Truth and the Power of Stories


An old Jewish Rabbi known and respected for his learning and wit was once asked by his students why he often illustrated truth by telling a story. With a wry smile he replied “I can best explain that through a story, a parable about parable itself.”

“There was a time when Truth walked among people unclothed and unadorned, as naked as his name. But whoever saw truth turned away in shame or fear and gave him no welcome. So Truth wandered through the earth rebuffed and unwanted.

One day, when feeling very sad and lonely, he met Parable strolling along happily dressed in many brightly coloured clothes. Parable asked, ‘Truth, why do you seem so sad? ’ ‘Because I am so old and unattractive, I seem to cause fear in people and so they avoid me’ said Truth. ‘Nonsense’, laughed Parable, ‘That is not why they avoid you. Here borrow some of my clothes and see what happens.’

So Truth donned some of Parables lovely colourful clothes and, to his surprise, everywhere he now went he was welcomed.”

The old Rabbi smiled and said; “ For the truth is that people cannot face truth naked, they much prefer him clothed.”

Peter Corney. (25/3/12)

(I am not sure of the origin of this story or the source of where I first encountered it but I salute its author.  I have since discovered that another version of it can be found in ‘Yiddish Folk Tales’ ed. by B.Silverinan. Pantheon Books NY)