I told this story yesterday as part of a teaching on justice. It is adapted from a snippet of a folktale I read years ago. There’s a lot going on in this short tale. I’d love to hear what you hear in this story.
Once upon a time three kids found a bag of walnuts and took it to the wisest man in their village.
They asked him to divide the nuts among them as God would.
So the sage gave the first kid one walnut.
To the second he gave five walnuts.
Then he gave the rest, well over fifty walnuts, to the third.
The first two protested, “That’s not fair!”
The sage said, “You didn’t ask me to be fair. You asked me to distribute them as God would.”
The third kid, the one who was holding the bag of walnuts, asked the sage, “Why did you give me so much more than the others?”
“Wrong question,” said the sage.
Burdened by the responsibility he was holding in his hands, the third kid said, “I agree with the the others. This isn’t fair.”
The sage said, “Why are you complaining to me about what is unfair, when you’re the one with all the walnuts?”
The sage turned and walked away.
The third kid called after him, “What am I going to do with all these walnuts?”
The sage smiled and said over his shoulder, “Now that is the right question.”