Everything Else

In a land in our time there lived a man, who read a book and found lots of wonderful stories therein. There were true and invented stories, experienced and pensive, enjoyable and painful stories. There were stories which contained stories, and such which were actually not stories. For every story he read, there occurred to him nearly five which he had either experienced or thought up himself. So the thought came to him, that a lot in the world was a story which could be healing for himself and others; he only needed to absorb the healing stories well and to forget the terrible ones immediately. Then he would learn which story he had used when and for what. So he organised his own stories which he knew, and which had become a help to himself and others, or could become so. Sometimes he noted it down when a new story came to his ears and sometimes when a helpful story occurred to him, he memorised it.

Then he saw before him in a picture the storystories of this life arranged in long shelves, as in a large pharmacy. And behind the counter there sat a man who had learnt to listen to himself and others. He was a master of his subjectspecialty. His talent was that he understood how to tell the right thing at the right time to himself and to those who visited him.


“What is this huge, disgusting wart on my thumb?” He was three years old when he said this to his mother. For days already he had looked at the round, orange-coloured bulge, and couldn’t stop thinking about it. “That is a blister. It comes from sucking your thumb.” “And if I stop, will it go away again?” “Yes”. On this day he made a holy vow. It was his first adult decision.

The Caring Folk

“I’m full”, I said. “But there’s always room for a slice of cake”, they replied. “I don’t want any”, I said. “But it tastes good”, they explained. “I need to lose weight”, I said. “But you don’t need to”, they said. “My doctor said I have a fatty liver”, I said. “We know someone with a fatty liver who lived to be over 90”, they responded. “No thank you, but could I have another cup of coffee?” I asked. “With milk, please”. Then they gave me coffee with milk and left me in peace. Since then, I only use these few words.

The guests told these and also some other stories to the king on the seventh day. When the sun’s rays had sunk in the west and the last storyteller of the day had finished his tale, the king scratched his head. “How can these stories be of use to us?” he asked out loud. “Possibly not at all”, murmured a scribe quietly. “Unless he who hears them now gets up and crosses the bridge.”

Margaret and Lucy

There once lived two lizards in a little gap between the stones of a wall. Their names were Margaret and Lucy. Lucy lay on the wall all day sunbathing. Margaret spent most of her time hunting insects for herself and her children. She felt annoyed when she saw Lucy on the wall. “How you are wasting your time! If you were a decent lizard, you would be taking care of your children. What on earth are you doing up there all day long?” Lucy’s eyes twinkled and she said: “I am collecting energy. You see, I am doing something for my children.” “I see it differently”, Margaret grumbled. “And besides, I will not be surprised if one day some buzzard or falcon snatches you from that wall.” “We will see”, Lucy responded, and stretched out in the sun. Margaret preferred to spend her time chasing ants. She appeared exhausted in recent days. Sometimes her life was endangered: She lacked the agility necessary to escape a weasel or a cat. Lucy’s children, however, became strong and quick, like herself. They soon caught the largest spiders, the quickest running beetles, and even huge dragonflies. But their favourite pastime was to lie on the wall and to stretch out in the sunshine.