Buddhist Tales For Young And Old

Two Stupid Children

Once upon a time, there was an old carpenter with a shiny bald head. On sunny days, his head shined so brightly that people shaded their eyes when talking to him!

On just such a sunny day, a hungry mosquito was attracted to the old carpenter’s bright bald head. He landed on it and started biting into it.

The carpenter was busy smoothing a piece of wood with a plane. When he felt the mosquito biting him, he tried to chase him away. But the hungry mosquito would not leave such a good looking meal. So the man called over his son and asked him to get rid of the stubborn pest.

Unlike his father’s shiny head, the son was not so bright. But he was hard working and obedient. He said, ‘Don’t worry Dad, be patient. I’ll kill that bug with just one blow!”

Then he picked up a very sharp ax, and took careful aim at the mosquito. Without thinking, he came down with the ax and split the mosquito in two! Unfortunately, after slicing through the mosquito, the ax also split the old carpenter’s shiny bald head in two.


Meanwhile, an adviser to the king happened to be passing by with his followers. They saw what had just happened, and were quite shocked that anyone could be so stupid!

The king’s adviser said, “Don’t be so surprised by human stupidity! This reminds me of a similar event that occurred just yesterday.

“In a village not far from here, a woman was cleaning rice. She was pounding it in a mortar with a pestle, to separate the husks. As she worked up a sweat, a swarm of flies began buzzing around her head. She tried to chase them away, but, the thirsty flies would not leave.

“Then she called over her daughter and asked her to shoo away the bothersome bugs. Although she was a rather foolish girl, the daughter always tried her best to please her mother.

“So she stood up from her own mortar, raised her pestle, and took careful aim at the biggest and boldest of the flies. Without thinking, she pounded the fly to death! But of course, the same blow that killed the fly, also ended her mother’s life.

“You all know what they say,” said the adviser, finishing his story, “‘With friends like these, who needs enemies!”‘

The moral is: A wise enemy is less dangerous than a foolish friend.