Once there was a little ghost, who felt so down and out that it could not even find any pleasure in haunting its tiny world. The days seemed to be like huge impassable mountains and even the tiniest movement was too much for it. It felt so run down that a gust of wind was able to grab it and sweep it into a washing trough, where linen was being soaked. Too wet, too heavy in body and mind and too tired the little ghost sighed and sank to the bottom of the trough.
Now because it looked exactly like a linen, the washer women took it through the whole procedure of wringing and mangling and put it on the clothesline in the end. There it was, hanging down from the line, flabby and damp and drifting feebly in the summer breeze.
The more it dried, the more effortlessly it flapped around on the clothesline but in its sad and doleful condition it could not feel or sense its lightness. But then a little girl walked by, stopped and looked at it for a while. Then, with a yearning in her voice, she said, “Oh, if I were able to fly so easily in the wind, I would laugh and sing and enjoy my day”. She went off but the little ghost looked after her for a long time and thought, “Oh, you would, would you?” and started to move just a tiny little bit on its own.
In a professional forum a colleague asked, if anybody knew of a certain therapeutical story. He remembered one that he once heard and thought that it was from a famous storyteller. Until then I never had actually written in this forum but now I wrote on behalf of this colleague’s question that I thought it was the famous story about a tiger. I was quite happy that I was able to contribute something at last until I read the response of another colleague. “I don’t know anything about a tiger”, he wrote, “but I guess you may have thought about the famous lion story”. I instantly sank into a hole three miles deep, full of shame and embarrassment. Now wasn’t that just typical of me and my incomplete knowledge? Shortly afterward I told a friend of mine what had happened, still very ashamed. But he hugged me and said “But you gave that wrong information with much love and enthusiasm”. I looked at him and began to work my way out of that hole.
This is a story by my colleague and friend Katharina Lamprecht from Bruchköbel near Frankfurt, Germany…
One day an old Sufi master came through a little village, where just previously a big blast had occurred. In the middle of the village square was a huge hole in the ground and stones and lumps of mud and earth scattered everywhere. „Master“, the people cried, “look at the disaster that happened to us. The center of our village, our village´s pride and joy, is destroyed. What shall we do? Please, advise us.” „Dig“, the old man answered. „Dig? But there is already such a big hole. Wouldn´t it be better to fill it up“?
“If you have to overcome an obstacle, there are different ways to do so. You can either ignore it, remove it or use it. You never know if there is a treasure hidden”. Pondering these words, the people began to dig slowly, deeper and deeper until they hit upon a natural spring of pure sweet, delicious water which in time brought trees and flowers to their village square.
Quand un enfant indien arrive au monde il reçoit un nom de ses parents. Ce nom n’est que provisoire, c’est-à-dire il peut changer ou être complété par un autre nom. De la part du sorcier de la tribu l’enfant reçoit en outre un nom secret qui est son vrai et propre nom et connu seulement de lui. Personne ne peut toucher à ce nom. Personne ne peut en faire un mauvais usage. Son vrai nom n’appartient qu’à lui. L’enfant indien reçoit aussi une pierre de la part du chamane. Si le sorcier meurt avant que l’enfant ait appris son nom de sa part, le jeune indien se retire à un endroit désert. Il reste à cet endroit jusqu’à ce que la pierre lui dévoile par un rêve ou une autre révélation son vrai nom. Dans beaucoup de ces pierres il y a des druses, ce sont des cavités avec des pierres précieuses. Dans d’autres il y a de l’or, et dans toutes il y a un enchantement curatif et la force du nom clandestin.
Pour cette histoire (l’une d’avant-hier) j’ai aussi la traduction Française…
La tempête a fait son œuvre. Dans la forêt il y a des arbres dans tous les sens. Ses troncs encombrent les chemins et les routes. Aucun voyageur ne peut y avancer. Mais une fois que la tempête est passée, le temps pour les ouvriers forestiers est arrivé. Ils dégagent les chemins avec leurs scies, enlèvent les barrières et libèrent toutes les routes, du bord extrême de la forêt jusqu’à son intime intérieur.
En la rendija de un muro vivían dos lagartijas, Margarita y Lucía. Lucía estaba todo el día echada en el muro tomando sol. Margarita pasaba la mayoría del tiempo buscando insectos para sí misma y para sus hijos. Cuando veía a Lucía echada en el muro, se enfadaba.
“¡Tú cómo gastas el tiempo! Si fueras lagartija decente, por fin te preocuparías del bienestar de tus hijos. ¿Qué es lo que haces todo el día allí arriba?” Lucía pestañó y dijo: “Recupero energía. De esta manera sí que hago algo para mis hijos.”
“Lo veo diferente”, gruñó Margarita. “Y un día te llevará el águila ratonera o el halcón.”
“Esperemos a ver qué pasa”, opinó Lucía y se desperezó en el sol. Margarita prefiría buscar presa en la sombra de los arbustos bajos. Pasaba mucho tiempo cazando hormigas. A menudo parecía cansada. Su vida estaba cada día más amenazada: Ya no tenía nada que contraponer a la rapidez de los gatos y a la de las comadrejas.
Los hijos de Lucía se volvieron fuertes y despabilados, todo como ella misma. Pronto empezaron cogiendo las arañas más gordas, los cárabos más rápidos y aun grandes libélulas. Pero lo que les gustaba lo más era echarse en el muro al lado de su madre y estirarse a la luz del sol.
There’s a picture book for refugee children who suffered war trauma, written by my colleague Susanne Stein. It is available in German, English, Farsi (below right) and Arabic (above right). Next to a story which parents can read to their children in order to explain the experience and effects of trauma in a childlike way the book contains many helpful little tools how parents and helpers who are not themselves theapists can help the children who have witnessed and suffered violence. I find this book very, very useful, Therefore, I would like to share it with you. You will find the downloads below. Please don’t miss to visit the Website of Susanne Stein!
After a while of pausing I would like to continue with some stories…
However, I would like to change the format a little bit and take turns between different languages. So, in addition to therapeutic stories in English there will be some in French and Spanish, as well. But, first of all, let’s continue in English . Here’s one which I have personwitnessed in our local hospital.
“Good morning. My name is … ” he began his speech. “She can’t speak,” explained the nurse. “Stroke… ” The helpless gestures of the young lady patient let him know that she did not understand his words, except for a few, for which he managed to coax from her a nod or a shake of the head. How can you still communicate with such a person? With gestures he painted in the air a steep staircase for her with high steps. But alas he sighed “Too steep!” He shook his head in disappointment. Then he drew with his hands a staircase with long low steps. With his fingers, he went along the whole staircase.
The woman looked attentively and nodded. With his hands he painted a high mountain in the air. A man of two fingers wanted to climb it. But he fell again. Then he found a path with a gradual slope, a zigzag, with many turns. He went this way. The woman’s eyes began to shine. And so the pantomime took its course. “Keep your eye on the goal” and “passion” followed as the next images. The movements of a marathon runner and an upwardly clenched fist; they inspired to perseverance and a fighting spirit.
The turning hands of a clock showed that it would take time. He continued the charade with his hands together on the side of his inclined head. “Sleep” and “wake”, “sleep” and “wake”, and many many times they would have to “sleep ” and “wake” until they would be at the peak, which he kept looking upwards at with his eyes and pointing to with his outstretched forefinger. With hands and feet, with his whole body, he portrayed the picture of how her children would hook into her left elbow, and her parents the right and how they would all go together with her, all the way.
Once again he stretched out his fist to the sky. She would have to fight for all she was worth. Three days later, he again visited the woman. “You know,” said the lady in the bed next to her, “she has been here for four weeks and nothing really happened but in the last three days she has made amazing progress”. He spoke with the patient again and this time she understood every sentence. Then he took his leave. “Goodbye” she said. It was her first recovered word.