Mutual Help – An Inspirational Story About Compassion

A believer once went to the Prophet and asked to see heaven and hell.

The Prophet took his hand and led him to a palace. When they entered one room, he saw multitudes of people. In the middle of the room, there was a long table with a pot full of soup, spreading a pleasant aroma throughout the whole room.

The table was surrounded by skinny people, each of whom had a spoon with a very long handle attached to their hands.

Each person tried to get his spoon into the soup bowl, pushing others out of his way.

But because their spoons had very long handles, they were not able to bring the soup to their mouths. Instead, they poured the hot soup over their neighbours, who, in turn, fought back. All of the greedy people were hungry, boiled over, beaten.

“This is hell”, – said the Prophet.

Then he led the believer to another room, where there was also a table, with a pot full with boiling soup. In fact, everything was the same as in the first room.

But the people here seemed very well-fed and satisfied.

The believer observed. The people would reach the pot of soup in pairs, and one would feed the other using his long spoon. And once the first one was full, they switched.

“And this is heaven!” – said the Prophet.


The Lesson

  • If you want to live in heaven, you need to help the others… or at least learn how to properly use a long spoon.



  • Toasts. Let’s Drink to Friends. / Comp. by G. A. and S. G. Gurlyand. Tver, 1997.
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