The wisdom of two tales

Wednesday, 22 January 2014
The wisdom of two tales

Pupils from Austin House led their recent Worth School Assembly by asking those present to reflect on the morals of two tales, The Story of Two Seeds and The Stonecutter.

Guided by their House Chaplain, Br Anthony, the day boys in Years 7 & 8 at Worth School chose the two stories because of the relevance of their messages to our lives today. Twelve of the pupils took it in turns to read the stories and invite those present to reflect on what might be learnt.

Amintha gave the introduction. “Most people enjoy a good story. You are about to hear two short stories that have a message about life. In the brief pause after each one, you may like to take a moment to consider what each says to you.”

The first of the stories, The Two Seeds, was then read by Oscar. “Two seeds lay side by side in the fertile soil. The first seed said, ‘I want to grow! I want to send my roots deep into the soil beneath me, and thrust my sprouts through the earth’s crust above me… I want to unfurl my tender buds like banners to announce the arrival of spring… I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the blessing of the morning dew on my petals!’

“And so the plant seed grew…”

Archie continued:The second seed said, ‘Hmm. If I send my roots into the ground below, I don’t know what I will encounter in the dark. If I push my way through the hard soil above me I may damage my delicate sprouts… what if I let my buds open and a snail tries to eat them? And if I were to open my blossoms, a small child may pull me from the ground. No, it is much better for me to wait until it is safe.’

“And so the seed waited… A yard hen scratching around in the early spring ground for food found the waiting seed and promptly ate it.

“What would you say is the moral of this story?”

Pause

Freddy S gave some of the thoughts from the Austin boys:Here are the thoughts of some of us in Austin. The moral of the story could be:

  • Don’t be paranoid.
  • Live life to the full.
  • Be brave and adventurous.
  • If you are patient then it will pay off.
  • Have courage.

The second story The Stonecutter was read by Anselm. “There was once a stonecutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life. One day, he passed a wealthy merchant’s house and through the open gateway saw many fine possessions and important visitors. How powerful that merchant must be, thought the stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that he could be like the merchant. Then he would no longer have to live the life of a mere stonecutter.

Freddie P: “To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of; envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. But soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants, and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. How powerful that official is, he thought. I wish that I could be a high official!”

Ben: “Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around, who had to bow down before him as he passed. It was a hot summer day, and the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. How powerful the sun is, he thought. I wish that I could be the sun!

Owen: “Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and labourers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. How powerful that storm cloud is, he thought. I wish that I could be a cloud!”

Egor: “Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. How powerful it is, he thought. I wish that I could be the wind!”

Amintha: “Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge, towering stone. How powerful that stone is, he thought. I wish that I could be a stone!”

Anselm: “Then he became the stone, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the solid rock and felt himself being changed. What could be more powerful than I, the stone? he thought. He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter.

“What does this story say to you?”

Pause

Freddy S concluded with some more thoughts from the Austin boys:

  • Try not to be envious
  • Don’t wish for more than you need
  • Don’t doubt yourself
  • Take chances
  • Enjoy what you have
  • We can go through different stages in life
  • Trust yourself
  • Love what you are.

For more information on Worth School, this video provides an introduction to the School.

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