The three sieves of Socrates
One day, the old wise Socrates walks down the streets, when suddenly a man runs up to him saying breathlessly “Socrates I have to tell you something about your friend who…”
“Wait a moment,” Socrates interrupts him “Before telling me anything, tell me, did you put the story trough the three sieves?”
“Three sieves?” the man asks “What does that mean?”
“Let’s try it,” Socrates says.
“The first sieve is the one of truth: Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” Socrates asks.
“Well no, I just overheard it,” the man says.
“Ah, well then have you used the second sieve, the sieve of goodness?” Socrates asks “Is it something good what you’re about to tell me?”
“Ehm no, on the contrary,” the man answers.
“Hmmm,” The wise man says “Let’s use the third sieve then – the sieve of usefulness. Is it useful to tell me what you’re so exited about?”
“No not really,” the man says.
“Well” Socrates says with a smile “If the story you’re about to tell me isn’t true, good or useful, just forget it and don’t bother me with it.”
Socrates was a wise man, don’t you think so?