Story: The Feuding Neighbours
Once upon a time there lived two farmers called Joseph and Peter who lived on neighbouring farms. Friends they were not due to an incident many years ago. Joseph was coming back from the market one day and accidentally ran over one of Peter’s cows with his cart, killing it stone dead. Peter would not accept Joseph’s apologies and offers of compensation and for his part Joseph decided he could never forgive Peter for refusing his kind offer.
Their feud was the talk of the village, with everyone wondered how the feuding neighbours could live so close to one another without further trouble. At first everyone’s worse fears were realised as the two farmers argued and fought over the slightest thing. Then one day Peter was returning home from his fields when he saw an old man sat by the side of the road. The old man looked weary. Peter stopped, bid the man good day and offered him some water and food. The old man soon perked up and said to Peter that his kindness would not be forgotten.
Peter said he expected nothing in return but the old man said his reward would be revealed to him in a dream that very night. And so it happened just as the old man had said it would. Peter dreamt that he saw himself and Joseph in a few years time all bitter and twisted, with no family, no friends and no farms – all because of their petty hatred for each other. When Peter woke up he was fearful and took it upon himself to see Joseph and tell him about the old man and the dream. When Joseph saw Peter and listened to his story he could see that Joseph was very afraid and that the old man had given them both a warning that they needed to change their ways.
They agreed that too much had happened for them ever to be friends but they did agree to live peacefully as neighbours from that day forth, agreeing that if they did see one another in their fields or in the market that they would acknowledge each other and carry on about their business. To this day both Peter and Joseph have kept to their word and, yes, they still have their family, friends and farms.
Mark Evans, Human Givens therapist