Perspectives: a short story

The saying “Grass is always greener on the other side,” is not always true. Sometimes, the grass on the other side is quite brown.

Two bachelor friends, tired of their white collar existences, quit their jobs, sold their houses and together began to travel the world.

They had already passed through most of the world’s continents when they came to a small village. There they saw a young girl, drawing water at a well. They stopped to watch her.

“Look at that child,” said one. “Every day is the same for her. She has to work hard to eat. She will never experience what we have: never see Rome, or New York, or Tokyo. All she knows are these trees, this village, and these fields.”

“What a boring life,” agreed the other.

They moved on.

That night, the girl told her brother about the strangers she had seen who had stopped to watch her. “Where are they from?” she asked.

“Far away,” he replied.

“Why are they here?”

“To look at our village.”

The little girl stared at him. “Just to look?”



“Who knows? But they have been looking at too many villages to count, for many planting seasons now. One of them told me so.”

Now came a torrent of questions from the girl: “Where are their fields? Who is digging them? Where are their wives and children? Where are their cattle or pigs? Who is caring for them? Where are their families, and who is caring for their relatives?”

“I…. don’t think they have any of those things,” the brother replied, with some uncertainty. “Not from what they told me.”

The girl propped her chin on her knees. She thought hard, and flicked away an ant that had begun the arduous climb up her shin. Finally, she spoke;

“So they spend their whole lives looking. Why, they are like stupid children that go to each house in the village to see and smell what the mothers are cooking, but never come home to take in their hands the plate their own mother has prepared for them.”

The brother laughed, slapping his thigh in agreement. “You’re right. How ridiculous their life is!”

“And how hungry they must be,” said the girl, also laughing.

So, reader, is it better to be ridiculous, or to be boring?

Some travel the world and end up not a wit wiser. Some become wise without leaving their own village.

It is what you know, and not what you doubt, that makes a man wise.

And doesn’t that have something to do with happiness?


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