The Magic Ring

     A woman once asked the Teacher, “Which is the true religion?”  The teacher replied: “Once there was a magic ring which gave its bearer the gifts of grace, kindness, and generosity.  When the owner of the ring was on his deathbed, each of his three sons came separately and asked him for the ring.  The old man promised the ring to each of them.

     “He then sent for the finest jeweler in the land, and paid him to make two rings identical to the original.  The jeweler did so, and before he died, the father gave each son a ring without telling him about the other two.

     “Inevitably, the three sons discovered that each one had a ring, and they appeared before the local judge to ask his help in deciding who had the magic ring.  The judge examined the rings and found them to be all alike.  He then said, ‘Why must anyone decide now?  We shall know who has the magic ring when we observe the direction your life takes.’

     “Each of the brothers then acted as if he had the magic ring by being kind, honest, and thoughtful.

     “Now,” the Teacher concluded, “religions are like the three brothers in the story.  The moment their members cease striving for peace, grace, and love we will know that their religion is not the one God gave the world.”

“The Magic Ring” attributed to Moses Mendelssohn.