."

The boy then said, "Then I'll eat my bread and don't want any Halva. If one can not eat Halva for thirty years, one should be able to not eat it even for one hundred years. Then, why should one become another's dog? Why should one become another's donkey? And why should one become another's cat?"


*Halva is a favorable Iranian sweet.

Ghaboosnameh's Story - Taken from: "Good Stories for Good Children" -

By: Mahdi Azaryazdi - Published by Ketaabhaye Shokoofeh, Amir Kabir attaché.

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Thanks to my dear colleague Ms. Mousavi from Florida for translating the above story.

--Khaleh Parvaneh