(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure
to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material
is not in the public domain)
What about Jack & the Animals
(Appalachian version of Musicians of Bremen,
etc.)? Jack could be setting out to Nashville or Hollywood (?)
seeking fame in the music business, but softheartedly picks up
the superannuated animals along the way, etc etc.
2) I thought I'd look in my 5 Brian Cavanaugh books of Sower's
Seeds, etc. There is an Index. Hooray! I found loads of
good ones. This is a valuable aid to have at home in a library.
they're short, pithy, the index is invaluable and in a short time
I called her back all excited saying, I'll loan you the books,
read through to see WHICH ONES you want to use. I am very happy
to pass on this treasure of information.If you've never heard
of them they're much shorter than Chicken
Soup stories, but I like them. I bought them at the National
Festival.Whether NSN has them I don't know. Every two years he
has another edition. Sower's Seeds of Encouragement,The
Fifth Planting is 1998 but I think I saw a 6th at the festival.
100 stories of Hope, Humor and Healing
Paulist Press, $7.95 ISBN 0-8091-3811-5. Hope this helps.World,
My Son Starts School Today is by Abraham Lincoln to his
son but it's full of relevant advice. Happy Reading.
3) For my graduation from library school a couple of years ago,
I told a variant of God's Store (from
the Chicken Soup books, I think)
in which the dreamer visits Heavenly University Bookstore and
finds items labeled World Peace, Sufficient Food for All, Warm
Clothing, etc. Of course, she fills her cart up with these wonderful
things. When she arrives at the checkstand, God is behind the
cash register. The dreamer asks about her purchases--does she
need new equipment to run them, will her library's computer system
be able to integrate them, etc. God informs her that at the Heavenly
University Bookstore they do not stock the actual *items*-- merely
4) An oldie but a goodie - after Theseus had met the greatest
challenge of all, and defeated the Minotaur, becoming the hero
of his people - well, then he went home to Athens and had to learn
how to be a king. (I use Theseus a lot as an answer to storytelling-is-not-
just-for-children- in -fact-for-thousands-of -years etc) In fact,
if you look at quite a few myths, you'll find that meeting one
challenge just means you're able to meet the next one - Jason,
Oedipus, Beowulf etc. See also Hero With
A Thousand Faces and Uses of Enchantment.
5) I went to my "stories for the MAP test" file for this one, then thought perhaps I should attach them all . .. so I shall.
Before the writing portion -- you are creating for yourself --
A great and wise man once called one of his workmen to him saying, "Go into the far country and build for me a house. The decisions of planning and of actual construction will be yours, but remember, I shall come to accept your work for a very special friend of mine."
And so the workman departed with a light heart for his field oflabor. Material of all kinds was plentiful here, but the workman had a mind of his own. "Surely," he thought, "I know my business. I can use a bit of inferior materials here and cheat on my workmanship a little there, and still make the finished work look good. Only I will know that what I have built has weaknesses." And so, at last the work was completed and the workman reported back to the great and wise man. "Very good," he said. "Now remember that I wanted you to use only the finest materials and craftsmanship in this house because I wanted to make present of it? My friend, you are the one I had you build it for. It is all yours." (one of my usually troublesome young ladies figured out the end halfway through and was proud to supply the moral at the end -- she also wrote a very good essay that day). "Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world, and beyond its world a heaven."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
From Mary H.:
I know some of you teach high school students. Is there anything you think they especially need to hear as they leave high school?
Week before --
Debate in Sign Language -- I used Syd Lieberman’s telling on video. Trying to interpret the language of the test, and making the best guess you can.
A story/joke I learned long ago at Prudential (for a time the story I told when my husband said “tell your clean joke”), about a hunter who missed a short-range shot at a lion, which fortunately leapt too far and missed him. the next day he went out to practice short-range shooting, heard a noise in the brush, peeked through and saw the Lion -- practicing short-range leaping. (We had a fire drill in the middle of one telling, saw a drama student with cat make-up outside and borrowed her for the finish. Since she was on crutches, it also gave her a chance to rest before going back downstairs).
W worry bundles -- my own version, incorporating bits of “St. Louis Blues” into it.
First day of testing -- try to savor some of the good things as you read
(a student interpreted it as “we’re going to die” but they didn’t.
Before the Terra-Nova Section -- work carefully
A parallel is the Jukha story where he is taking 10 mules to sell, rides on one and forgets to count it. he runs back to find the missing one, and recounts when he returns to find them all. repeated several times til a bystander says there are 11 mules, counting Jukha.
Pick up rocks -- become jewels
There is a story I remember from high school Spanish class -- the story of
the broken fan. Several young ladies are discussing why each should be the
one chosen by the prince -- one has beautiful gown, another gives orders to
servants well. One very quiet girl spoke kindly to the servant who had just
broken her favorite fan -- the prince chose her to be his bride, since above
all, the future queen should be kind. I often choose girls from the
audience to help act it out (our Robin especially loves to do it), and I
have a broken fan and a good one to use as props, though not necessary.
Bundle of Sticks
Please do report back -- and if you are feeling pulled in too many
directions, remember the boy, the man, and the donkey -- you can't please
everyone, so listen to yourself.
[A Short Story by Leo Tolstoy
"Live in the present." There's a timeworn phrase, if there ever was one. Luckily, Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian writer, puts a fresh spin on what, exactly, that cliche means. In the following short story, Tolstoy, a master of the genre, takes three simple questions - When? Who? What? - and shows how our lives may depend on our answers.]
It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid, and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake. And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do. And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently.
In reply to the first question, some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance, a table of days, months and years, and must live strictly according to it. Only thus, said they, could everything be done at its proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action; but that, not letting oneself be absorbed in idle pastimes, one should always attend to all that was going on, and then do what was most needful. Others, again, said that however attentive the King might be to what was going on, it was impossible for one man to decide correctly the right time for every action, but that he should have a Council of wise men, who would help him to fix the proper time for everything.
But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a Council, but about which one had at once to decide whether to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that, one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that; and, therefore, in order to know the right time for every action, one must consult magicians.
Equally various were the answers to the second question. Some said, the people the King most needed were his councillors; others, the priests; others, the doctors; while some said the warriors were the most necessary. To the third question, as to what was the most important occupation: some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare; and others, again, that it was religious worship. All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom. The hermit lived in a wood which he never quitted, and he received none but common folk. So the King put on simple clothes, and before reaching the hermit's cell dismounted from his horse, and, leaving his bodyguard behind, went on alone.
When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the King, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily. The King went up to him and said: "I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important and need my first attention?" The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging. "You are tired," said the King, "let me take the spade and work awhile for you."
"Thanks!" said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground.
When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said: "Now rest awhile - and let me work a bit."
But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said: "I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home."
"Here comes some one running," said the hermit, "let us see who it is."
The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing, and the King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and rebandaged the wound. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him.
Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep - so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.
"Forgive me!" said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him.
"I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for," said the King.
"You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!"
The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property.
Having taken leave of the wounded man, the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before. The King approached him, and said: "For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man."
"You have already been answered!" said the hermit still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him.
"How answered? What do you mean?" asked the King.
"Do you not see?" replied the hermit. "If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. Remember then: there is only one time that is important - Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!" http://www.bruderhof.com/articles/ThreeQuestions.htm
Take a moment or two and take these two short quizes. You won't need a pencil or paper. Just follow along in your mind...
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last four Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name five people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last four people who have won Oscars for Best Actor and Actress.
6. Name three people who have held the office of Secretary of State.
7. Name the whistleblowers who were selected as Time's Persons of the Year.
8. Name the past four teams who have won the World Series.
1. List the three teachers who made the biggest impact on your life.
2. Name a friend who has stood by you through thick or thin.
3. Name someone you can count on to help you in an emergency.
4. Name four friends or acqaintances who can make you smile or laugh.
5. If you ever owned a pet, which one was your favorite, and how did that pet make you feel?
6. Name one person who has made you feel appreciated.
7. Do you have chlidren? If so, what is a quality they possess that makes you proud to be a parent.
8. Name the relatives who have made sacrifices for you.
Obviously, Quiz #1 was much more difficult than Quiz #2. Why? Because after the applause fades for the rich and famous, their achievements are relegated to the almanacs and history books. However, you'll come to find out that even though some people may not have any money and may never get their name in the newspaper, they are the people who make the biggest difference in your life. No, the "important" people in this world haven't won any awards or accolades. Most of the time they lead very simple lives. Their work is unnoticed and taken for granted. But by helping and being of service to their neighbors, students, friends and loved ones, they have made us feel special. They inspire us to do the same. They may not be rich or famous, but they are more important to us than all the celebrities in the world.
7) I told a very short story at my 30th high school reunion last year, and people really enjoyed it. It was really a joke, I guess, which I embellished a bit. I got it from a friend who said he got it off the internet, so it may have made the rounds some. Here it is:
Sarah took great care of herself, and was very proud of her youthful appearance. She did yoga, she walked thirty minutes three times a week, she was a vegetarian, she took all the anti-aging supplements: CoQ10, Gingko Biloba, Melatonin, DHEA, HGH--you name it, she took it. She spent half an hour every morning and evening doing face lift exercises and caring for her skin and hair. Sometimes she would look at people who were her age, or even younger, and think, "Oh my, look at how OLD she looks! She's really let herself go. Tsk tsk tsk."
One day she received a letter from her dentist informing her of his retirement, and that another dentist would be taking his patient records, if she wished to go to him. The name of the new dentist sounded vaguely familiar--she thought she remembered a member of her high school class with that name. She made an appointment with the new dentist, thinking to ask him if he had graduated the same year she did.
When she was sitting in the dentist's chair waiting for him to come in to check her teeth, she noticed his diplomas on the wall. He had graduated from dental college in a year that would place his high school graduation close to hers--"Maybe this is the same person," she thought.
The dentist came in, and she looked at him. He looked OLD! He couldn't possibly be the one who graduated in her class! Still, she thought she would ask anyway.
"What year did you graduate from high school?" she asked him.
"In 1964," he said.
"Oh! What high school did you attend?"
"Joplin High School--why?"
"Well, you were in my class!!!" she exclaimed, delightedly.
The dentist peered at her closely, trying to remember. Then he said, "Really? What did you teach?"
web page updated 4/4/05)