A homeless Girl was looking for a place to stay. She knocked on the door of an old Man.
“May I stay with you?” she asked.
The Man looked at the girl and felt pity for her. “You may,” he said, “But with one condition. When I am away, you have to make sure that all the doors of the house are closed so that nobody can enter,” the Man said and showed the girl how to close the front door with a lock. “Can you do that?” he asked.
“Sure, that’s an easy job,” the Girl said, and the Man let her in.
Next morning, the Man went out for work. It was a sunny day, so the Girl opened the balcony door. She remembered what the Man had said about keeping all doors closed, but she thought he probably didn’t mean the balcony door. Nobody could come through the balcony anyway. When the Man came home and saw the balcony door open, he asked the Girl: “Why did you leave the balcony door open? Didn’t I tell you to close all the doors of the house?”
“Yes, but who would come in through the balcony?” the Girl asked defensively.
“Monkeys would. They come and take my food.”
“Monkeys? Real monkeys? Can they come inside?” the Girl did not want to believe that.
“They can even open a fridge. That is why you need to keep the doors closed.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that before?” the Girl wanted to know.
“You didn’t ask. You said you would easily get the job done.”
“Oh, I am sorry,” the Girl apologized and promised to be more careful in the future.
Next day, the Man went for work again. This time, the Girl kept all doors closed. When the Man came home, she was in the kitchen preparing dinner.
“Why were the front doors open?” the Man asked her.
“No, they were closed,” the Girl said.
“Closed, but not locked from inside, which means I can open them, and since you are not in the living room, you would not even notice when the monkeys come in.”
“Oh, I thought I would since I was just here in the kitchen. But can monkeys open the door?”
“Sure, they can. If they can open the fridge, they can open the door, too.”
“Oh, I am sorry,” the Girl felt guilty again. At the same time, she became more interested in monkeys. Though she had never seen any, she sensed, they must be real since the Man was so concerned about them. “How big are they?” she wanted to know.
“Pretty big, I would say, half of your size, so please be more careful next time or I will have to ask you to leave,” the Man said.
“Ok, sure, I’ll be careful,” the Girl promised.
Next morning, the Man was sleeping and not getting up for his work. The Girl had intended to go to a supermarket and buy some bread. It would only take ten minutes. So she thought she would not wake up the Man. He would probably soon wake up anyway to leave for work. Moreover, if she locked the door from outside, he would not be able to get out. So she left the door unlocked.
When the Girl returned from the supermarket, the Man was in the living room, about to leave for his work.
“Why did you leave the front door open?” he asked the Girl.
“Because I thought you were here and waking up soon anyway.”
“I was here, but I was sleeping,” the Man said. “I would not feel if monkeys sneak in and steal the food.”
“But what should I have done?” the Girl wondered.
“You should have woken me up or waited.”
“But how could I know that?” the Girl was perplexed. “Last time you said…”
“Do not look at the last time,” the Man interrupted her. “The rule is one, the situations – different. You surely learn from each situation, yet every next situation requires a different solution.”
Now the girl felt very bad. The Man did not want to let her stay for any longer. However, the Girl persuaded him to give her one last chance.
Next day, a Guy knocked on the door. “May I stay at your place?” he asked the Man.
“You may,” the Man said exactly what he had said to the Girl. “But only if you make sure that all the doors of the house are always closed.”
“Sure, that’s easy, I can do that,” the Guy said, and the Man let him in.
Next morning, after the Man had gone for work, the Guy went out. When he returned to the house, he was so overwhelmed with the new place that he forgot to close the door as he came in.
“Please keep the door closed,” the Girl immediately reminded the Guy.
“Why?” he asked. “It is such a beautiful day outside, and I am sure nobody would come in as we are here!”
“Monkeys may come and steal the food,” the Girl said in full seriousness, convinced that monkeys were real, because the Man had seen them and described them to her. While the Guy laughed in disbelief, the Girl thought she had finally learnt the lesson: take care of the other person and his property as if it was yours.
The story was originally published on Peace Revolution Blog.