0 The plum seeds - Moral Puzzles (by Eugene Matusov)

Moral Puzzles (by Eugene Matusov)

Stories to think about the good and the bad
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The plum seeds

(a true story by Leo Tolstoy, retold and modified by me)

Mother bought plums, and she wanted to give the plums to the family after dinner. “Everyone will get one plum,” mother said. Everyone must wait until after dinner.

The plums were good, lying on a plate in the kitchen. Little Vanya had never eaten plums before, and he came up and smelled them – he liked them very much. He wanted to taste a plum badly. He was leaving the kitchen and then was coming back again. The plums looked at Vanya with interest. They liked to be eaten. The plums wanted to be eaten, but little Vanya knew that it was not good.

But nobody was in the kitchen. Nobody could hold little Vanya himself from picking up just one plum and eating it up. Just his own plum. The plum was good, and it was his anyway. Little Vanya looked at the rest of the plums lying on a plate. They all wanted to be eaten. Little Vanya look around, but nobody was in the kitchen to hold him. Nobody. Little Vanya waited a bit, sighed, and ate another one plum, waited, and then another one, waited, and then another one until all of them were gone.

After the dinner, the mother turned to the plate where the plums were, but the plate was empty. Mother asked the father, “Did you eat the plums?” The father replied, “No.” The mother turned to Vanya’s older brother and asked him, “Did you eat the plums?” The older brother replied, “No.” The mother turned to little Vanya and asked him, “Did you eat the plums?” Vanya quickly replied by shaking his head, “No, no! Not me!” He wanted to be invisible. The mother said, “Strange… I didn’t eat the plums either. Somebody ate the plums – it’s not good. But a worse thing is the plums’ seeds. If one swallows plums’ seeds, one can get a very bad stomach ache. I worry about that…”

Little Vanya got pale and mumbled, “No, no, — I threw the plum seeds into the garbage.”

Vanya’s older brother started loudly laughing, barking like a machine gun. Confused, little Vanya looked at his family. His mother was smiling in concord with Vanya’s older brother. Little Vanya looked at his Dad. His Dad sighed and tried to hide his eyes from Vanya in some embarrassment. Little Vanya started crying. For some reason, Vanya felt very big and very lonely in this room. He also felt ashamed for his mother. Suddenly, he did not want to be in the room with his family anymore.

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