One of my very favorite storytellers is Anthony de Mello, an Indian Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, and spiritual teacher. His stories, told in more than a dozen books including "The Song of the Bird," "One Minute Wisdom," "Taking Flight," and "Awareness" make me laugh, cry, and, for a moment or a year or a lifetime, alter my perspective of the world. These stories dig deep -- they burrow into our very marrow and work a sort of magic, changing us from the inside out. I will include many of de Mello's stories in this blog but here is one, from his book "The Prayer of the Frog," that never ceases to invoke a sense of awe and wonder.
There was once an ascetic man who consumed no food or drink while the sun was in the heavens. In what seemed a sign of heavenly approval for his fasting, a bright star shone above a nearby mountain, visible to everyone in broad daylight.
One day the man decided to climb the mountain. A little village girl insisted on going with him. The day was warm and soon the two became thirsty. The man urged the child to drink, but she said she would not unless he drank too. The poor man was in a quandary. He hated to break his fast; but he hated more to see the child suffer from thirst. Finally he drank. And the child drank with him.
For a long time he dared not look up to the sky, for he feared the star had gone. So imagine his surprise when, on finally looking up, he saw two stars shining brightly above the mountain.