A farmer's son by accident trod upon a serpent's tail which turned and bit him and he died. The father in rage got his axe and cut off part of the creature's tail.

The serpent in revenge began biting several of the farmer's cattle causing him severe loss. Soon the farmer thought it best to make up with the serpent, and brought food to the mouth of its lair, and said, "Let's forgive and forget; perhaps you were right to punish my son, and take vengeance on my cattle, but surely I was right in trying to revenge him. Now that both of us are quits, why not be friends again?" "No", replied the serpent, "You can never forget the death of your son, nor I the loss of my tail".

The moral of the story is that while injuries may be forgiven, they are not forgotten. For many people - like the serpent - this makes a crucial difference in their future relationships.

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What the moral completely overlooks however, is the farmer's overture. This man had obviously not forgotten his son's death but he was still willing to forgive. True, this was a move of convenience, but at least he made the first move. That is the part of forgiving which is the hardest.

Making the second move - the offer for making it up - is not so difficult. But making no move at all - like the serpent did - is the easiest.

Conservatism, parochialism, orthodoxy, rigidity - are all the human nature in not willing to accept, not willing to change. Which is why, perhaps, so many of us opt for it?

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