On martyrdom - a parable (Part 2)

There was once a man who loved his family very much. He had a lovely wife, two adorable children, and a big, friendly dog. He always brought a portrait of his family where ever he went: of course, there was an enlarged copy of it hanging in the living room of his home. There was also one on his desk at work, one in the vacation home they owned, and he always carried one in his suitcase when he went on his business trips. He was sad to be away from his family during those trips, but he would look at that picture and call them every night when he was away.

One day, on one of those business trips, there was a fire in the hotel where this man was staying. He was out on the hallway when the fire alarm went off, but he ran back to his room and retrieved his family portrait before running out of the hotel room, fighting through some of the fire in the process. In fact, it was the only thing he managed to save from his room. When he got outside, he met with the news crew who where there to cover the fire. They saw a man who had clear signs of having come out of the burning building, holding only a picture. So they interviewed him about it. He said, "This picture of my family is my most precious possession. When I realized there was a fire, I knew that I had to save it." Such was this man's love for his family.

The interview went somewhat viral, and many people were able to see and hear the story of this man and his love for his family. Many people held him up as a model of a good man. Many people commented on the importance of family. Many said that we need more men like that in the world today.

A number of years passed by. He was still in the prime of his life, but those years were perhaps soon coming to a close. His wife was lovelier than she had ever been in his eyes, and they talked about preparing to grow old together. His children where on the cusp of adulthood, and he was very proud of them. They had grown into promising teenagers, and they would be going off to college very soon. The dog was now very old. They knew that it did not have much more time left, but there had been many happy memories, and they were determined that its last days will be filled with comfort and more great memories.

One day, there was a fire in his home. Our man was away from the house at the time, but he soon heard of the disaster and instantly returned home - just in the nick of time. The fires were fierce; it was clear that the house itself was eventually going to be a total loss. Still, he ran into the house. He rescued his family portrait that hung in the living room, while his wife, children, and dog fell unconscious and died in their rooms. He had not realized that they were home.

You may next want to read:
On martyrdom - the value of a human life (part 3) (Next post of this series)
On martyrdom (Part 1) (Previous post of this series)
The dialogue between two aliens who found a book on Earth
Another post, from the table of contents


  1. And the moral of the story is: Have backups of your photos. That way, you don't do stupid things like going into burning buildings to get chattels.

    1. Well, I was perhaps going for something more like "know what's really important", or "know why something is important". But having backups of your photos is also a good idea =)