El aroma del pan

“Mujer“, dijo el panadero, “me vuelvo más viejo y mis fuerzas están disminuyendo. Durante toda mi vida he hecho el pan para el pueblo. La gente venía aun de lejos para comprar mis panecillos. ¿Y cuando llegue el día en que yo tenga que dejar para siempre el cuenco de la amasadura, quién seguirá llevando el negocio?” Los dos no tenían hijos.
“Anda”, habló la mujer, “busca a un hombre joven que te eche una mano y a quien puedas enseñarle todo en cuanto a tu arte. Cuando seas viejo y ya no puedas trabajar, él podrá continuar con la tienda y estarás orgulloso de él como de tu propio hijo.”
Dicho y hecho. El panadero hizo divulgar por los pueblos vecinos que buscaba a alguien al que le gustase hacer pan y que quisiera aprender este oficio de él.
En los días siguientes se le presentaron cuatro hombres jóvenes, y no sabía por cuál decidirse. Como la decisión le resultaba tan difícil, acudió a su esposa y le preguntó a ella lo que podía hacer. Dijo esta: “Haz venir a todos otra vez. Te diré a quién vas a tomar.”
Entonces el panadero pidió a los cuatro hombres que viniesen de nuevo. El primer hombre se presentó y la mujer le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Me gusta madrugar y me gusta acostarme temprano. Y un panadero se entera muy pronto de todas las novedades que se cuentan en el pueblo y en sus alrededores.”
Vino el segundo y la mujer le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Mis padres son difuntos y tengo que mantener esposa e hijos.”
Vino el tercero y le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Lo considero un honor hacerle a la gente el pan que dios nos ha dado.”
Vino el cuarto, y a él no le preguntó nada.
“Tomamos a este”, le dijo a su marido.
“¿Y por qué a él?”
“Al entrar aspiró profundamente el aroma del pan.”

(Por Stefan Hammel, traduccíon: Bettina Betz)

The Librarian

The story “The Librarian” shows a metaphor for the cooperation of conscious and unconscious thinking and represents a useful viewpoint of how memory functions. It is useful in any context where learning and gaining access to memories and capacities plays a role…

Do you sometimes try and think of somebody’s name and it just doesn’t come? And then you do something else and don’t even think about it any more and then suddenly – hey presto! – the name pops up! Isn’t it strange that you sometimes don’t find the solution while you are looking for it, but indeed and very so often, afterwards? How is this possible? There is only one answer…
A friendly librarian works in the brain that manages the stockpile of your knowledge. He sits in the service area on the ground floor near the lobby. The most frequently used books and folders he has nicely to hand and clearly presented in this zone. He has well ordered long shelves in the basement for the material that is rarely required. Sometimes when a book is out of place or your request does not meet the specifications of the registry, he needs more time to research. Because you’re not used to waiting, you are likely to think that he has forgotten you. But as the librarians are not like that, they are in fact very service-oriented and extremely meticulous! With your request in his hand off he goes through all of the basement rooms. He hunts and searches and finally: “Aha! I’ve got it!” With the book in hand, he comes up the stairs. He brings you what you need.

Africa

This therapeutic story can be used for supporting learning in general, as well as re-learning abilities after a health problem. For example, it can be applied quite beautifully with stroke patients. Obviously, it is also indicated as a story supporting change and developement with anyone who has got a strong biographical link to Africa. Of course, instead of Africa, other continents or regions of the world can be used, in order to adapt the story to individual needs. The reason why I chose the mapping of Africa as the key focus of this story is, that on maps Africa has the shape of a head or scull and thus points to brain functions.

Maps have existed for millennia but there a big differences between modern maps and those from dating from earlier centuries. For example, three hundred years ago, if a publisher printed a map of Africa, it had big white patches on it. ‚Terra incognita’ was marked on it; unknown territory. The coasts were then largely free of such white spots, but the interior of the continent was still a single, large white patch. However, many researchers undertook trips into the heart of Africa and what they learned there, they reported to the cartographers who diligently recorded everything. Land and water routes were discovered. The turns of each river were researched and drawn. The names of the settlements were recorded and the names of the tribes written down. The white patches on the map became smaller and smaller. The parts of the country that were explored and known steadily grew. Finally, the white spots disappeared completely. The whole of Africa was mapped.

Le gramophone

J’ai un phonographe à la maison. J’y fais passer des chansons comme « Nur nicht aus Liebe weinen » – Seulement ne pas pleurer à cause de l’amour et « Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh’n » – Je sais qu’il y aura un miracle un jour. Zarah Leander chante ça avec sa voix basse – c’est magnifique ! Puis j’écoute la voix de corbeau de Louis Armstrong, et pour moi c’est une rencontre avec lui-même, avec lui tout personnellement. J’écoute Caruso, il chante avec son vibrato depuis la nuit des temps : « O sole mio… ». Leurs voix volent vers moi des rainures du disque, sans électricité. Elles arrivent vers moi comme les voix de ces personnes même. Quand leurs voix retentissent du pavillon, les chanteurs sont des hôtes dans mon temps. Je les rencontre dans la même pièce. Puis le gramophone se tait, leurs voix retournent dans cet autre monde séparé du notre, là où habitent les anciens possesseurs de ces voix.

Keys

I’m using this story to support people who have suffered a stroke to recover their memories. Of course it can be used with any kind of amnesia or neurological loss of abilities, like with a person waking up after bein in coma for a long time. The story can also be used with students who are afraid of exams or with self inconfidence problems.

Was it a dream? Was it reality? I walked through the building. To my right and to my left were many doors. I turned the handles but not a door opened. The rooms were closed to me. I sat down and wept. “Why are you crying?” asked someone. I pointed to the locked doors. “Do you not know… ” he said and pointed to the pockets of my coat. “You have the keys!” I reached into my pockets and indeed pulled out two massive bunches of keys, two key rings with hundreds and hundreds of different shaped keys, large and small. How was I to know which key fit the lock of many rooms? “You have to try it,” said my encourager. “In your own time. You have all the time in the world. Try all the doors and try all the keys. Gradually you will open more and more doors. Never give up. Your freedom will grow with every open room and one day you will know the door to every key and the key to every door.”

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 Alchemist

In the olden days, there lived a man whose profession was that of those who call themselves alchemists. This man boasted that he could make gold. Now, when the king of his country heard about this, he had the man come before his throne to tell him about his secret. It was in vain that the man asserted that he did not know anything about it. “So then I will imprison you as a liar and an impostor”, the king said. “For this is what you are – either because you have publicly claimed that you can produce gold although you cannot, or because you claim today that you cannot do it although you can. Just tell us what you need for making gold. You shall have it in your dungeon. As soon as you have completed your work you shall tell us, and if you reveal to us how you have accomplished your task, you shall be released.”

Now the poor man had plenty of time to try out his alchemist skills. One day he reported to the jailor: “I have discovered something.” “So what have you discovered?” “I have discovered the secret of how the Chinese produce their porcelain which they sell for gold at our royal court.” The jailor reported this to the king, and the king asked his prisoner to be brought before him once again. After the alchemist had reported his discovery to the king, the king exclaimed: “You have not discovered how to produce gold, but something which is worth more than gold.” With these words, he asked the guards to set the man free, to clothe him like a nobleman and send him home with precious gifts.

The Words of the Disciple

The people stood before him. They had come in their hundreds. And he stood before them. What should he say? “The master, whose words you want to hear, is dead”, he announced. “He died last night. But first he bade me to speak to you today.”

“But do you then also know”, asked the people, “what the master wanted to say to us?” “I hear it”, he said.

In the Country of Begonia

As a traveller I once had to cross the country of Begonia. They really have a very strange custom there.

That is to say, on the streets and pathways of the country they don’t have any signs which could help you to find your way from village to village or from one town to the next. But at every crossroad there are flowers which you can ask in order to get directions from them. According to the way in which they give directions, one differentiates between point-around guides, point-away guides and point-toward guides.

The point-toward guides are especially pleasant for all those travellers who simply want to get to their destination as fast and as comfortably as possible. They tell you kindly where you should go.

The point-away guides are often crude and blunt in their speech. They can sound very spiteful. Nonetheless, they can also be very useful. They tell you where you should definitely not go, so that you will keep misfortune and trouble at bay.

Last, but by no means least, are the point-around guides who speak to you in a peculiar way. They speak in riddles. They start to advise you to go one way and then continue with the other direction. They tell you about the destination, but not how you reach it. They ask you questions rather than give you answers. They tell you things, the sense of which you will not understand until later. Some travellers see what the point-around guides say as useless stuff. Yet others only find their destination through these guides.