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Long Handled Spoons (A Short Parable About Collaboration)

This tale about the long handled spoons is a short parable about co-operation, teamwork and working together.

Swami was having a conversation with Lord Shiva one day and said Lord, “I would like to know what heaven and hell are like”.

Lord Shiva led the Swami to two doors.

He opened one of the doors and the Swami looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table.

In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the Swami’s mouth water.

Long Handled Spoons - Forward Steps image_1The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished.

They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.

However, the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The Swami shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. Lord Shiva said, “You have seen hell”.

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one.

There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water.

The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The Swami said, “I don’t understand”.

“It is simple”, said Lord Shiva, “It requires but one skill.

You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves”.

Author Unknown

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