Being a good businessman. A story about honesty for teenagers

There was once a young boy named Ahmed.  He went to school and learnt his lessons.  He always tried to do his best.  He prayed to Allah that he might learn everything that he needed to know to become a businessman like his father.

When the time came Ahmed started to help his father in his work. Ahmed had a handsome face and people liked him to get them chai and to carry their shopping for them.  Life was simple, chai had a price, everyone knew it.  The sweet drink made customers happy.

Ahmed's customers liked his smiling face.

Ahmed’s customers liked his smiling face.

As for carrying cases some people were generous, others were not.  In the end Ahmed picked up about the same amount of money every week.

Ahmed had learnt the Holy Koran at the mosque.  He had learnt that it is important to be honest, but with time he started to notice that his father was not always honest with his customers.  Sometimes his father would say one thing and do another.  The customers would be puzzled and some would think, “Ah, this is a language problem,” or that the customs were different in Ahmed’s country.  But what Ahmed’s father did not take into consideration is that people have long memories and that people know other people.  When it came to recommending a taxi driver or a business man, for every customer who was cheated, ten customers might go to other business men for their trade as a result.

A person’s good name is worth more than silver or gold.  Silver or gold come and go,  but a good name, once it has gone will take a long time to regain and more usually, once it has gone, it has gone forever.  Other people are very willing to spread news of a bad name.  This is because they do not wish their friends to have a bad experience and be cheated, or because they themselves, if they are tradesmen, may benefit from work that might have gone to the dishonest businessman.

Ahmed had two choices.  He realised he could either try to make his father change his ways or he could set up in his own name resolved to be completely honest.  If a customer thinks they are being cheated they may become frustrated and angry.  They feel like they are ‘juggling with sand’, so they take their custom elsewhere for their own peace of mind.

Ahmed decided to speak to his father about his concerns.  His father said, “God does not expect me to be perfect, if I am honest ninety percent of the time,  God will not judge me to be a bad man?”

“I am not thinking about God judging you, Father.  I am thinking about our good name.  It is people who will be judging you right now.  If we cheat even only ten percent, they could easily ruin our reputation, and they certainly would not come back or send their friends to us.”  Ahmed’s father scratched his chin.  “I have never thought of it like that.  You could be right, son.  I think I will have to give this some consideration.”

Ahmed was pleased that his father was willing to change his dishonest ways.  He felt their future would be more secure if they were always dependable.  What do you think?


Do you know any traders or business people that you or your parents can trust completely?

Would you go to a different trader if you already knew one who would always be honest with you and everyone else?

Would you return to someone and ask them to work for you if they had cheated you or your friends before?

Not every one believes in God, those who do often think that God is watching what they do. Whether or not God is watching we can be sure that people are watching and noticing what we do. 

If we all act in ways that we would like other people to act towards us, what effect would that have on all our lives?

The Two Doctors (A story to promote racial harmony and doing the right thing)

The Two Doctors

I was on duty at the hospital; it was shortly after midnight. We had had the usual number of drug overdoses, knifings and violent brawls. I had started work at 6pm and was beginning to get tired. There were three nurses and two doctors on duty at the time. One of the nurses was from Jamaica and of the two doctors one was Indian and the other Nepalese. It was very unusual to have doctors from Nepal in our hospital. Normally after their training they returned to work with their own people, but Dr.Bijay had met and married a British nurse and though he missed his country a great deal, he loved his wife and child and wanted to stay.

The two doctors were cool towards each other. Unfortunately they had brought their national tensions with them. The Indian doctor thought that Bijay was too complacent, and Bijay said that Dr. Sanje worked more than was good for him and was too ambitious.

The event that occurred that night was to change the attitude of both men. We had spent a quiet half-hour during which time Bijay had read the daily newspaper and Sanje had written up his log when suddenly the double doors to the ward burst open and three people pushed their way in. One, a man had blood pouring down his face. The other two were women, one older, one younger. The man was holding his head in his hands and shaking it to and fro, as if he did not know where to go or what to do. They were followed by two paramedics who had evidently brought them in the ambulance.

Sanje jumped to his feet.

“What’s going on, what has happened here?” he asked the paramedics. Meanwhile Bijay tried to speak to the man holding his head.

“I think there’s been a fight – These women, one’s his wife and the other’s his mother. She’s been screaming at him too, he’s very drunk,” replied the ambulance man.

“Oh, nurse, get help and take these women outside. See if they’re hurt. We’ll deal with him. That’s a nasty cut I can see on his forehead, and look at that wrist!” exclaimed Dr. Bijay

I was the nurse. I didn’t see what happened to the man after that. The two Doctors disappeared behind the swing doors taking the dishevelled, bleeding man with them. Our Jamaican nurse followed. The two women asked me if the man would be all right. I tried to reassure them, my colleague and I lead them into another room and we each tried to comfort them

I spoke to the younger one. They were both sobbing and shaking.

It turned out that the older woman was the wife’s mother. She lived downstairs and had come to protect her daughter when she heard the husband return home, roaring drunk. She secretly wished him dead, as he was such a brute towards her daughter when he was drunk. On entering the kitchen she had found her daughter holding a knife, and saw blood spurting from the man’s wrist. She knew he would die very soon if he was left alone and she was very tempted to leave him, but she knew this would not be right. No matter how much she disapproved of his drunken ways, she knew she had to save him. She grabbed a tea towel and ripped it in two. The man had collapsed on the floor at this point she tied it tightly round his wrist to prevent any more blood loss. The daughter meanwhile, terrified as she was of her husband in his drunken state, had rushed to call the ambulance. She knew she needed help to mend her relationship with her husband. She had been defending herself, not trying to kill him.

We advised her about counselling services that were available and also suggested she join ALERNON, a group that supports the families of alcoholics. Then the next emergency case arrived and the women departed from our ward. The following day I asked Margit, the Jamaican nurse, how the doctors had coped with their patient.

She said it had been a useful experience for both of them. When I asked her what she meant she went on to say that by the time they had sorted out his wrist and stitched up his head he had sobered up a lot and became quite talkative. He asked the doctors where they were from. When he discovered that Bijay was from Nepal and Sanje from India he started to weep.

“You know my wife and I are always arguing about how the people from my country are better than hers, except she says her people are much better than mine, and here you are, two doctors, working so well together. Getting on with the job of looking after stupid people like me, who drink too much and cause trouble. I bet you don’t argue about who is best, do you? I expect you’re best mates. I expect you’ll go out for a drink together when all this is over, and you’ll know when to stop, unlike me. You’ll have a laugh and a joke, and then you’ll go home to your families. We can be so stupid, my wife and I!”

Margit didn’t hear the rest of what was said, but she did notice the exchange of a wry smile between the two doctors.

This case had a profound effect on the two doctors. Our drunkard had been an immigrant from Nepal, and his wife was of Indian extraction. He had returned to the hospital to say thank you to them for sewing him up so well, and I personally overheard him say how much he loved his wife and why there was no reason on earth why people from two different cultures should argue and fight. He had started to go to ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, and his wife was supporting him in giving up his habit of drinking. He had a new job and his wife was expecting a baby, and he wanted to be a good father to it.

The two doctors smiled at each other after hearing this tale.

“He’s quite right, of course,” said Sanje to Bijay, and they both shook hands.

The Happy Irish Fiddler – story music and dancing make people happy, for age 10 to adult



‘The Happy Irish Fiddler’ told by an Irish nun.


There was a time in Ireland when many people were starving.It was the time of the potato famine. The very old and the very young were worst affected.Many died.Large numbers of young people who were still strong and healthy decided to leave the country.Thousands fled to America.

There is a story that goes back several generations in my family.They hailed from Ireland and several of them emigrated to America.One, who would have been my great, great, great uncle, was a fine singer and musician.He had no trouble at all making a new life for himself, for wherever there were the Irish, there was singing and dancing, and with out a musician there would have been none of quality.What the Irish like best is traditional music of quality.A tin whistle may suffice if there is none other, but when a violin appears and is well played, ah, then you have an evening to remember.

My uncle, they say, was given free board and lodging wherever he went.He was welcomed with open arms.When he took out his penny whistle, there were smiles all round.When he revealed his violin, there was rejoicing.

Now, ancient uncle, who was called Patrick, used to wonder about life.He noticed how music made people happy and dancing made them even happier.He noticed that beer seemed to make them happy, then after a while and more beer they could become angry, violent sometimes, or just sad and morose, missing the old country.

Patrick used to encourage people to dance because as he would say,

“If they’re dancing, they’re not drinking too much, and they’ll be feeling happy in the morning.”For sure a man who dances too much usually feels very happy the next day, but a man who drinks too much always feels bad the next day.

Uncle saw it as his duty to try to make people happy.In fact he had a nickname, it was Happy Paddy.He used to try to live up to his name.As he got older Paddy found he could not dance as he did when a young man.This did not prevent him from playing his fiddle for others to dance to.People used to come up to him and ask his advice about life.He was always smiling, always jovial; perhaps they thought he had the answer to the meaning of life.All his wrinkles curled upwards.His mouth, even at rest, seemed to be half smiling, and his eyes always twinkled at the world.

One day a young man approached my uncle.He looked rather sad.

“Can I ask you a question, sir?”

“Ask away, young lad!It’ll cost you nothing and if you don’t like my answer you can throw it away, can you not?”

“I’ve been watching you for several weeks playing your violin, smiling away there in the corner.What makes you so happy all the time?”

“Well,” replied the old man, “If the truth be known I am not always happy.When I do have a problem I know that if I sit quietly and think about it just a little, then play my fiddle or perhaps listen to someone else’s music, the answer seems to come to me.This is how I tackle my problems.I don’t let them grow and grow inside my head while I rush about doing things to forget them.I deal with them immediately by sitting quietly.I imagine that there is a part of me that is much bigger and much wiser than this ‘little me’.I feel that I can hand over my problems to that bigger part of myself.Perhaps it’s my divine soul, perhaps its God, I don’t know.I just know that when I do that the problem seems to solve itself.The answer comes to me or the problem goes away and doesn’t trouble me any more.Sometimes it’s just a matter of looking at the problem in a different way.

I’d recommend that to you, young man.I can see several furrows on your brow.Try asking for help and sitting quietly.Mind you, I do have a warning; you mustn’t spend too much time doing this.Ten minutes a day would be quite enough for someone such as you.More than that and you’ll start to go over and over your problem, and that never solves anything.After ten minutes go and do something else, something active.Will you have a go and tell me how you get on?

The young man smiled for the first time, “Thanks, old timer, I might just do that.”

Several weeks later the young man reappeared.Paddy was curious.He noticed the unhappy frown had disappeared,“Well, hello, young fellow, and who is this you bring to introduce to me?”

“This is my wife, Elsa.We came to thank you for your advice.I did sit quietly and my soul said ‘send for Elsa, you’re sad because you miss her. Marry her and start your tailoring business.’Well I just knew I had to do it, so I did.I’ve come to offer you a new suit, if you’d like one.”

“That’s extremely civil of you young sir,” replied Paddy.“I could do with a new suit for weddings and funerals you know.It doesn’t do for the fiddler to be too untidy. Now, does it? And I wish you happiness and joy in your new life together.Remember to teach Elsa to ask for help too, then I’m sure the two of you will always be happy.”