Two short inspirational stories are "The Elephant Rope" and "Shake it Off." Both these stories reveal the value of resourcefulness and determination, and they each contain a large amount of inspiration and encouragement despite their brevity.
"The Elephant Rope," written by an unknown author, tells the story of a group of elephants encircled by a rope. A man passes by them and observes that even though the rope is low to the ground, the large animals remain enclosed within its boundaries. He asks the elephant trainer why these powerful animals do not attempt to break free from their enclosure, and the trainer explains that he places a rope around the elephants when they are very young. Because the animals grow up with this boundary, they assume that it is unbreakable, and therefore they never attempt to escape. This story implies that, similar to the elephants, we possess the ability to triumph over many of the obstacles that hold us back, even if we are not always aware of our power over them.
Although the author of "Shake it Off" also remains unknown, the story provides an equally inspirational message about triumph over adversity. The story tells the tale of a farmer whose donkey falls into a deep pit. When the farmer is unable to extract the animal, he decides to bury it. He begins to throw dirt on the donkey, but after each shovelful the donkey shakes the gravel off of its back and begins to climb out of the hole. Eventually, the farmer throws enough dirt into the pit for the donkey to be able to escape completely. The donkey's perseverance reveals the importance of determination and optimism in the face of life's challenges, and provides a meaningful lesson to anyone who currently faces difficult times.