A wise man had a conversation with the Lord about Heaven and Hell. “I will show you Hell”, said the Lord and led the wise man into a room in the middle of which was a very big, round table.
The people sitting at it were famished and desperate. In the middle of the table there was a large pot of stew, enough and more for everyone. The smell of the stew was delicious and made the wise man’s mouth water.
The people round the table were holding spoons with very long handles. Each one found that it was just possible to reach the pot to take a spoonful of the stew, but because the handle of his spoon was longer than a man’s arm, he could not get the food back into his mouth. The wise man saw that their suffering was terrible.
“Now I will show you Heaven,” said the Lord, and they went into another room, exactly the same as the first. There was the same big, round table and the same pot of stew.
The people, as before, were equipped with the same long-handled spoons – but here they were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. At first the wise man could not understand. “It is simple but it requires a certain skill,” said the Lord. “You see, they have learned to feed each other.”