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The Parable of the Bookshop owner

There was once a man who owned a bookshop. 

He had 2 ladies working for him.

One was an honest worker. 

The other would steal money from the till, whenever she got the chance, and was alone there by herself.

Then the owner sold his shop, and the two sales-girls went along, with the purchase.

The new owner caught the girl stealing, and he blamed the previous owner for passing on a bad worker to him.

He sacked her, and he asked the previous owner for compensation.

Questions for the reader:

What was going on here?

Are we responsible for all our actions, as well as for other’s actions too, like in this case?

Are we only responsible for our own actions, or can we be responsible for other’s actions, sometimes too?

My own thoughts about this:

I think that we indeed are responsible for our own actions, and that we are partly responsible for all actions connecting to us through others too.

What does connecting to us mean here?

It means secondary actions, traceable back to our own non-actions, when action should have been carried out by ourselves, but wasn’t.

Photo Credit: The photos used in this article were all sourced from the free media site,


What do you think?


Written by The Dunce

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    • Yes, people are getting tested for COVID here, but most of them do not go home to isolate to wait for the result. They call into the shops, or somewhere else on the way home.

      50 % of people are doing this here.

      People seem to think that they can get away with what they can get away with, and that they are not responsible for the consequences of their actions.

  1. Interesting and thought-provoking story; in general, I agree with your thoughts in the end although I am not sure to what extent we are responsible for other people’s actions when it comes to real life.

    The story doesn’t say whether the first owner knew about the employee stealing money, but he could, I guess, still be held responsible for not noticing that either. However, if there’s no proof of the employee stealing while working for the first owner, one could say that she started doing that just after the second owner got the shop. Or maybe I am thinking like a layer now, haha. Awesome story, it made me think.

    • Yes, the story does say that the lady was stealing from the first owner, but it is not clear if the owner really knew about it, or not, nor if the other female employee knew either, about the stealing of her colleague, from the shop.

      If the owner knew of the expected average daily earnings, he should have gotten some feeling that his takings were down, if he was being fully aware, in his job, I think too.

      To some extent, if we are in a management position, I think that we wear some of the responsibility for the actions of those under us. The buck stops with us, as we are at the top of the pile, and everything else sits under us…lol…we wear the biggest boots, so we need to step properly with them on.

  2. The moral power of impact.

    There is a parable about the boulder thrown into a pond. Who is responsible for the waves created that swamp the boats on the pond?
    The rock
    the person that threw the rock.

    the habit of the salesgirl is a ripple, the thrower of the rock is the shopkeeper.

    • It’s a good parable you told there.

      The rocks in our heads make ripples until we see that we were not the ones to place them there, but that they are a part of the environment, not meant to ripple, but to beautify instead.

      The ocean has rocks at its bottom, and around its edges, that make no sounds, but the sounds made by the waves pounding on them.

      Should the bookshop owner, the shopkeeper, have made a sound as his rock landed in the water then, or not?

      • if our goal is to move away from where we are to the next level than the answer is simple. The old business saying applies. Do the right thing.

        Right becomes a part of moving forward.
        wrong never leads us to an answer.
        Ignorance is for fools to relish in. So if we ignore, we debase our inner light.

        • Do any real fools ever exist though?

          Is ignorance the shade-cloth that we all huddle under together?

          Responsibility sits on its own chair, until the chair becomes a couch, and you sit down on it too, with another person, then responsibility is shared.

          Is the right thing always clear as being the right thing?

          Is the right thing relative, or absolute?

          The correlating question would be then, is truth absolute, or relative too?

          God, perhaps, though, as Einstein said, in as many words, does not play games with the truth.

          The truth always remains the truth then, or does it?

          • to thy known self be true. If someone does something bad and you let it slide, then you own a piece of the next thing they do bad.

            we as a world have to stop letting someone else step up and take the lumps for bad and wrong behavior.

            If someone behaves outside the norm we have to report it. The system may say a starving mother stealing bread from a store shouldn’t be punished, but that is the collective view and it works for me.

        • Yes, some type of a consensus position must be taken with law, and common law.

          We all need to know where we stand in society.

          We can feel sorry for the mother, and visit her in prison though, I guess, or take a spare loaf of bread around for her kids, now living with their grandmother, next door to us.

          • society has to stop at that point, the right thing to do is to stop and say this person was doing the right thing (greater right) and should not be punished.

            It is oppression to force those who cannot feed their children to live within the system that forces them to be unable to feed their children.

        • To my mind, force is a pretty big word, unduly restrained is perhaps another, but I think that we should all be given all of the opportunity we require to make the most of our lives, and then it is up to us to take those opportunities, or not.

          • i would agree with that. we as a society have to do the right thing. It is interesting but one of the things that is coming out of the current us policing crisis is a consideration of what constitutes a crime that requires the person to go to the police station with the officers.

            that is a good inflection point to consider what is a crime.

        • What is a crime?

          Perhaps it is a thought of non-love clashing with love’s direction for us, and which then brings criminal intentions to the surface of our thoughts, that never make it there, if they are kept down deep, within the deeper waters of love.

          We all have these thoughts within us, but we should not give them free rein to run the horse by themselves.

          • i would argue that the reality of what is a crime, is more focused on the reality of self-love, self-importance and not the more universal love. Most humans, me included, struggle to arrive at the point where the only love in our hearts is the more universal love.

          • ok that makes perfect sense. It is the journey from “me” to “centered me” where the center I am seeking is universal love.

            seek the world with the heart of a child…

        • I would say that the child has an innocent unspoilt love until it attaches its love to the wand of its mind, wanting things other than love, which tips over the apple cart, which we must spend the rest of our lives then, putting back into our carts again.

          • i think you raise an interesting point there. Dogs, love unconditionally, and at times that does them more harm than good (bad human).

            Children learn from the world around them to love less.

        • “Children learn from the world around them to love less.”

          Sadly, this is true, but it also applies to the rest of us too.

          As we grow older, most of us, if we remain unaware of what is happening here, will love less.

          We learn from the world, and from each other, and even from our own reactions and responses, to do just this.

          • i always teach my kids to look at both sides. To see what the other side thinks. It becomes easier to understand the person that is across from you, if you understand they have a side.

            we only disagree. We don’t hate!

          • harder to hate when you feel like the other person has a side! It also reduces the rhetoric of hate, because you took the time to understand the other side.

            Socrates and Plato both spoke of that as critical. Former US President Jimmy Carter used to have his kids take opposite sides of an argument the second night.

  3. What if he had an idea that this was going on, but he was too weak to say something to his employee, because, after all, this was the mayor of the city’s daughter?

    If someone comes to work, affected by drugs, should the business owner know about this?

    Should business owner’s generally, have to be more aware of what is going on with their employees these days, than in the past?


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