Slav Folk Tale

A Slav folk tale tells the story of men who once visited a holy man to ask his advice. “We have done wrong actions,” they said, “and our consciences are troubled. What must we do to be forgiven?”
“Tell me of your wrong doings my sons,” said the old man.
The first man said, “I committed a great and grevious sin.”
“I have done a number of wrong things,” said the second man, “but they are all quite small, and not at all important.”
“Go,” said the holy man, “and bring me a stone for each misdeed.”
The first man staggered back with an enormous boulder. The second cheerfully brought a bag of small pebbles.
“Now,” said the holy man, “go and put them back where you found them.”
The first man shouldered his great rock again, and staggered back to the place from which he had brought it. But the second man could only remember where a very few of his pebbles had lain. He came back saying that the task was too difficult.
“Sins are like those stones,” said the old man. “If a man has committed a great sin, it lies like a heavy stone on his conscience; yet if he is truly sorry, he is forgiven and the load of guilt is taken away. But if a man is constantly doing small things that he knows to be wrong, he does not feel any great load of guilt, and so he is not sorry, and remains a sinner. Do you see, my sons, it is as important to avoid little sins as big ones.”
1500 Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching – Pub Marshall Pickering