The Emperor and the Crane A Motivational Story About Death and Immortality

A certain sage brought a glass of living water to an emperor and said:

– “If you drink this water – you will become immortal. If you don’t – you will eventually end up in the country of the dead. Just like everybody else.”

The emperor thought a while about the offer, but couldn’t decide for himself. So, he ordered that all the wise creatures on the planet to be invited for advice: both people and animals.

The sages started praising life and its benefits and all of them agreed that the emperor should drink the live water.

But, the wisest crane asked the emperor:

– “Are you going to drink the living water all by yourself or are you going to share it with all of your friends?”

The emperor replied:

– “The water was brought to me, and there’s not enough for anyone else.”

– “But, do you really want to live your life without your friends and family?”

The emperor thought for a moment, and decided not to drink the living water.

The Lesson

  • The moral? To stay alive and outlive everyone you love – is perhaps more of a punishment than a reward.


  • Suleiman the Magnificent and the Wise Crane. Indian Tale // Soup with a Smile. Kiev; M., 1996
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