24 March 20 | Daily challenge

Writing challenge

Write a parable

A succinct, didactic story that illustrates one or more instructive lessons, principles or universal truths.

A metaphor, with narrative. A simile with meaning that’s not explicit. (Nor hidden.)

Write your parable to seem “ancient” if you like. Or write about familiar aspects of everyday life (as great parables always have done, see below).

Keep it short! (Don’t sweat. Aim for average.) And post it below, please.

Some examples

Hebrew scholars used parables to shed light on the Torah. This link takes you to one I like called the Rooster Prince.

Jesus, coming from that same tradition, preached with parables. (This link takes you to Jesus’s parable of the Prodigal Son.)

Islam has a wonderful tradition of parables, especially these ones (follow link) about Mullah Nasruddin.

4 thoughts on “24 March 20 | Daily challenge

  1. There were once two brothers, one was an optimist and the other a pessimist.

    On Christmas morning as they woke up the found a stocking at the bottom of their beds. The pessimist opened it to find a pair of skates. ‘I shall break my head with these,’ he said. Next he unwrapped a bag of sweets. ‘I shall be sick with these’, he said. and so it went until he’d opened his last present.
    The optimist’s turn came and when he opened his stocking he found it full of manure. ‘I’ve got a pony,’ he said.

  2. True Story: a parable

    My neighbour, Yiota, on the first day of lockdown, phoned to say that the lady who lives in the house at the bottom of my garden had lit a bonfire close to my shed.

    “It’s really stinks,” she said, “And it’s really near your shed. You should go down and tell her to put it out.” My neighbour is Greek-Cypriot, and struggles with English when she is upset, but I have known her many years, so I understood her inchoate message. My shed was in danger.

    So I went down the garden and looked over the fence. My downside neighbour was burning masses of old papers and they were making a noxious smoke. But all was contained in a big metal firebowl and my shed was safe. My neighbour was standing there, looking defiant. “It’s perfectly safe,” she said. “Your neighbour,” (my Greek Cypriot friend) “is very upset, but it’s perfectly safe.”

    It was perfectly safe and I walked back up to my house. I saw Yiota’s white washing hung out to dry, and an sunchair empty on this first wonderful day of spring. And my neighbour almost in tears of anger. “Done all washing! I sit outside,” she said. “But I can’t. Asthma. She selfish woman.”

    I looked at her helplessly. She had wanted me to take her part, to insist that the fire must be put out, to assert my English authority. She and her husband had alreadly shut themselves up in their house for two weeks, because of his heart and the virus. The garden was the only place she could go to and it had been poisoned. How many more fires would be lit as people cleared their attics and their gardens in this enforced seclusion? And the virus was a respiratory disease. How many people might that drifting smoke put in hospital, who might otherwise have recovered safe at home? It was, truly, a most thoughtless, selfish thing to do.

    But I had missed the opportunity. I had not understood all my neighbour was trying to say all when she phoned. I had thought only of my shed. And my shed was perfectly safe.

    So who was thoughtless, who was selfish? My neighbour was certainly thoughtless, though maybe not selfish. I was definitely both.

    1. Thank you for making this exercise so real and present

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