I’m like You

A story by Katharina Lamprecht

Listen to me, the water whispered, foamed, wooshed, how I hiss and sizzle, light and dull, quietly gurgling and loud and full. I am so many but you can see only one. I sing a whole opera but you just hear one voice. I change myself every second but I´m constantly the same. I give myself up any minute to find myself again at once.

Look at me, the water whispered, foamed, wooshed. I am like you.

The Crooked Bird

Another contribution by Katharina Lamprecht who will also be at the Festival in October

Sometimes there is a little sparrow sitting on the clothesline in front of my kitchen window. I like to observe him, he is quite funny and quite different than the other birds. Somehow he always looks as if he was a little tipsy. He dithers a bit on the line and you can see that it takes an effort to keep his balance because he sticks out one leg and flaps his wings. He generally makes the impression of being quite dizzy. But it doesn’t seem to bother him at all, on the contrary, I get the feeling that he enjoys his slanting position very much.

A friend of mine, who is an ornithologist, said that this phenomenon goes by the name of “crooked bird”, common knowledge amongst experts. He explained, that there are indeed many birds, who love to frolic through storms and high winds. Back and forth, up and down, left and right they let themselves dash around by the wind until they don´t know anymore where they are, don´t know up from down or back from forth. And it is obvious that they have so much fun with it, that they keep the dizziness even when there is no wind at all. Just like the sparrow on my clothesline.

Scientists suspect that these crooked birds have a kind of inner anchor. Somewhere in their bodies has to be a place that gives them the needed security to be able to always find their way and relate to a stable, secure, safe and unshakeable point, no matter what. In this way they can relax, be calm and at ease, at least internally. They can feel straight and upright even if they have no orientation in the outer world. The scientists cannot determine where this inner anchor is but they are quite sure, it´s there. Perhaps one can compare it to the radar that bats use. This we can´t see either but there is no doubt it´s there.

“We don´t really know how all of this functions, but it has to be somehow like that”, my friend said and grinned. To be honest, I´m not quite sure if I can believe his story or if he wanted to pull my leg. But watching my little sparrow, reeling and rocking with obvious delight on my clothesline, I keep thinking that he surely must have such an inner anchor. Even if he has not the slightest idea, where it is or that it even exists. But it´s got to be in there somewhere, an area within him that gives him the absolute certainty to be safe and sound in all of these dizzying situations. An anchor that keeps him upright and gives him balance.

So seeing him on the line, I imagine that, the more he careens, the bigger and stronger the anchor in him gets and he is even more centered. With stormy winds outside and the feeling of security and safety inside, the little sparrow can enjoy his crookedness as much as he likes. And I wonder, where my inner anchor might be…

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)

To Fail with Enthusiasm

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.

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 Scent of Bread

“Wife”, spoke the baker, “I am getting older and my strength is lessening. All my life have I baked the bread for this village. Yes, people have come from afar to buy my rolls. The day will come when I will have to lay aside my bowl of dough, and who will then continue with my trade?” For they had no children. “Go search for a young man” the woman said, “who can help you with your work, and whom you can teach all about the art of baking bread. When you are old and can no longer work, he shall continue with the shop, and you shall look at him with pride as if he were your son.” As she said it, so it was done. The baker spread the news that he was seeking an apprentice who would like to learn his trade. In the following days, four young men came into his shop, wanting to become a baker. He found it difficult to choose and asked his wife again. She said: “Tell all of them to come again!” And so he did. The first man introduced himself to the baker’s wife. She asked: “Why do you want to learn a baker’s trade?” “I like to get up early, and go to bed before the night is falling. And, what is more, a baker is among the first to hear the news of the village and of its surroundings.” The second man came and she asked him: “Why do you want to learn a baker’s trade?” “My parents died early, and I need to care for my wife and children.” The third man came and she asked him: “Why do you want to learn a baker’s trade?” “I deem it an honour to bake for men the bread that God has given us.” The fourth man came and she asked him naught. “Him we take”, she told her husband. “Why should we take him?” “When he arrived, he inhaled eagerly the scent of bread.”

Thought Experiment

Assuming you had died and discovered that there was indeed another life, and that there existed a kind of heaven and hell, but again in between so many other places, as many as there are people, only everything quite different from what the stories of old tell us… and assuming this heaven and hell and the many other places consisted of nothing more than what you have become and so remain, and that there you would constantly live with the love which you have spread, or also with your indifference and your bitterness and your anger…

And assuming that the whole of eternity were nothing more than going for walks in your life which you had and being enabled… allowed… or obliged… to observe your former life quite minutely from all sides…

And assuming you would spend your whole existence in thinking and considering: who you were… who you became… what you received… and what you gave…

And assuming that it were so, and you knew about it – what would that mean for your life here and now?


“Now I am forty years old. I am an aged man”, he said and nodded his head. He was a man from Kenya, from the area around Mombasa. “But, I beg your pardon, you’re not old!” I replied to him. “Yes, I am old, and don’t you dare claim anything else”, he said. “In Kenya it is good to be old. The older, the better.”

The Little Garden

Mr. Wright lives in Hopville at the river Gies. This is situated near Evenbrook at the Reed, close to the village of Lowfield. Every day, Mr. Wright works in his little garden. He hoes the ground and weeds out the dandelions. He plucks the dry leaves off the sunflowers and waters all the plants in his garden. Two neighbours pass by. They whisper: “Oh, look at him! Does this man have nothing better to do than to water his flowers all day?” The hobby gardener hears their words and says to himself: “I don’t deserve to be considered lazy. I have plenty of work!” The next morning, Mr. Wright gets up quite early. He throws himself into his work and puts in some overtime. He is very industrious. His boss is proud of him. The beautiful plants in his garden dry up however, and after a few weeks, his garden is full of weeds. One evening, he hears his neighbours passing by: “Oh, look at him! How this man lets his garden go to waste! It is an embarrassment for the whole village!”

The next morning Mr. Wright gets up even earlier than before. He takes his job very seriously, working hard without a break, all day. Coming home from work late at night he works in his little garden. While doing so, he hears his neighbours say as they pass by: “Oh, look at him! Hasn’t this man got four children? He spends no time with them nor does he support his poor wife in her daily work. He should be ashamed of himself.”

From then on Mr. Wright gets up even earlier. The break of dawn sees him working in his little garden, just before he goes to his company, where he works like a madman. In the afternoon, he helps his wife, and then he supports his children in any way he can think of. Dead tired he falls into bed. This continues for a while until one morning he does not get up any more. The doctor fills in the death certificate. “Myocardial infarction” he notes. Two days later the funeral takes place. His faithful neighbours also accompany him on his last journey. “Oh, look at him! He could have taken it a bit more easy and lived a calm and pleasant life. Why did he work so hard?”


In countries where a strong wind sweeps across the land and makes the fields fruitful, there is a custom among the farmers that is called winnowing. Every year, after the harvest, when they have threshed the corn, they bring it outside in front of the barn. They all throw the grain into the air. The good, heavy kernels fall to the ground, while the light chaff is carried away by the wind. The hardest work is done by the wind. Who knows if one can also winnow thoughts?