The Replanted Tree

The story “The Replanted Tree” is designed in particular for children finding
it hard to come to terms with a new living situation after a house move
or adoption, or after their parents have divorced and the family has been
restructured. Once again, it is a good idea to refer to a minor injury in the
story in order to incorporate the problem which the listener is facing and its
predicted improvement without lending too much gravity to the story (and by
analogy to the way in which the patient handles the associated situation in his
or her life). The story can also be used for patients who are forced – for agerelated
or health- related reasons – to move out of their own house in order to
go and live with family or in a home, or adults with disabilities who are forced
to move away from their families and into sheltered accommodation.

One day a gardener was working in his garden when he found a small tree
right in the middle of some shady undergrowth. “A shadbush!” he cried.
“How on earth did that get here?” He would never have suspected that
such a beautiful and valuable tree could be found in such a dark location.
Perhaps the wind or a bird had carried its seeds there?
The gardener thought carefully about what he should do next. He
knew that it is sometimes diffi cult to move a plant to a different location,
but he also knew that his shadbush would never grow into a large, strong
and beautiful tree if it stayed here in the shade. So he decided to replant it
in a different location, where it would get enough sun and wind to thrive
and fl ourish. He took his spade and dug out a broad ring of soil around
the trunk of the tree before digging a hole in the ground where he wanted
the tree to grow and placing the shadbush there, root ball and all. He then
fi lled the hole back up with soil, added exactly the right amount of fertiliser,
and gave the plant a good watering.
When he looked at his tree the next day, he was dismayed to see that all
the leaves on it were drooping. He thought to himself that the tree’s roots
had probably extended a long way under the ground before it had been
dug up, and that it must have lost some of its tiniest hair- like roots. The
tree would need to conserve its energy to heal these injuries, but it should
be able to regrow its roots, and so the gardener decided to give his tree the
best possible care and simply be patient. He waited and gave the tree all
the time it needed, and soon the leaves had indeed regained their former
strength. After a few months the tree was a fi ne specimen, and after a few
years it had grown into a large and strong tree.

El cine a través del escaparate

Llovía. No había clase. Como cada sábado por la mañana, ella estaba detrás del mostrador de cristal donde se exponían panecillos, pasteles y otros productos de panadería y de pastelería para la venta. A través del escaparate veía como el viento barría las hojas de los arboles revoloteándolas por la calle.
Delante de la tienda una mujer luchó con su paraguas. Encima, en el escaparate, había una inscripción con letras gruesas que decía: “Panadería Müller”, en escritura invertida, desde luego, para alguien que lo leyese desde adentro. Cuando ella estaba sola y no tenía que atender a clientes, le gustaba imaginarse que este escaparate fuera una pantalla de cine y que lo que veía detrás de él fuera solo una película.
En su fantasía entonces cambiaba la escena. Los coches se volvían en carruajes, las hojas en pájaros y, por ejemplo, esta mujer con el paraguas se convertía en su madre luchando contra un dragón furioso. Especialmente esta imagen le divertía mucho. Su madre, que lo entendía todo mal, que malinterpretaba sus palabras, que sabía convertir lo bueno en malo y lo malo en bueno, probablemente también hubiera podido superar un combate contra un dragón furioso o por lo menos hubiera conseguido un empate. Hasta el próximo combate.
La mujer con el paraguas había desaparecido hace tiempo. Ahora ella se imaginaba, pues, qué le gustaría escribir en el escaparate en lugar de la palabra aburrida: “Panadería Müller”. ¿Qué tal si fuera “eres importante para mí”, “de todas formas te quiero” o “me enojo contigo porque te quiero”? O quizás también: “Te enojo …”. Sonreía un poco pensando en esto. Se figuró el efecto que tuviera esta inscripción en la gran luna del escaparate. Toda la gente que pasara por la panadería podría leerla, también su madre. Ella se figuraba entonces la inscripción: “Eres importante para mí”. ¿Podría su madre finalmente entenderla entonces a ella? Se la imaginó parada delante del escaparate, frunciendo y meneando la cabeza. Entonces se le ocurrió la idea: “Tienes que colocar tus palabras en escritura invertida.”

(Por Stefan Hammel, traducción: Bettina Betz)

La respiration agréable

Une amie m’a appelée. Elle respirait extrêmement vite et de manière agitée et ne pouvait prononcer que quelques mots à la fois. Sa voix avait un drôle de son. Elle raconta que sa fille venait d’avoir un accident de voiture avec son bébé sur le siège arrière. Le bébé n’avait rien eu mais le SAMU avait transporté sa fille à l’hôpital car ils craignaient une fracture de la base du crâne. Elle-même avait dû rester où elle était ; elle devait garder le bébé et n’arrivait pas à savoir ce qui se passait avec sa fille. J’ai alors commencé à respirer et à parler de la même façon qu’elle et au bout d’un certain temps j’ai changé de rythme et ai ralenti peu à peu ma respiration et ma façon de parler. J’ai remarqué qu’elle me suivait instinctivement dans mon comportement et qu’elle se calmait. Sa voix sonnait claire et forte et ce qu’elle racontait maintenant sonnait plus positif qu’au début de la conversation. « Je te remercie de la façon dont tu m’as parlé », ont été ses mots quand elle termina la conversation.


This is a little case example on what you can experience after a stroke… someone told it to me as an experience he made. The details are changed, but the core is true.

“After my stroke” he said, “people knew me that I no longer knew. ‘I am Peter’, one said. ‘Which Peter?’ I asked. ‘Don’t you remember? I went to school with you, we did an apprenticeship together and we have stood side by side at the workbench… ‘ ‘No Idea. I can’t remember’, I said. ‘We’ve been on holiday together’ he continued, ‘and you gave my daughter Julia that funny teapot as a present.’ ‘Are you Julia’s father then?’ I asked. His name was Peter and he went to school with me. And you are him?’ “

Le nom secret

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.

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.


When Anton was twenty, he travelled around the world. He liked to visit France the most. He left wife and children at home. In his homeland, he mostly spent his time in pubs. Beer and cigarettes were more important to him than both his daughters.

When Anton was twenty-two, he got divorced. He did not honour his alimony payments. He drank his money away.

When Anton was twenty-six, he saw his daughters for the last time. His ex-wife forbade him any further contact.

When Anton was fifty-five, he had a friend who managed his money and kept most of it for himself. Outside of his working hours, he was drunk. As long as there was enough money for alcohol and cigarettes, he was content, he said.

When Anton was sixty-one, he stopped drinking. That was the time he got to know Frieda. Anton adored Frieda. Frieda had spent her whole life in a small house in the country and had never been interested in alcohol.

When Anton was sixty-two, he moved in to Frieda’s small house in the country.

When Anton was seventy, he had already shown Frieda Paris and London, Brussels, Berlin and Budapest. He had driven her to her relatives in Dessau and walked all around the neighbourhood with her.

When Anton was seventy-one, Frieda became ill. He drove with her to many doctors and hospitals in the area. Anton said: “You are the best thing that ever happened to me. As long as I live, you will not end up in a nursing home.” He drove her to the welfare centre, to the medical insurance office and to all public authorities.

When Anton was seventy-two, he married Frieda. He ran the house for her, vacuumed, did the shopping and cooked the meals. When Anton was seventy-five, Frieda died. He lived another one-and-a-half years. During this time he drank one glass of champagne a day. “For my circulation”, he said, “because the doctor recommended it to me”.

The Rolling Piano

For many years he worked as a pianist. He had experienced countless performances. What then had been his most uncomfortable experience during his concert tours?

“Once”, he related, “I noticed during a concert that the piano which I was playing was not properly secured. Perhaps the floor of the concert hall was also uneven. While I played, the instrument began to gradually roll away from me. I slid behind it with my piano stool, but it continued to roll. I slid, it rolled. Thus it went on and on, during the entire piece. Most instruments have a brake, which must be secured. If not, then God have mercy on you.”


„Witch’s shot“, that’s what they call a lumbago in my country. And indeed, it is like a curse! This pain whenever I move! “It would be best not to move at all any more”, I thought. “If I just keep my arm in front of the body, pull my right shoulder up, let the left shoulder drop down, and bend a little bit forward, I can stand it.” If I were to move very cautiously, I could even go to the door. But how should I press down the handle without changing my posture? Any wrongfalse movement was causing terrible pain.

On the other hand: What was a “wrongfalse movement” in this situation? The longer I stayed in my unnatural position, trying to protect myself from the pain, the more my muscles tensed, and the worse they would ache afterwards. If my means of escape were actually my trap – what could I do?

I decided to do an experiment. Instead of trying to find a comfortable position for my body, I went into the most painful position I could stand for a prolonged time and I stayed like this. Surprisingly, my pain became less after a few minutes, and my ability to move increased. Once more I leaned back into the pain – the worst I could bear. And again the pain decreased after a while and I could move more freely. I repeated this procedure another six or eight times. The curse lost its power and turned into bliss.

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.”