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Many would say that integrity is very rare nowadays. Everyone’s all about becoming famous or well liked… and it doesn’t matter if they lie and cheat their way to the top.
Many situations can be really tempting to stray away from your values and morals. But when you have integrity, you should be able to stand your ground.
In this blog post, I will share integrity stories with lessons on honesty that can remind you of its value to your life. You will find that more people respect you for your integrity than anything else, which is a moral victory.
What is Integrity?
Integrity is one of the qualities you need in order to have a fulfilling life. Having integrity means having moral uprightness, honesty, and strong moral principles. No matter how enticing an offer seems, or how grand the prize is, if what’s being asked of you goes against your values of honesty… you can turn your back on this offer when you have integrity.
With integrity and honesty, people can learn to become more humble, responsible, and accountable for their own deeds and actions. Lessons on integrity can be better understood using stories.
So, without further ado, here are seven integrity stories with moral lessons on honesty.
The 7 Best Integrity Stories
Story #1. The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf
A shepherd boy was tasked to watch over his master’s flock of sheep in a dark corner of the forest. With no one else around and with nothing else to do but tend to the sheep, things got very dull and boring very fast.
Despite this very laidback job, the shepherd boy’s master warned him about one thing: the wolves. He was given strict instructions to immediately run for help in the village in the event a wolf attacks the flock.
One day, he ran to the village crying, “Wolf! Wolf!” The villagers immediately dropped what they were doing to run to the pasture, thinking that the boy needed help. However, when they got there, they didn’t find any wolves. Instead, they found the boy laughing hard on the ground.
The shepherd boy apparently found it so funny that he went it did it again. And just like the first time, the villagers rushed to his aid, only to find out it was all a joke.
One day, as the day was nearing sunset, a wolf came to attack the flock of sheep. The boy immediately ran to the village to call for help. “Wolf! Wolf!” he frantically cried. However, this time, the villagers did not rush to his aid. “He can’t fool us again!” they said, ignoring his desperate cries.
The boy couldn’t fend off the scary wolf all by himself, so many of the sheep in the flock were killed.
Be honest in your words and deeds at all times. Always speak the truth. Otherwise, people will no longer trust you, and you won’t be able to get the help you need when you need it.
Story #2. The Woodcutter and the Axe
A hardworking woodcutter lived in a small village. Apart from being industrious, he was also very sincere and honest. Every day, he would go to the forest and cut trees using his trusty iron axe. Whatever he felled, he would then chop up and bring to the market in town, where he would sell to a merchant.
One day, he was cutting a tree near a river. Suddenly, his hand slipped from the handle, sending the axe down to the bottom of the river. The woodcutter was devastated. Without his axe, he couldn’t work to earn a living. All he could do was pray to the Goddess.
With his fervent prayers, the Goddess appeared before him, asking what he needed help with. The woodcutter immediately went to explain the situation. The Goddess reached down deep to the bottom of the river and pulled up a silver axe, and then a golden axe. The woodcutter said no to both axes.
The Goddess asked the woodcutter to check again. “It’s a very valuable axe,” she said. But the woodcutter was firm. “No, it’s not mine. My axe is an iron one. I can’t cut trees with a golden axe.”
The Goddess was pleased. She reached into the river one more time and, finally, brought up the woodcutter’s axe. “That’s my axe!” The woodcutter excitedly exclaimed. Because of the honesty that the woodcutter displayed, the Goddess rewarded him with both the silver and golden axes as well.
Honesty is always rewarded, so be honest at all times. It can be tempting to lie to get something better out of the situation, but that can come with complications. Keep it simple, stay honest, and you will be rewarded.
Story #3. The Little Boy with a Slingshot
While on summer vacation at his grandparents’ farm, Sammy accidentally shot his grandma’s pet duck with his slingshot. In a panic, he hid it behind a pile of wood. Unknown to him, his sister Marie saw the entire thing.
The next day, Grandma called on Marie to wash the dishes. Instead of coming to help, however, Marie simply said, “Sammy said he wanted to help in the kitchen today, Grandma.” Sammy was surprised because he said no such thing. Marie walked up to him and whispered, “Remember the duck?”
It was then he realized that Marie saw what had happened. This went on for several days, until one day, Sammy couldn’t take it anymore! He went to Grandma and told her about everything that's happened. Instead of scolding him, his Grandma gave him a hug and said, “I knew all along. I was just waiting to see how long before you tell me, so Marie will stop blackmailing you.”
Be honest about your mistakes. There will be others who will have no qualms about using this information against you. The more mistakes you hide in secret, the heavier the burden on your conscience will be, and the easier other people can take advantage of you.
Story #4. A Boy’s Job Appraisal
A boy walked into a store and went straight to get a carton box to put in front of the telephone. The store owner watched all this with mild curiosity. Once the carton box was in place, the boy climbed on it and reached for the phone.
The boy dialed a number. As soon as the other line picked up, he asked if they would hire him to cut their lawn. The person on the other end must have declined because the boy asked again.
“I will cut the lawn better than whoever is cutting your lawn now. I can also sweep your curb, your sidewalk, and your driveway. Your lawn will be the prettiest in all of the neighborhood!” He was making such a good pitch that the store owner couldn’t help but be impressed.
As the boy replaced the phone in the receiver, the store owner couldn’t stop himself from asking the boy. “Well, did you get the job?”
The boy smiled, “No, I didn’t. They said they’re happy with the service they’re getting right now.” The store owner felt bad for the boy. “I like your persistent attitude! I can give you a job!”
To his surprise, the boy declined. “No, thank you. I am the one doing their lawn, actually. I just called to check if they were happy with my work.”
In order to do good at what you do, you also need to be honest with yourself. Instead of comparing ourselves with others, we should first look at our strong points and which areas we can improve upon.
Story #5. The Lazy Donkey
A man had a donkey that was meant to help him transport goods for his business. The donkey was loyal but lazy. It would often find ways to cut corners at work, causing his master's losses.
One day, the donkey was tasked to carry sacks of salt on his back to towns. One of the routes along the way required it to cross a river. As they were crossing it, the donkey slipped and fell into the water. His master immediately helped him up. To the donkey’s pleasant surprise, the load on his back suddenly felt lighter. The salt inside the sacks had been washed away by the water.
For the next few days, the donkey would “slip” and fall into the water. His master noticed that he was doing this intentionally. It frustrated the master because the salt goods he was supposed to sell kept getting damaged. To keep this from happening again, he decided to teach the donkey a lesson.
On their next trip, he filled the sacks with cotton. Not knowing this change in cargo, the donkey again fell into the water. The cotton absorbed all the water, making the sacks become much heavier. It got so heavy that he couldn’t get up at all!
His master then came to help him up, and from there, the donkey learned his lesson.
Be honest with your work. Don’t ruin the trust given to you in fulfilling your tasks and responsibilities. The quality of your work may be affected by your dishonesty, which can lead to repercussions.
Story #6. The Emperor and the Seeds
The emperor of a kingdom gathered the youths in his palace. “One of you will replace me as emperor one day!” he proclaimed. “Whoever can grow their seed the best in a year will become my successor.”
Everyone in attendance got one pot of seed to bring home. A boy brought home his pot of seed, excited to watch it grow. After a few weeks of watering and tending to the pot, however, he saw no changes to it at all. He tried to ease his worries by thinking that he only needed to be patient. Maybe it was a slow-growing seed.
The days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months. Soon enough, the one-year deadline was due. The boy was beside himself, worried that he had nothing to show to the emperor.
At the emperor’s palace, the boy felt even more embarrassed. Everyone else had beautiful trees and plants to present. He had nothing but an empty pot. The others who saw his pot pointed and laughed at him. The boy decided to stay at the back of the crowd to avoid any more unwanted attention.
As the presentation to the emperor was coming to an end, the emperor saw the boy and called him up to the front. “You will be the new emperor!” he proclaimed. Everyone was shocked! It turned out that the emperor had all given them boiled seeds, which meant it would have been impossible to grow anything out of it! But it was only the boy who was honest about his so-called failure.
Dishonesty will always be found out. Don’t put your integrity at risk by lying just to appear to have favorable results. An honest failure will be better rewarded by dishonest success.
Story #7. The Honest Kid
A 7-year-old boy was playing baseball. In one of the games, he tried to run and tag after another player from first base. He was, unfortunately, able to do so, but to his surprise, the umpire called the other player out anyway!
The little boy immediately went to the umpire and clarified that the player was safe because he wasn’t able to tag them. The umpire believed him and reversed the call.
A couple of weeks later, in another game, the boy successfully tagged the other player, but the umpire called them safe. So the boy again went to clarify to the umpire. Upon hearing this, the umpire reversed the call, drawing jeers from the crowd. The umpire told them that they knew the boy to be honest, and so believed his words.
Your honesty (or dishonesty) becomes a part of your identity. It’s better to be honest at all times and be known for it, so you can be trusted by others, rather than putting on a show with dishonesty.
Final Thoughts on Integrity Stories
Each of these stories provide great lessons for integrity and honesty. As simple as they are, however, it’s somewhat ironic to find that the simple things are the hardest to do.
We can only try our best to live a life full of integrity, but it would be honestly difficult. I guess that is the challenge of it all: to live an upright life with honesty, sincerity, and genuineness.