The Fox and its Tail

“Could you tell me a story before bed?” The little girl asked the Grandmother.

“Of course, my dear. Now get in bed, put on the covers, and please don't get a cold at night. Are you ready?”


“The story goes like this. Once upon a time, there was a fox in the mountain. The fox was chasing its tail. The fox thought its tail was separate from itself, so it kept chasing and chasing, but never really catching it. So on and on the fox chased its tail, wearing itself out slowly.”

“And then?”

“That is the end my dear.”

“But the fox can't chase its tail forever.”

“But it will my dear. If it never realizes that the tail is a part of itself, it will keep chasing. It maybe still doing it now in the mountain.”

“But the fox will die that way.”

“Yes it will my dear. So the fox must see this simple fact, and then it will stop chasing its tail.”

“But won't the fox go back to chasing if it sees the tail again?”

“No my dear. The tail is a part of itself. The tail is itself. When it realizes this, there is simply no chase.”

“So I go to the fox and talk to it. I will say, please stop chasing your tail, your tail is a part of you.”

“That is very nice of you my dear.”

“Because I don't want the fox to suffer forever like that.”

“Quite right. You are sensitive to the fox's suffering, aren't you?”

“Yes, Grandma.”

“What if the fox tells you, please leave me alone, I really want to catch this tail.”

“Grandma, I cannot force the fox to stop, because afterwards it will continue. The fox must understand.”

“Quite right. So what will you do?”

“I can only help it to understand. Point it toward something. Force is so violent, isn't Grandma?”

“It is my dear. Will you never force anyone in your life?”

“I won't Grandma.”

“Not even with tricks? You know, to manipulate people so they will do what you desire?”

“But Grandma, I give others candies, and they become my friends. I like having friends.”

“Yes my dear. But do you see that is still forcing? It is more clever, more subtle. But it is still violent?”

“Yes, Grandma. But I don't want to have no friends.”

“I know. But when you climb a hill, will you go to the top, and not stop midway? You know? Will you not force anyone, no matter how subtle and clever? Will you promise?”

“I don't know, Grandma.”

“That's quite alright. Never promise anything you can't do. It is quite late. Rest well my dear.”

“You too, Grandma.”