Hope Short Stories

Pandora’s Box

As told on Greek Myths and Greek Mythology

“Pandora was, according to the myth, the first woman on Earth. She was created by Gods; each one of them gave her a gift, thus, her name in Greek means “the one who bears all gifts”.

Pandora was created as a punishment to the mankind; Zeus wanted to punish people because Prometheus stole the fire to give it to them. Her gifts were beautifully evil, according to Hesiod. Hephaestus created her from clay, shaping her perfectly, Aphrodite gave her femininity and Athena taught her crafts. Hermes was ordered by Zeus to teach her to be deceitful, stubborn and curious.

Pandora was given a box or a jar, called “pithos” in Greek. Gods told her that the box contained special gifts from them but she was not allowed to open the box ever. Then Hermes took her to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus, to be his wife. Prometheus had advised Epimetheus not to accept anything from the Gods, but he saw Pandora and was astonished by her beauty, thus he accepted her right away.

Pandora was trying to tame her curiosity, but at the end she could not hold herself anymore; she opened the box and all the illnesses and hardships that gods had hidden in the box started coming out. Pandora was scared, because she saw all the evil spirits coming out and tried to close the box as fast as possible, closing Hope inside.

According to Hesiod, Hope indeed stayed inside because that was Zeus’ will; he wanted to let people suffer in order to understand that they should not disobey their gods. Pandora was the right person to do it, because she was curious enough, but not malicious.

The Fern and The Bamboo

One day I decided to give up: I quit my job, my relationship and my life. I went into the woods to talk with an elder who was said to be very wise.

“Can you give me one good reason not to quit?” I asked him.

“Look around” he replied. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes”, I replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. The fern quickly grew. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not give up on the bamboo.

In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful, and again, nothing grew from the bamboo seed. But I did not give up on the bamboo.

In the third year still nothing sprouted from the bamboo seed. But I didn’t give up on the bamboo.

In the fourth year again nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I didn’t give up on the bamboo.

Then in the fifth year, a tiny shoot emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant.

But then in the sixth year, the bamboo grew to 60 foot tall. It had spent five years growing the roots to sustain it. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive.

Did you know that all this time that you have been struggling, you have really been growing roots?

The bamboo has a different purpose from the fern, but both are necessary and make the forest beautiful.

The Boulder

In ancient times, a king had his men place a boulder on a roadway. He then hid in the bushes and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers passed by and simply walked around it.

Many people blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the stone removed.

One day, a peasant came along carrying vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the stone out of the way. After much pushing and straining, he finally managed.

After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and note from the King explain that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the road.

Wise Jokes

People visit a wise man complaining about the same problems over and over again. One day, he decided to tell them a joke and they all roared with laughter.

After a few minutes, he told them the same joke and only a few of them smiled.

Then he told the same joke for a third time, but no one laughed or smiled anymore.

The wise man smiled and said: “You can’t laugh at the same joke over and over. So why are you always crying about the same problem?”

The Pebble and The Loan Shark

In a small Italian town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner’s daughter.

He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed him. However, the catch was that we would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter.

Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust.

The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black.

The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.

Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles.

Whilst he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he’d picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag.

He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.

The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:

Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.

Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.

Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.

She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She said to the loan-shark;

“Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”

The pebble left in the bag is obviously black, and seeing as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father’s debt.

The Spendthrift and the Swallow from Aesop’s Fables

A young man, a great spendthrift, had run through all his patrimony and had but one good cloak left. One day he happened to see a swallow, which had appeared before its season, skimming along a pool and twittering gaily. He supposed that summer had come, and went and sold his cloak. Not many days later, winter set in again with renewed frost and cold. When he found the unfortunate swallow lifeless on the ground, he said, “Unhappy bird! what have you done? By thus appearing before the springtime you have not only killed yourself, but you have wrought my destruction also.”

“The Stoics knew a thing or two about lost causes. They knew about low probabilities. They never let that stop them. Cato gave everything he had, despite what many saw as the inevitable rise of Caesar, to preserve the Roman Republic… and very nearly pulled it off. Washington sat in Valley Forge at the lowest point of the American Revolution, poorly supplied by Congress, undermined by his generals, and put on a play about Cato to inspire him and his men to keep going. Stockdale resisted his captors for nearly a decade, doing his best under incredible circumstances, keeping the soldier’s faith in his country, his soldiers, and himself.”  from daily stoic email  *pull stories out and re-write

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