Margarita y Lucía

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.

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.

The Bliss of Excessive Labour

Often I have asked myself why some people seem restlessly occupied, have a densely filled agenda and desk, and talk about their stressful work, but at the end of the day have no better results than others who still have spare time for finding rest and recreation.

It might seem that excessive labour offers good security. First of all it creates an impression of this person as being utterly important. Whoever works unceasingly must be indispensable. A person who has done so much and complains of the burden of his work will more easily be forgiven if he commits some error. He may hope to be envied or even pitied. If it is noticed that his work is never finished, some of his tasks may be delegated to somebody else. He can at least avoid receiving further tasks too early. In the course of time, his spectrum of work will be defined more narrowly but at least there should not be too many new challenges awaiting him. On the other hand, he will not want too many jobs to be taken away from him, lest he lose the great advantages of his work overload. When other colleagues are made redundant, the sheer amount of work he has to do is seen at first glance, and he will be considered indispensable. Even those who are self-employed or work as civil servants can enjoy the good conscience of having done all that they could by having filled the available time completely with industrious activity.

How disadvantageous would it be, indeed, if he succeeded in being finished with all his tasks in shorter time! Or, if he even took a break or thought about some concept in which he could work in a far more relaxed yet more effective manner! This would surely cause him to suffer the envy and animosity of others. But worse would be the struggle with that inner voice of conscience with its remark: “The man who takes a rest is lazy.” I am convinced: Whoever wants to achieve much while being relaxed and be successful with little effort will need to have a strong personality.

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.