Orthodox America


  Inheritance


Lisa's parents were poor but honest and hardworking people. Lisa was a very good and gentle girl herself, and all the children in the neighborhood loved her for her polite and sweet manners. Everybody was eager to play with her, even though she was the poorest of all and did not wear such good dresses as Natasha, Nastia and her other friends. They did not look at her dress, but rather at her heart -- which is, of course, worth more than any silk or velvet clothing.

       Suddenly, Lisa changed Her parents received a large inheritance and became very rich. Now Lisa imagined that she was more important than her friends. She became extremely arrogant. No trace was left of her previous kindness and willingness to help others.

      Natasha, Nastia and her other friends were surprised at first and then began to smile at her. "Listen, Lisa,' said Nastia at last, "you are a silly girl. If you don't change your behavior, you will be left alone; we will not play with you. Remember that!"

       After hearing these words, Lisa knitted her brow, turned away from her friends and said, "I am rich now and will find friends." But she was mistaken. The other children left her, and Lisa, abandoned by friends, soon became very bored. Only then did she realize how unpleasant it is to be alone. Sitting by the window, Lisa wept, watching her friends playing happily together. At last, her mother noticed the change in her and asked, "Why don't you play with your friends?"

         At first, Lisa was ashamed to tell her the reason. But at her mother's insistence, she confessed her foolish outburst and said she had long repented of her arrogance.

         Her mother said, "Go now to your friends and apologize to them. And remember that it is not wealth, but gentle and kind behavior that makes a person loved. What does it matter to others whether you are rich or poor? Do they really care about your wealth? Give up silly arrogance forever, and don't let evil take root in your heart."

         Lisa followed her mother's advice at once. She ran to her friends, gently apologized to them for her haughty behavior toward them, and was welcomed joyfully back to the company of happy children. This experience had a very profitable effect on her. Since then, she has never boasted of her father's wealth. 

Translated by Paula Lahdemaki, from The Divine Spark.


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