The Wisest Old Owl©

A wise old owl was perched on a stump, giving advice to all the animals gathered around. No question was too difficult to answer. After all, owls are considered to be very wise. But this owl was known to be the wisest of all.

A burly lion thought he would challenge the owl’s wisdom. He moved forward and loudly said, “I am the king of the jungle. Why do I need your advice?”

The owl announced, “Because, Mister Lion, it is not safe to trust the advice of anyone less wise than the wisest.”

The lion was impressed with the answer and said, “You are truly wise, Owl.”

In the audience was a deer with her two young children, a buck and a doe. She stepped forward and asked for advice. “I am a widow,” she said. “My son and daughter lost their father, and I am left alone to guide them. Can you tell them the right rules to follow for a good life?”

There was a sudden silence in the crowd. Everyone listened for the reply. The owl turned toward the young deer and smiled. “You can have a good life,” said the owl, “if you follow three simple rules.”

“What are they, Wise Owl?” asked the young doe.

“Rule number one,” replied the owl. “Prepare yourself today for your life tomorrow.”

“What does that mean?” questioned the young buck.

The owl explained, “It means you should learn all you can from school, so that you can succeed at what you do later in life.”

“But I don’t like school,” grumbled the young buck.

“Then you must learn that we, too, often dislike the very things that are most useful to us,” said the owl.

The young buck nodded his head as though he understood.

“And what is the second rule?” asked the young doe.

“Rule number two,” said the owl. “Associate with those who are good, and shun those who are bad.”

“And why is that so?” asked the buck.

“Because,” responded the owl, “the bad are destined to end up in misery, and misery loves company.”

The nearby crowd looked at one another and all nodded in agreement. Both young deer then asked, “What is the third rule, Wise Owl?”

“Rule number three,” said the owl. “Help others more than you want them to help you, and your rewards in life will be many.”

All the animals cheered and shouted, “Hooray!” They had never heard such a simple explanation for making a good life. The widow was overjoyed. She stepped before the owl and said, “Thank you, Wise Owl, for giving my children such helpful guidance. They will never forget these rules, since they are so simple.”

“Yes,” said the wisest of all owls, “the rules for achieving a good life are simple to remember–– but don’t forget to follow them.”

Pity the fools who forget life's three rules.