Not all cities are as beautiful as Aleppo. The balconies are full of flowers and the shutters look like butterflies. The windows are always open for the fresh wind. Over there
once lived a very beautiful girl, who liked everything she saw around her. Her name was Sousan. Everyone loved her and she loved everyone and she helped whom she could help.
One day she went to visit her grandmother. The boys in the street called after her “Look at that weird one, with that ugly dress!” Startled, Sousan fled into her grandmother’s house.
“Oh, Sousan, do not worry about that,” said her grandmother. “It does not matter if someone doesn’t like you. And it doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t like the way you look. Not everyone will always love you and that is not a problem at all. That’s just the way the world is and if you have peace with it. As long as you know that you are a beautiful girl with a good heart.”
But Sousan did not want to believe her. “But Grandma,” she said. “I do not understand. I love everyone, so why does not everyone love me?”
“Some people think differently from you,” Grandma replied. “Or they see things in a different way. If that happens, do not be disappointed.”
Sousan shrugged. And the grandmother, who saw that her granddaughter didn’t believe her, said, “Wait, I’ll tell you a story …”
Once a father traveled with his son to Baghdad, the city of Thousand and One Nights. They left their village and traveled across the desert to the other side; the father sat on the donkey, the son walked next to it. They traveled past oases and sand dunes, until they came to a village.
In that first village the residents looked at them and shouted: “What a bad man is that! Look, he lets his son walk, while he is sitting on the donkey himself!”
The father and the son heard the people talking and did not like what they heard. So before they came to the next village, the father stepped off the donkey and let his son sit on it. He himself walked next to it.
But in that village they were again checked out by the residents and they also had something to say: “What a bad son is that! Look, he is just sitting there on the donkey and he is letting his old father walk. If he doesn’t take care of his father now, then when?”
The father and the son heard the people talking and before they arrived in the third village, they both went to sit on top of the donkey.
But the residents also commented in the third village. “What is that there! Look at that poor donkey! The man and the boy are both on top of his back … Why don’t they think about that poor animal? Why don’t they take turns?”
This too was heard by the father and the son. And what do you think?
Before they got to the next village, they got off the donkey and both walked alongside it. The residents of this village looked at them in amazement, looked at each other and then burst into laughter. “I can’t believe it! Look at that! Don’t this man and his son know that donkeys are there to ride on and not to walk next to?”
The father and the son heard the people talking and had finally learned their lesson. “Father,” said the son, “it does not matter what we do, people always have something to say about it.” The father smiled. “Exactly, my son, that’s why we should not listen to others, but only to the back of the donkey and to our own hearts. If the back of the donkey does not hurt and our hearts don’t hurt, then it is good what we are doing.”
The father and the son smiled and the donkey brayed. “And if this is the lesson we learned, our trip was worth it.” said the father. And he turned his face to the sun, which shone brightly on that beautiful day.
Sousan smiled. “It’s a nice story, Grandma,” she said, “and now I’m going to play outside again.”