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Showing posts from December, 2011

Christmas – is it the greatest story ever told?

Three blind men were asked to describe an elephant. One felt the trunk and quickly announced: “An elephant is long and thin.” The second, who felt the ear, countered: “No, it’s broad and flat.” The third, who felt the leg, said: “You’re both wrong – it’s thick and round.” Each man was so sure that he was right that they ended up fighting over it.
This is one of my favourite stories because it reminds us that we are all explorers in life, groping in the dark, and that we should be patient with ourselves and with others as we muddle along together, learning about ourselves and our ever-changing world.
And, because it is a story, it is far more memorable than, for example, the explanation I offered afterwards. That’s the magical power of stories. In fact, the word “spell” meant “story” in Old English – and storytelling is a kind of “spellcraft”.
“We are part human, part stories,” says author and poet Ben Okri in Birds of Heaven, adding that people are “as healthy and confident as they sto…