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Why Man Lives Eighty Years

Published June 15, 2005
Countries: Bulgaria
Age Levels: 12 and up

When the creator made the world, he wanted to give each person and each animal thirty years to live.  He told man, "You will rule over all of my creatures!"  You will be young, healthy, handsome, strong and wise!"  You will live for thirty years, the same as the animals you watch over."

It must have seemed wonderful to man to be able to rule over the creatures on the earth.  But, he was not happy about only having thirty years to live.

After creating man, God created the donkey.  "Donkey," God said, "You will eat unappetizing food and never be full.  You will work for man and carry his heavy loads.  People and animals will make fun of you."

"God," begged the donkey, "I don't want to suffer.  May I only live ten years instead of thirty?"

Man heard the donkey.  "God?" he asked.  "May I have the twenty years the Donkey does not want?"

God granted his request but said, "You will use those extra years just as the donkey would have used them."  Man agreed since this would allow him to live to be 50 years old.

Then God created the dog.  "You will have to defend everything around you," God said to the dog.  "You will always sense danger even when it is far away from you and bark at everything around you.  You will never get enough rest.  You will always do more for others than they do for you, and you will always seek to please the men who own you during your thirty years."

"God, said the dog, "If my life will be so hard, please let me live ten years instead of thirty."

Man hear the dog's request and asked God for the twenty years the dog did not want.  God granted his request but said, "You will have to to live those extra twenty years just as the dog would have lived them."  Man agreed because he would now be able to live 70 years instead of only fifty.

Then God created the monkey.  "You will look like man," God told the momkey.  But, you won't live like man.  YOu will climb trees and jump from branch to branch.  You will often act silly and imitate what you see around you in your thirty years."

"God," said the monley, "If I must act so silly, I don't want to live for thirty years.  Twenty is enough for me."  Again, man heard and asked for the extra ten years.

God gave the extra years to man, but told him that he would have to live those extra ten years just as the monkey would have lived them.

Man was happy with the extra years the creator gave to him.  He lived his life just as God said he would.  For the first thirty years of his life man is young and handsome.  He is strong and rules over all of God's creatures on the earth.  This is the time most men marry and have children of their own.

Then from thirty to fifty, man begins to worry about acquiring things.  He works like a donkey and feels like he can never collect enough of everything around him.  From fifty to seventy,  man lives more like a dog.  He guards the things he has collected.  He doesn't sleep as well and sees dangers all around him.  Sometimes, he barks at others without reason.  He feels insecure and unprotected.

From seventy to eighty, man's hands shake.  His legs bend.  His eyes cannot see well, and he cannot hear as well.  His mind begins to wear out and he begins to act silly, just like a monkey.  He sometimes even imitates others without knowing why.


Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs. The illustration at the top was created by Chung Yi-Ru - Copyright 2014, owned by Mike Lockett.  More stories and information about storytelling can be found at