Jack, the Village Fool
Since I first read this tale in "The Story Factor", a great book written by Annette Simmons, I often include it in my public speaking. Let me share it with you.
Once upon a time there was a tiny village cursed by a ferocious monster who blocked the only road leading in and out of the village. Many courageous knights set out to fight the monster but no matter which weapon they chose, the monster with his magical powers would match this weapon with more than double the power.
The first knight, who brandished a club of wood, was flattened by a club twice its size. A second knight tried to burn the monster with fire and was sizzled to a crisp when the monster blew a fire twice as hot back at him. A third knight wielded a sword of steel. He was sliced in half by the monster's magical sword twice as sharp and twice as long.
The fate of these three knights discouraged any further attempts and the people in the village learned to live with their limitations.
One day, Jack, the village fool, announced that he had a new idea to vanquish the monster. Most people laughed at Jack. Only the curious and the courageous marched out with him, helping him carry food and water to the place where the monster blocked the road.
The monster roared, stretched to his full height, and glared at Jack. The onlookers gasped when Jack grabbed an apple and walked right up to the monster. "Are you hungry?" Jack asked. The monster's eyes narrowed to slits and he sniffed the apple. When his massive jaw opened wide; one of the ladies fainted dead away before the monster delicately took the apple from Jack's quivering hand. The monster raised his fist high and brought it down in front of the amazed crowd. Bam! Opening his fist they saw two apples, juicier and redder than the one he had eaten.
In the same way a clay urn of water was replaced with two golden urns filled with water, sweeter and clearer than the first. The people ran to tell the others in the village of this miracle. When they returned Jack smiled and the monster smiled back with enough warmth to convince even the most cynical of the villagers that this monster was now a blessing to the village rather than a curse.
The reasons I like this story so much are various: it reminds me of the power of creativity when you allow your mind to be free from the frames you build over the years; it confirms that kindness is a very powerful tool able to modify even the worst attitudes and habits; and that the individual is of first importance, not the system.
According to Krishnamurti, systems are transformed when there is a fundamental change in ourselves. And only the full understanding of this process can bring order or peace to the world. And you, dear reader, do you like the story? Wish to share your thoughts with me? I would like to hear your thoughts. Just click on "contact " and write me. Thank you.