January 11th


THIS morning, Mordochka, I’m going to tell you a story from a country that’s so small that only the people who live there, and the people who live around them, know it exists. It’s a very beautiful country called Ingushetia. But in the mountains you can still see towers that were used long ago to protect the land. Sadly, the country’s history has been a history of fighting for their small, beautiful land. But don’t worry, this isn’t a sad story. You know I don’t tell you those because, if you’re sad, who is there to make me happy?

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     A long time ago, Mordochka, there lived a grandfather who, one day, called his grandson to him to tell him this story. The grandfather had a wonderful, long white beard. The story he told his grandson lived in his grandson’s heart all his life as if he told him just yesterday. 

      In one thing the old grandfather was different from other men. He was a wise man. But it was not his wisdom that made him different. There were other wise men. It was not his bravery. There were other brave men. What made the grandfather different was that he stayed on the side of truth; everyone said so. And this reputation he wore like a warm, well-made coat.        

     One day the grandfather heard his son arguing with a Russian neighbor who was building a new fence. The grandfather didn’t understand Russian. His language was Ingush. So the grand- father went to his son and said, “Why are you shouting at our neighbor?” His son said that the neighbor moved his fence 1/2 meter onto the grandfather’s land so he was shouting at their neighbor to stop it. At that moment the Russian yelled something the grandfather didn’t understand. So the grandfather answered very quietly. He spoke so quietly that his son and the Russian had to stop shouting to hear what he said.  And wait until you hear what he said, Mordochka! 

     The grandfather said to his son, “Tell our neighbor: Do not move your fence 1/2 meter onto my land. Move it one whole meter onto my land!”    

     The Russian was shocked. Can you guess what he did? He moved his fence one whole meter onto his own land so, in the end, the grandfather had 1 meter more land than before. When the grandfather told his grandson this story, the grandson knew that his grandfather wanted him to remember it always. The grandson understood that the example his grand-father gave his son was more important than a half meter of land.  And now, Mordochka, you know it too.

—Told to us by the grandson

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - November 2020 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com