Friday, February 13, 2009


A baby squirrel and her mother were seated on a branch of a tall tree near a cemetery. They saw a huge crowd of people in and around the cemetery. The dead body of a great leader was brought in a costly coffin in a decorated vehicle in an endless procession. Hundreds of cars followed the vehicle. Thousands of pretty wreaths were unloaded. The funeral was ceremonious and pompous. A multitude of social, political and religious leaders were present. After the funeral, a grand condolence meeting was held in the premises of the church nearby.

As the meeting was in progress, four people brought the dead body of a poor man to the cemetery. There was no vehicle or procession. The body was buried in a pit close to the place where the great man’s body was buried.

The baby squirrel asked his mother, “We saw the funeral of two bodies. One was very showy. The other was very simple and silent. What is the difference between these two bodies?” The mother could not find any difference. But when the baby insisted, she decided to investigate it in detail. When everyone left the cemetery, they burrowed a small hole at the centre of the two pits to reach the bodies. Deep in the hole, they met a worm which survived on decayed dead bodies. The worm enquired about their action. They told that they were trying to study the difference between the two bodies buried in adjacent pits. The worm said, “I am an expert in examining dead bodies. Let me have a closer look. I will return soon and clarify your doubt.” The worm went down into the pits, returned and declared, “I have tested the dead bodies thoroughly. There is no difference. They have the same taste!”

Diogenes was a great philosopher and a friend of Alexander, the Great. Once Alexander found Diogenes examining a large pile of bones. To Alexander’s inquiry, Diogenes replied, “I am searching for the bones of your father, King Philip; but I cannot distinguish them from the bones of his slaves.” Alexander learned a great truth from this action. Death is the universal equalizer. Everyone is equal before death as death comes to all - great and small {Job 3: 13-19}. At his deathbed, Alexander instructed his close associates to leave his hands hanging free on either side of the coffin during his royal funeral procession. That was to teach the world that he could carry nothing with him on his final journey.

“Don’t be upset when a man becomes rich, when his wealth grows even greater; he cannot take it with him when he dies; his wealth will not go with him to the grave. Even if a man is satisfied with this life and is praised because he is successful, he will join all his ancestors in death, where the darkness lasts for ever. A man’s greatness cannot save him from death; he will still die like the animals” {Psalm 49:16-20}.

“Provide for yourselves purses that don’t wear out, and save your riches in heaven, where they will never decrease, because no thief can get to them and no moth can destroy them {Luke 12:33}.

By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is story No.108 in this site. Please click ‘older posts’ at bottom of page to read previous stories.

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