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Fiction

The boy who believed everything
A fable

By Siamak Vossoughi
May 7, 2003
The Iranian

Among a certain tribe of people, there was a boy who was very quick to believe anything anyone told him. The older children would play jokes on him all the time and the adults would wonder what was going to happen to a boy like that, who believed everything.

The boy felt bad and he wished that he could tell when people were lying and when they were telling the truth. He thought when he grew older, he would be able to. But even when he was a young man, he still believed everything anyone told him.

Finally he decided that he would leave his tribe and go out to see the world, and then perhaps that would help him to stop being so gullible.

The young man left and was gone twenty years and came back as an older and wiser man. The first person to see him was a little girl, who was startled to see the stranger.

"Do not be scared," the man said. "I am not a ghost."

"I saw a ghost once," the girl said.

"I believe you," the man said.

The girl ran off and told her friends about the man who believed her when she told him that she had seen a ghost. The children came running to where she had seen him, and when they found him, a little boy said,

"I jumped over the river once."

"I believe you," the man said.

That night the little girl told her father about the man she had seen.

"Where did you see him?" he said.

The girl told him. The next day the father went to the spot that his daughter had told him and when he saw the man, he said, "My wife died a few years ago, but I love her as though she were alive."

"I believe you," the man said.

The word spread through the people about the man and soon everyone was coming, one by one, to see if the one thing that they had never told anybody would be believed by him, and each time it was.

Finally one day after each person had come to him and been believed, the man told them that he was the boy who had left many years ago. The people saw the error of their ways and begged his forgiveness.

They learned their lesson: when you are lucky enough to come across someone who believes you, don't worry about whether they are an adult or a child, just tell them the truth.

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