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Musings: Lessons Learned From Stories…

13/03/2012

“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it”  James Matthew Barrie

Musings: Lessons Learned From Stories... The Milkmaid and Her Pail

The Milkmaid and Her Pail
Patty the Milkmaid was going to market carrying her milk in a Pail on her head. As she went along she began calculating what she would do with the money she would get for the milk. “I’ll buy some fowls from Farmer Brown,” said she, “and they will lay eggs each morning, which I will sell to the parson’s wife. With the money that I get from the sale of these eggs I’ll buy myself a new dimity frock and a chip hat; and when I go to market, won’t all the young men come up and speak to me! Polly Shaw will be that jealous; but I don’t care. I shall just look at her and toss my head like this. As she spoke she tossed her head back, the Pail fell off it, and all the milk was spilt. So she had to go home and tell her mother what had occurred. “Ah, my child,” said the mother, “Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.” Aesop’s Tales

Stories carry enormous power in that they help us learn important lessons that stay with us; they embed their precious message in our hearts and perhaps our psyche. I grew up reading and hearing stories and some of the best public speakers I ever met were great storytellers. Even in the business world, stories are used to elucidate a point, to make a sale, or,  as in the case of TED, to teach a nugget of wisdom by sharing “ideas worth spreading.”  Over and over again, I hear the line that everyone has a story to tell and I agree that even if we choose to not write our story, it is relevant, valid, and carries great weight. We teach each other through our stories and Aesop was a master storyteller. I’ll share a few here.

“Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story” Max Ehrmann

Musings: Lessons Learned From Stories... The Lion and The Fox...

The Ass’s Brains
The Lion and the Fox went hunting together. The Lion, on the advice of the Fox, sent a message to the Ass, proposing to make an alliance between their two families. The Ass came to the place of meeting, overjoyed at the prospect of a royal alliance. But when he came there the Lion simply pounced on the Ass, and said to the Fox: “Here is our dinner for to-day. Watch you here while I go and have a nap. Woe betide you if you touch my prey.” The Lion went away and the Fox waited; but finding that his master did not return, ventured to take out the brains of the Ass and ate them up. When the Lion came back he soon noticed the absence of the brains, and asked the Fox in a terrible voice: “What have you done with the brains?” “Brains, your Majesty! it had none, or it would never have fallen into your trap.” Wit has always an answer ready.  Aesop’s Tales

We can choose to share our stories with loved ones or with the world. However we choose to share our stories, there are always lessons learned from them; even from the simplest tales. Above and below, I have shared a few more short stories from the wise and supremely talented Aesop. Aesop’s Tales are known for both their briefness and the rich wisdom shared.

“Their story, yours and mine – it’s what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them.” Anon

Musings: Lessons Learned From Stories... Aesop in woodcut

The Hare With Many Friends
A Hare was very popular with the other beasts who all claimed to be her friends. But one day she heard the hounds approaching and hoped to escape them by the aid of her many Friends. So, she went to the horse, and asked him to carry her away from the hounds on his back. But he declined, stating that he had important work to do for his master. “He felt sure,” he said, “that all her other friends would come to her assistance.” She then applied to the bull, and hoped that he would repel the hounds with his horns. The bull replied: “I am very sorry, but I have an appointment with a lady; but I feel sure that our friend the goat will do what you want.” The goat, however, feared that his back might do her some harm if he took her upon it. The ram, he felt sure, was the proper friend to apply to. So she went to the ram and told him the case. The ram replied: “Another time, my dear friend. I do not like to interfere on the present occasion, as hounds have been known to eat sheep as well as hares.” The Hare then applied, as a last hope, to the calf, who regretted that he was unable to help her, as he did not like to take the responsibility upon himself, as so many older persons than himself had declined the task. By this time the hounds were quite near, and the Hare took to her heels and luckily escaped. He that has many friends, has no friends. Aesop’s Tales

We often read about celebrities with millions of fans, and many so called friends, who feel alone in their lives. We might also have tons of acquaintances in our lives that we wonder what they would do if our life circumstances changed. I remember as a child, my mom would say “It’s better to have one friend who will give you an arm than to have millions who won’t.” The Hare’s story above illustrates what could happen and offers a warning to the wise. Be careful of the company you keep. More below. ;-)

“The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Musings: Lessons Learned From Stories... Loving Lion

The Lion in Love
A Lion once fell in love with a beautiful maiden and proposed marriage to her parents. The old people did not know what to say. They did not like to give their daughter to the Lion, yet they did not wish to enrage the King of Beasts. At last the father said: “We feel highly honored by your Majesty’s proposal, but you see our daughter is a tender young thing, and we fear that in the vehemence of your affection you might possibly do her some injury. Might I venture to suggest that your Majesty should have your claws removed, and your teeth extracted, then we would gladly consider your proposal again.” The Lion was so much in love that he had his claws trimmed and his big teeth taken out. But when he came again to the parents of the young girl they simply laughed in his face, and bade him do his worst. Love can tame the wildest. Aesop’s Tales

Stories that convey pithy messages about love tend to be very popular because, at some point in our lives, we find ourselves at a crossroad; a bridge we must cross for the sake of love… I’ve always loved stories that share the courage and wit it takes to find and maintain love, so this one should be of interest to us as readers. What types of stories do you learn most from? Do you have any favorite Aesop’s Tales?

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

Musings: Lessons Learned From Stories... Bundles of wood logs

The Bundle of Sticks
An old man on the point of death summoned his sons around him to give them some parting advice. He ordered his servants to bring in a faggot of sticks, and said to his eldest son: “Break it.” The son strained and strained, but with all his efforts was unable to break the Bundle. The other sons also tried, but none of them was successful. “Untie the faggots,” said the father, “and each of you take a stick.” When they had done so, he called out to them: “Now, break,” and each stick was easily broken. “You see my meaning,” said their father. Union gives strength. Aesop’s Tales

Stories can unite us and help us build bonds and dreams. They can also be used to instruct us on life and its many ups and downs. I love the tale above as it teaches that there is strength in unity and in numbers. What about you? What are your thoughts? Where do you find your stories? What memories do you have of stories shared in your life? What type of stories do you enjoy? Do share! Thank you. :-)

Positive Motivation Tip:  Stories give us a way to not only share our thoughts, beliefs and family history, but also a way to learn lessons and grow… Share yours.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos  The Milkmaid, The Lion and Fox, Aesop Woodcut, Lion and cub, Wood bundles, via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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35 Comments leave one →
  1. 14/03/2012 12:07 am

    My fondest memories from my childhood revolve around stories. My father would tell us fables and stories asa we sat at the dinner table having dessert. I remember my mother reading novels to us around the fire. I now love to read to my grandchildren in hopes that storytelling will never pass away even in this plugged in generation.

  2. 14/03/2012 12:15 am

    I read the fables as a child and some like The Grasshopper and the Ant I had difficulty with even way back then! :)

  3. 14/03/2012 2:08 am

    I’ve never heard the one about the bundle of sticks before – but it is very true, particularly at this moment, when we should all be working together towards a better world! :)

  4. 14/03/2012 4:31 am

    I really need to go back and revisit the old tales so I can share them with my kids as we’re driving around. There’s so much wisdom to be gleaned from Aesop and company. thanks so much for this post!

  5. 14/03/2012 5:51 am

    “There is no greater agony
    than bearing an untold story
    inside you.” Maya Angelou

  6. 14/03/2012 5:56 am

    We are composed of stories – even if we don’t realise it.

  7. 14/03/2012 6:15 am

    I revel in stories! Can’t you tell :-)

  8. Bree permalink
    14/03/2012 7:36 am

    I love reading and sharing stories. It is the bane of my existence and my friends enjoy the exchange. I love the ones you offered above from Aeaop.
    B

  9. thirdhandart permalink
    14/03/2012 8:17 am

    I can remember reading two Aesop’s Tales when I was younger: The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Tortoise and the Hare. I don’t think I’ve ever read The Bundle of Sticks before, but it’s certainly a great tale with an important moral. The moral of my personal story is still being composed… I still have places to go, people to see and many lessons to learn. ;-)

  10. 14/03/2012 10:08 am

    I also enjoyed Aesop tales…and yes…everyone has a story.

  11. MindMindful permalink
    14/03/2012 10:24 am

    I am awarding you the Sunshine Award — yea you!! Here’s a link to my post, where you can learn about it & capture the badge for displaying on your blog http://wp.me/p1zocx-15u (Please let me know if you need help with the badge.) Please keep up your efforts:)

    • 14/03/2012 11:25 am

      Thank you so much dear one! I accept with delight. ;-)

  12. 14/03/2012 11:36 am

    You must be a wonderful storyteller Elizabeth. I can guarantee that one. What ever you wrote shows you have some wonderful stories to tell. All the quotes you wrote were new for me.
    “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story” Max Ehrmann- this one is my favorite. I will remember this one for a long time. Great post.

  13. 14/03/2012 12:00 pm

    Nice to remember these stories! Thanks for reminding the morals of the stories :D

  14. 14/03/2012 5:03 pm

    I love Aesop’s fables! Thanks for sharing these stories.

  15. 14/03/2012 6:49 pm

    I grew up on Aesop’s Fables… They always resonated and many of them I remember to this day. But I wonder how many children read them, these days.

  16. 14/03/2012 10:04 pm

    I think your point is well made by the fact that so many of us can point to our childhood memories of Aesop’s Fables. We have shared life lessons centered around the meaning we’ve attached to them. Story is powerful. I think I enjoy reading many blogs for that very reason. Every person has a story to tell. Debra

    • 14/03/2012 10:07 pm

      True, and we tell them in our own way which keeps our stories fresh. TY for your feedback. ;-)

  17. 15/03/2012 2:03 am

    I too, loved Aesop as a kid, and was thrilled when my middle son discovered the fables via the library at age 11. I’ll never forgot how excited i was to hear him talk animatedly about certain ones….definitely one of those “torch has been passed” moments. thank you. Eliz, for reminding me of all this!

  18. 15/03/2012 3:53 pm

    Stories (especially those with humor) are a wonderful way to impart wisdom.

  19. 15/03/2012 6:58 pm

    Love stories. Just the other day, one of my walking partners was talking about recalling sitting in the backyard on a moon lit night and trading stories with her siblings. It was fun trying to retell some of the stories we heard – one of the cultural ties that connects us as a people, as a nation.

  20. 16/03/2012 9:53 am

    Indeed the stories of others are our teachers, and it’s true that Love is the most dominant theme in any of them. I guess this is because love is uncontrollable and a ferocious enemy or friend. It is moody and very powerful. I like life-changing stories… :)

  21. 16/03/2012 6:42 pm

    I love the Lion and the Fox story. Sounds like the sort of answer one of our sons would come up with!

    I also like frizztext’s quotation – that about sums me up: why I am writing.

    • 16/03/2012 6:52 pm

      TY Robin, you are such a wonderful trooper with your dedication to commenting. I truly appreciate you as I know you are incredibly busy. Actually, he took the quote from my post… :lol:

      • 16/03/2012 6:54 pm

        :lol: I must have missed that one! I was engrossed in reading the comments and probably didn’t realise I’d read it twice!

      • 16/03/2012 7:01 pm

        It’s all good… I get the tactic you know and I’m okay with it. It helps elucidate a point when we copy what we read and add a smile or a word… As my kids would say, “mommy, what ev!” :lol:

      • 16/03/2012 7:14 pm

        Huh! I see now! I had to come back and check! Nothing like being a little OCD, sadly. *sigh*

        It was just above the logs, and the logs reminded me of my yard when I was a child, so I think I missed the quote there because I focussed on the logs!

      • 16/03/2012 7:44 pm

        love those logs! ;-)

  22. 17/03/2012 9:05 am

    My mom used to read us poems from a big book of poetry. My favorites were “Little Orphan Annie” (and it used to give me nightmares, but I still loved it!) and “Raggedy Man”.

  23. 17/03/2012 9:07 am

    Oh, and Uncle Remus! My mom did the old south Negro dialect so well. I read the stories to my son when he was little. He loved the tales of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and Brer Bear.

  24. Writerlious permalink
    17/03/2012 5:24 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog Eliz! Commenting properly now! lol. I love your blog –beautiful and inspirational. :)

    • 17/03/2012 7:22 pm

      Thank you for coming back. I truly appreciate it… I love your blog too! :-)

  25. 23/03/2012 10:29 am

    While I have read these stories and knew the morale of most by heart, I really appreciate your composite presentation here, to help us “bundle” our life lessons together, so that they are not easily broken!

  26. 09/04/2012 1:50 am

    love the fables…how about the fox and the sour grapes? He had SUCH an attitude!!

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