There was once a widow who had three sons, Alberto, Eduardo, and Ernesto. She had spent a lifetime trying to teach them the meaning of charity and compassion.
The day came when she knew she was dying, and would no longer be there to guide them. She called her sons to her bedside.
“My sons, the only thing of value I have to leave you is my diamond ring. It was given to me by my mother, who had it from her mother, whose mother handed it down to her. It cannot be divided and it must not be sold, for one day, it shall go to one of your daughters. Now I must decide which of you is most worthy of this treasure. Go, my sons, and do good in the world. Come back in one week’s time and tell me your stories. The one who has performed the most noble deed shall inherit the diamond.”
By the time the three young men gathered again at her bedside, their poor mother was near death.
She said to her firstborn, “Alberto, tell me your story.” “Well, Mother,” said the eldest, “after much thought, I gave half of everything I owned to the poor.” “My son,” said the old woman, “no one can tell you that you haven’t performed a good deed. But it is not a noble deed, for have I not taught you that it is everyone’s responsibility to care for the needy?” She said to her secondborn son, “Eduardo, tell me your story.” He said, “Mama, I was passing the river when I saw a small child swept away in the current. I can hardly swim, but I jumped into the water and pulled the child out to safety. It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t drown myself.” “My son, you too have performed a good deed, but not a noble deed. Have I not taught you that everyone should be willing to lay down his life for that of a helpless child?” The old woman said to her youngest son, “Eduardo, come tell me your story.” Ernesto hesitated before taking her hand. “Mamacita,” he confessed, “I haven’t much to tell. As you know, I’ve no earthly goods, and I cannot swim a stroke. But I’ll tell you something that happened to me this week. Very early one morning I was walking in the mountains. I came upon a man sleeping at the edge of a cliff. If he were to stir in his sleep, he would surely fall to his death on the rocks below. I determined to prevent this tragedy. I crept over, so as not to startle him awake. Then I saw that it was my bitter enemy, Juan Miguel. At first, I thought to leave him there, for the last time we met, Juan Miguel threatened to kill me if he ever got the chance. But I knew what I had to do. As I put my arms around him, Juan awoke and I could see the fear in his eyes as he recognized me. “’Don’t be afraid,’ I told him. I quickly rolled him away from the precipice to safety, and helped him to his feet. When Juan Miguel came toward me, I was sure he meant to kill me. But then he threw open his arms to embrace me. Juan said, ‘Last night darkness fell before I could get home. Rather than chance a misstep in the dark, I decided to spend the night where I was. I had no idea I was so close to the cliff edge. You saved my life, Ernesto, and after I treated you so poorly!’ To make a long story short, Mamacita, Juan and I are no longer enemies, but have sworn to be friends forever.” The old woman shed tears of joy. “My son, I have taught you well. That was truly a noble deed, and you are a noble man, for you risked your life to save a man sworn to kill you. With one act of kindness, you have transformed hatred into love and made the world a better place.” With her dying breath she told her sons, “The diamond shall go to Ernesto, but you must all remember that with each noble deed you perform, you shall add to the treasure that awaits you in Heaven.”
All three sons married and had children of their own. They, like their mother, taught their children the meaning of charity and compassion. When the time came, Ernesto left his mother’s diamond to one of his daughters. But Alberto and Eduardo left their children a gem worth as much as any diamond, for their children held in their hearts their grandmother’s precious legacy, the story of the most noble story.
All photos copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck
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The Most Noble Story is from Apples From Heaven, copyright 1995 Naomi Baltuck, and retold from a folk tale of Mexico.
NAOMI BALTUCK is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE . She is also a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller at The Bardo Group.
How nice of you to share your stories with your exquisite photos!
Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a kind word.
I loved this story, Naomi.You have so many talents. Makes me smile.
Thank you, Tess!
So lovely 🙂
Thank you, Sue.
Excellent story and the pictures added a richness to it! Loved the combination! 🙂
Thanks so much for the visit, and for the generous response. One of my favorite things about blogging is the opportunity to tell my stories with visual aids, and having a place to share photos, which I had never really before, except with my family.
I hope the New Year is going well for you!
Thanks so much . . such a gift of story!
You are one who knows all about that! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a good word.
And thus it was, and thus it will be. Good will win. Beautiful story.
One can always hope. Thanks for the visit, and the very kind words.
A perfect story! I love your use of text and photos. Best of all, I love the story!
Thank you so much. I love combining two means of expression that I feel passionate about, but it always boils down to one thing–the story I wish to share.
I love this .. what a beautiful share… thank you, a quiet reminder to us all…
You are so kind. Thank you, as always, for your encouragement.
Beautiful images that worked so perfectly with your beautiful words. Great short story Naomi!
Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate your visit. Happy New Year!
Just one of many such wonderfully-told stories in Naomi’s book. Soon I’ll have no more to look forward too 😦
That’s very sweet. I might have to put together another one! Best wishes for the New Year.
Great story Naomi….thank you for sharing!
Thanks for stopping by. It’s always good to hear from you. I hope your New Year is off to a good start!
That is a beautiful story, I had never heard it before.
Thank you for the lovely comment! So good to hear from you.
I must have read this about four or five time now and each time it brings a tear to the eye and touches the heart. Just lovely, Naomi.
You are so dear! Thank you for your constant encouragement. You have such a generous soul and a very big heart.
Great story. Reminds me of a parable. Well done. Love the pictures, too, Naomi.
The wisest preachers tell parables. I think of them as Truth dressed up in fancy clothes–and there’s a story about that in my book Apples From Heaven. Stories touch the heart that the mind may understand. Thanks for stopping by.
Such goodness makes me want to hide away…
I am sending you a warm hug through the blogosphere. Only a very good man would take this story so much to heart.
So touching and beautiful. ♥
Thank you so much for your lovely comment–so good to hear from you.
Always such a pleasure to “visit” you, Naomi.
Great matching of your photos to this story.
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. It is always good to hear from you. I am enjoying reading your blog, and looking for the next post.
Yes, from “Apples From Heaven”! I love this story, Naomi!
Thank you so much! You are so dear!
This is great with the illustrations, too. I put a link on my guest storyteller page to this version, as well as the non-illustrated version on my blog.
Thank you, Sarah, I really appreciate that.
Ahhhh…such a satisfying story, and I loved the photos you chose to accompany it.
Thank you so much for checking in, and sharing your very generous response. I hope the New Year is treating you well! I have really been enjoying your photographs of Kelowna. You have quite the eye!
Lovely story! I enjoyed reading it.
Thank you for the visit, and for sharing your kind response!
i really loved the story, Naomi. it’s so beautiful.
Thank you so much for sharing your very kind thoughts about this story.