When the farmer plants the tomato seed in the ground he knows that the plant started growingalthough he can’t see any physical evidence of it. He doesn’t stamp his feet in anger on the freshly ploughed soil for the plants to show themselves. Instead he waits for the laws of the universe to work their natural magic so the small seed, with time, can become what the farmer needs it to be.
Before Alexander the Great died he instructed his ministers that his hand be placed over the rail of his coffin to be seen by allwhen he is moved to his grave. “But why?” asked the ministers. “What is this folly? This is not traditional! This doesn’t apply to our customs. Why this bizarre wish? Why should welet your hand hang out from the coffin?” Alexander answered: “Because I want to show the people that even I, Alexander the Great,depart this world with empty hands. I take nothing with me. My whole life was filled with useless hoarding. I have worked hard…” And indeed he did, he made great efforts to become someone. He was mad about power, he wanted to rule the world and succeeded more or less, as he truly ruled over what was known of the world at his time… But even he said “I die and I can’ttake anything with me and so all my efforts were futile. Let the people know. Let them realise and understand my foolishness, my stupidity. Maybe that will help them to understand their own life.
“Come, lets lie down in the grass,” Raphaela called the children. “Imagine a splendid palace in the middle of a green meadow dappled with lovelyflowers and a happy royal couple who live inside. One day a prince is born to them. The baby princeeats well, is healthy, he never cries: all in all he is a cheerful baby. The royal couple couldn’t be happier. Peace and harmony rule over their kingdom, the people don’t suffer any need and are satisfied with their lives. The baby prince grows into a little boy. He starts to attend the royal kindergarten…
“Alone?” blurted Joe.
“Of course not alone. The king and the queenallowit for other children to attend the kindergarten too,” continued Raphaela. “So in the kindergarten everything goes well. The little prince can draw and paint very well and he is matchless in making clay figurines.
“Easy for him. His parents are nice who never shout at him,” said Ged.
“No, they don’t,” answered Raphaela. “They are great parents and they love him very much.”
“What is his name?” askedRela curiously.
“Terrible,” moaned the little girl. “Couldn’t it be, like, Edward or something?”
“So, Edward is a great lad. And soon he will start school. He does well at school too. He is very quick to learn reading, writing and he knows his numbers well too.
“Is he perfect, or what?” asked Sam indignantly.
“Yes, why?” Raphaela feigned ignorance, but the children didn’t buy it. They already sensed that there was some sort of reason to her story.
“Continue!” said Rela.
“So, he is very smart,” obeyed her request Raphaela. “When he enters higher education, he of course chooses kingcraft major. Which is rather obvious, as later he will rule the kingdom.”
“How many attend that major?” Nohrwas starting to get suspicious.
“Well, he attends that alone. There is no other king around. But he can spend the afternoons with his friends. Because he has a lot of friends, and they love him well.”
“Small wonder,” said Joe. “But they only love him because he will be king. It’s good to be friends with a king.”
“You are wrong. They are true friends. They remain by his side till the end of his days,” corrected him Raphaela. “When he finishes school with perfect results, he decides to get married. And to his luck he chances upon a beautiful girl during a walk at the riverbank.”
“What’s her name?” asked Rela.
“All right,” the little girl allowed.
“But before the wedding, it turns out that the beautiful girl is the daughter of the neighbouring king and she is very rich too.”
“Shut up!” snapped Sam.
“Her parents don’t shoutat her either?” asked Ged.
“No. She has a warm, loving family too. They live together in great peace. Edward ascends to the throne, then they marry and are very happy together. Soon his wife bears a little prince.”
Rela remained silent. She didn’t ask about the name of the baby prince. (…)
“Actually they have four children, two daughters and two sons,” said Raphaela with unmovable calm.
“At least they won’tget bored at the king-school,” smiledNohr.
“They certainly won’t. They have a very good time there.”
“Aren’t they competing for the throne? Only the cleverest should rule next!” Ged was hinting at the usual conflict that arises in tales.
“No,” Raphaela blinked at him innocently. “Absolutely not. They are good siblings to each other. The royal family is very happy with their clever and beautiful and healthy children. Anyway, the whole country is very satisfied with their great king. So they grow old in peace, watching their children grow up and find love and they are all happy,” ended Raphaela the tale.
Frozen silencesettled among the children.
“This is how it ends?” asked Rela suspiciously.
“Yes,” said the story-teller, satisfied.
“And the dragon?” asked Joe incredulously.
“What dragon?” asked back Raphaela innocuously.
“The dragon they should have fought with!” explained Joe.
“There is no dragon.”
“But nothing happened in this story!”said Sam angrily.
“Why do you say that? A lot of beautiful things happened. Everything you could ever want. Nice family, richness. There is no shouting, no conflict. A totally uneventful life without any hurdles. A tale where everything is perfect.”
Strange silence ensued.
“See, how boring it would be if there was no difficulty in your lives? You’d get bored. There would be no challenges that could reveal what you’re capable of. You wouldn’t improve and wouldn’t make progresses. Your lives would be useless and utterly without reason or aim. It isn’t happiness that you learn from, but the hard, pressing situations. Difficulty is what makes you discover how much strength you actually have.This is how you learn about yourselves. This is why you should never run away from hardships, even if you know they will cause pain. Do not be afraid!”
Lauren decided that she would be the new story-teller to try and distract Arthur’s thoughts a bit. She asked him to imagine that he won a competition and as the winner the bank opens a new account of 86400$ for him every morning. But as every game this has also its rules, and two at that. The first rule is that all the money you don’t spend during the day will be taken back from you at the end of the day. Cheating is not allowed, you can’t transfer the money to a different account. You can only spend it. The next day the bank opens another account with 86400$ anyway. The second rule is that the bank has the right to end the game anytime, without any warning they may close the account, and that was it.
Question is, what would you do in this situation? Arthur was not completely sure he understood the meaning.
“It’s quite simple, really. Every morning as you wake up, you receive 86400$ with the only condition that the amount you didn’t spend that day will be taken back as you are getting ready for bed at night. But this heavenly blessing or game, as you will, can be ended by the bank any time. Do you understand it now? So what would you do with a gift like this?”
Without thinking Arthur said that he would spend every single dollar on his passions and on a lot of presents for those he loves. In other words he would use every cent from the magic-bank to make himself and those around him happy. “I would even try to make strangers happy, because I couldn’t spend all the 86400$ on myself and my friends. But where are you going with this?”
Lauren said: “This magic-bank is available to all of us. It is calledTime. The cornucopia of passing seconds! Every morning when we wake up we receive 86400 seconds of life for that day, but when we fall asleep we cannot take the remaining to the next. Yesterday is over and the seconds that we haven’t lived to the fullness are irrevocably gone. The magic starts anew every morning. We get 86400 seconds of life again. But the rules cannot be thwarted: the bank can erase our account at any time without warning. Life can end at any moment. The question is: what will we do with our 86400 seconds?”
“Don’t you think that the seconds of life are more important than dollars?”