Feeds:
Posts
Comments

The Beetle who Went on His TravelsThe Beetle who Went on His Travels

A beetle that lived in the king’s horse stable had seen that the king’s horse was shod with golden shoes. The beetle also desired golden shoes, but the smith laughed at him. The beetle decided to go on a journey.

He flew away and found a wonderful garden, but there was no dung heap. He flew further on and spoke to all manner of creatures. Some earwigs were very impressed with their son who had decided upon a wonderful career for himself. The beetle few on still. He met some lovely young lady bugs and was even married to one of them, but the marriage was very short.

The beetle was caught by a rough boy. The boy tied him to a stick and put the stick in a wooden shoe, and set him afloat. The beetle could not get away. A fly flew by, but the fly was free and the beetle was not. The beetle asked the fly if he could see if he was a prisoner, but the fly simply said, “Yes, but I am not.” The fly flew away and left the beetle tied up upon his small boat.

Some larger boats with people came into view. A girl from one of the boats picked up the shoe and cut the beetle free with some scissors she had. She set him down upon the ground and told him to fly away if he could. He ended up right back in the stable where he had started, this time of the back of the king’s horse. The beetle said the horse had been shod in gold of his account.

Observations

From reading the story, this beetle probably didn’t go very far. He probably stayed on the same piece of property the entire time he was on his travels.

The Beetle who Went on His TravelsThemes

This beetle was conceited throughout the entire story. He was conceited in the beginning when he got golden shoes. He was conceited when he spoke to all the other creatures he met on his journey. He thought that everyone should bow to him. He finally made it home and he was still conceited. This just goes to prove that you can’t force a person to change.

I believe the only difference between when he started out and when he returned was that he appreciated his home a little more. He had traveled and he had seen what the world had to offer. When he returned to what was familiar, he appreciated it a little more, even if he was still conceited.

This beetle is always going to be conceited, unless he looks in himself and makes some very conscious decisions to change. He was rescued and shown kindness by others, who really shouldn’t have went out of their way seeing as how conceited he was, but none of that changed him being conceited.

He did improve a little. He appreciated his home more, but that didn’t fix his whole problem with being conceited.

Overall

People can help to change a person’s perspective, but they cannot change another person.

Weigh In

Do you think the beetle’s misfortunes were humbling enough to change him?

Do you think he will ever change?

 A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Donald writes about his life, when some movie guys called him up and said, “We want to make a movie about your book about your life,” Donald was in, but he soon discovered that his life wasn’t very exciting. The story Donald tells in this book is not only about how to tell a story, it’s about living a life that would be worthy of a story.

When Donald met with the two men who would turn his life into a story, they almost immediately got him doing things he normally wouldn’t do, like sledding around on the snow in kayaks. They told Donald he would have to edit his life. He had to turn his life from the book into something that would be interesting to watch as a movie.

Donald found that writing a movie was different from writing a book. A movie had to keep people engaged at all times, while a book could meander and roam. Books could involve a lot of thought, while, in movies, you can’t really tell what a character is thinking unless they say it aloud.

When Donald started looking at his life he realized, even though he was a writer, that he was a bit boring. He did safe things. He did familiar things. He did things that were not risky.

Over the course of coming to this realization Donald learned that he had to make his life special. He wasn’t going to grow as a person if he did the safe things. He didn’t want to work his entire life for a Volvo.

He changed things. Donald took chances. Donald made mistakes. Donald got messy.

(Yes, I do have a particular love for The Magic School Bus.)

By the end of the book, Donald has made his life into something interesting and something worthy of living.

What I liked

I did not know this book existed before I started reading another book. I started reading a memoir and the author of that book said she had to read this book. I stopped reading that book and found this book. If a book is enough to give another author inspiration in life, it’s probably good enough for me too.

I was not disappointed. Donald seems like a great guy. Donald realized that he needed to step up his game in life. I am at a similar point in my life myself. Do I hang onto a boring story or do I move forward with my life? You don’t get anywhere in life doing all the safe things.

It’s a great message for anybody. Instead of sitting around doing things because they’re familiar, push yourself. Be that person you always wanted to be in your head.

This book gets an A+ from me.

It’s similar to The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in some ways. Both books are essentially about taking the risky steps you need to take in your life to be the person you need to be. Donald’s book is a little more real-world applicable, especially to writers.

What I didn’t like

There isn’t really anything I didn’t like about this book. Go Donald.

Overall

I will look forward to Donald’s other books as I come across them.

Weigh In

If your life was going to be a movie, would it be a boring movie or an exciting one?

Do you think we fall into ruts of being too comfortable? Why or why not?

The Mail-Coach Passengers

The Mail-Coach PassengersThe Mail-Coach Passengers

On New Year’s Eve a mail-coach pulled into town with twelve passengers. They each had their passports. They were asked who they were.

They were:

January

People fixed their hopes upon him and he was a merchant.

February

Was the shortest lived and a reveller.

March

Was a weather prophet, but praised fasting and carried a small bunch of violets.

April

Liked to fool people and be merry.

May

Miss May was beautiful and smelled wonderful. She sang beautifully in the woods.

June

Was fond of sleeping and she gave a feast on the longest day of the year.

July

Was a plump young fellow and wore hardly anything for the heat.

August

Was a hardworking woman with many fruits as reward.

September

Caused the entire forest to change its color when he arrived.

October

Spoke of hunting and farming.

November

Coughed and coughed and coughed.

December

Brought everything Christmas.

It was decided that their passports would be kept and each would be available for a month. Afterwards, their conduct would be recorded.

Observations

This story applies only to people in the northern hemisphere.

Themes

This is just a story saying how the months of the year generally turn out.

Overall

September is the best.

Weigh In

What is your favorite month?

Are you fond of stories that describe the months of the year?

The Bishop of Borglum and his WarriorsThe Bishop of Borglum and his Warriors

Up north in Jutland there is a place known as the wild moor. There is a convent there. Many years ago there was a ship stranded not too far off shore. Instead of helping, the bishop’s men went and stole and plundered and murdered. Those poor people were all left dead and bloody.

The bishop desires to have all but the widow of Olaf Glob is in his way. He will have to get rid of her before he can take her husband’s lands. The bishop had her called before a court of law, but they found nothing wrong with her. He then sent a letter to the Pope asking that the widow be excommunicated and banned from the church.

The widow did not know what to do, but she knew that God was with her, so she yoked her oxen and went with her maid into distant lands. They were in Franconia when they met a group of soldiers, among them was the widow’s son. The widow’s son returns with her to her home. He calls the bishop out for his wrong deeds, but the bishop cannot be touched because he is under the authority of the Pope.

Jens Glob, the widow’s son, writes a letter to a relative Olaf Hase and they plan an attack for Christmas. It’s very cold and the ground is frozen. Jens Glob is to come from one side and Olaf Hase is to come from across the bay. It’s extremely cold, but Olaf Hase rides on with a few brave men. When he gets to the church he finds Jens Glob already there. He says he has made an arrangement with the bishop. Olaf is about to become angry when Jens tells him the agreement. The bishop and all his warriors are dead.

There is a funeral for all who were killed. Everything seems to sing the condemnation of the Bishop and his men. Some are afraid of his ghost.

The place is peaceful now though. If someone ship wrecks on the shore, they are not murdered, but saved. They are brought ashore and fed.

Observations

I looked into Borglum, but I cannot find any record of one of the bishops being a murderous jerk. As far a the area itself, a see of the Catholic Church was created there and existed there for a while, but it ultimately died out with the coming of reformation. There were convents and nunneries there for a while afterward.

Even though I cannot find evidence of a nasty bishop, there was actually a church there.

dcf43ac81e2bfe99c61f25d529977accThemes

Just because you’re religious doesn’t mean you can’t become corrupt. This bishop was a bad man and he even had the Pope on his side, but the Pope hasn’t always been good, in fact, a lot of popes haven’t been good. People do terrible things under the name of God. God didn’t command them to do these terrible things, these people just said, “You know what, I want to murder all those people over there and take their stuff, in the name of God.”

It’s been repeated over and over in history.

The Crusades: Let’s go kill people in the name of God.

The Spanish Inquisition: Let’s torture and kill people in the name of God.

Salem Witch Trials: Let’s kill women in the name of God.

Bloody Mary: Let’s kill people in the name of God.

…really, I could go on.

This bishop was bad so people took it upon themselves to get rid of him. Did that make them better than him? They killed this guy and all his men. Were all of them guilty? We don’t know. They did change the way things were done. People no longer had to worry about being terrorized by this bishop, and in the end, that’s a good thing. The violence that got them there isn’t necessarily good.

Looking at this another way, Hans could have been using this entire story as a metaphor. Maybe Hans was not saying that this bishop was actually murdered, maybe the reformation came through and essentially down-sized the Catholic church in the area, which is what actually happened. The Catholic Church had long been seen as greedy and wealth consuming. They took things. They forced people out. The protestants got tired of this and came in and deposed the Catholic Church where they could.

The people got tired of men, just men, not gods, of the Catholic Church taking and murdering in the name of God, that’s why these men went in and murdered this bishop and his men.

Overall

If you’re of the God-fearing variety, don’t do things in the name of God that are awful.

Weigh In

Do you think a lot of people felt a weight lifted off their shoulders when the reformation happened?

What would you have done if you were being terrorized by this bishop?

The Butterfly

The ButterflyThe Butterfly

There was once butterfly who wished to find a bride among the flowers. At first he visited a daisy and told her things. He called her a lady, when she was but a girl, so she remained silent.

The butterfly visited other flowers. This one was too bitter. This one was too that. The other was too this. The butterfly flitted on. The flowers bloomed and became mature, but the butterfly desired the aroma of youth, not older flowers, whose fragrances had faded.

The butterfly soon found some mint, which smelled sweet. When he asked her if they could be married, the mint told him no. She did not want marriage at her old age only friendship. They were friends for a bit, but the butterfly found himself in a warm room for the winter. There he flew at the window, where the inhabitants saw him and mounted him on a stick. He supposed this was like being a flower and like being married for he was stuck fast.

The potted plants told him that was a poor consolation, but he didn’t trust potted plants because they had too much to do with humans.

Observations

Well, if you put it like this…

Themes

Let’s lay it out in the open shall we? This butterfly is a picky man and all the flowers are women, which he finds all kinds of things wrong with. I don’t like this one’s attitude. I don’t like the shape of this one. This one is too old.

The butterfly himself was getting up there in age, but still wanted a young woman, a girl actually, remember he went after the daisy who was only a girl still. No wonder she didn’t talk to him, she thought he was a pedophile. She was just waiting for him to drive by in his van without side windows.

This happens in real life all the time. A man complains about not having a wife or a girlfriend, but he finds something wrong with every single woman who comes his way and they’re things similar to the butterfly’s complaints in this story. This one is too old. This one is the wrong shape. This one has kids. He still doesn’t realize the error of his ways even when he’s mounted upon a stick. You can’t ever make a person like that happy because they’re looking for something that doesn’t exist.

Overall

I don’t know, I kind of feel this story serves him right.

Weigh In

How does one know when they’re being too picky?

Do you think the butterfly changed his mind about marriage?

The Little Prisoner by Jane ElliottThe Little Prisoner by Jane Elliott

Jane’s life was pretty awful almost from the beginning. At a young age, she remembers being in a foster home. It wasn’t the best, but it was better than going home. Her brother Jimmy was there as well. When it comes time for Jane’s mother to take her back, Jimmy doesn’t come along. They don’t want the boy.

Richard is her mother’s boyfriend, turned husband, and he’s awful. He requires that the house be immaculately decorated and clean. A passel of boys soon comes into being, but not a girl. Jane is required to do many things, but not all of them appropriate for children.

From around the age of four, Jane is sexual abused by Richard, over and over and over again. When her mother is out of the room, even for a few minutes, abuse takes place. Jane is beaten. Jane is smothered. Jane has her head held under the bath water. Jane is belittled and told to beat up other children.

The abuse continues on even when Jane moves away from home. She is so scared she can’t even think to stand up for herself, with good reason. Once she does stand up for herself, Jane continues to endure harassment and abuse at the hands of her step-father and brothers. Jane has to move away and Richard is finally arrested, but Jane is not entirely free. She still has to deal with years of abuse, and even a beating at the hands of her brothers. She does it all for her own children, fearing that Richard may do the same thing to them.

What I liked

I’m going to be honest with you, there wasn’t anything I “liked” about this story. I’m glad Jane told her story. We need stories like Jane’s so other people in similar situations can know that they’re not alone. Other people went through the same thing.

What I didn’t like

I’m going to internet shout.

WHAT IN THE WORLD MAKES A PERSON THINK THEY CAN DO THIS TO ANOTHER PERSON?!

WHY WOULD A PERSON EVER TREAT A CHILD LIKE THIS?!

Jane suffered terrible things. She should not have suffered any of this. Richard should be in jail, for life and so should Jane’s mother. While we’re at it, let’s put those terrible brothers of hers in there as well.

I hate to say it, but Jane can try as hard as she wants, but she’s never getting over this. Richard damaged her for life. The best Jane can do is try to have a normal life, which is going to be really difficult.

On one side, I want to say that Jane’s mother was equally as abused and brainwashed as Jane was, if not more, but somewhere inside this woman there had to be some maternal instincts. Somewhere inside of herself there had to be this voice that said, “Look, Dear, you can’t let this man turn your children into monsters. You can’t let him do these awful things to your daughter.” Somewhere inside of this woman, there was that voice that said all those things, but she ignored that voice. For ignoring that voice, she is just as bad as Richard. She allowed these things to happen.

I hate to be a mean person, but I hope all the bad karma in the world comes to these awful people who did these things to Jane.

Observations

It’s unbelievable that awful people like this just walk around free on the streets.

Weigh In

Are books like this necessary or are they too harsh for every day conversation?

Do you think the publication of this book has helped other children?

A Story from the Sand Hills

A Story from the Sand HillsA Story from the Sand Hills

There was once a Spanish couple aboard a ship. They were wealthy and had a discussion about their lives and the eternal progress of their souls. While on board the ship a terrible storm arose. It tossed people about, but none survived. The ship wreck was off the coast of a few dunes and a sandy land. There local people tried to save the ship wrecked people, but only one person was brought to shore alive, the woman.

She was sick and injured and gave birth to a baby boy, but then died. The couple decided to keep the child as their own as no one knew where the people had come from. They named the boy Jorgen. He loved the sea and the sand hills. When he was grown he went out to see and even visited the same town his real parents had been from, but he did not know it.

He grew up. His foster parents died and left him their house. He loved a woman named Else, but she loved his friend Martin. He asked Else if she preferred Martin over him, and she did. He let Martin and Else live in his house, but Martin was murdered and Jorgen was blamed for it.

Jorgen spent a year in prison. During that time no one released him. He was kept in terrible surroundings. Finally, it was made known that he was innocent. Martin had boasted of money he did not have. He was followed home one evening and murdered.

Jorgen went off on the boats again and eventually came to Skagen. There he fell in love with a young woman named Clara. She loved him too. She went away on a trip for a while, but on the way back, her boat was caught in a storm, not too far off shore. Jorgen tried to save her. He swam with her and swam with her, but by the time he got to shore, it was apparent that Clara had died. Jorgen had been swimming with a dead woman. Jorgen was also injured.

He was sick. After the accident, Jorgen was much like a little child. He went to church on Sundays and sang hymns, but he was not the same Jorgen. Some said it was better off if he had died. One day there was a terrible storm. Jorgen sought refuge in the church. There he prayed, but it appeared as if there were other people in the church with him. His foster parents were there. The inhabitants of the grave yard were there. Clara was there and a priest married them right then. The ship that was kept in the church was lowered down and everyone got on board. Jorgen’s soul left his body and sailed away with the people he loved.

The storm buried the church in sand. When the congregation saw this, they knew they had to build a church elsewhere. They never found Jorgen. They thought a wave had got him, but he was buried in the church. His soul was at rest.

photograph by  Hideko BondesenObservations

This was a very long story for Hans. Skagen is a real place, which Hans visited in his life time. Apparently, he was impressed with Skagen, impressed enough to write an entire story about its church.

The church does exist. The picture I chose for this post is a picture of what remains of Den Tilsandede Kirke. “Kirke” means “church” by the way. The church was buried in sand and so was a nearby village. The process took about two hundred years total, but for twenty years the villagers fought to keep their church. Each Sunday, the church had to be dug out. In the late 1700s the church was abandoned and even decreed closed by the royalty of Denmark. Most of the church was demolished, but the tower was left standing, that’s what is in the picture. Some believe that portions of the church are still buried underneath the sand.

Hans would have seen this tower and heard its story. The entire story of how the church came to be as it was, buried in the sand, was interesting enough to build a story around. Who says there couldn’t be one lone man whose body resides in the former chapel of the church buried in sand?

12135ac9b59574c43fe65cfa04ac9958Themes

Hans has taken on such a religious tone in some of these stories. Ultimately, Jorgen is reunited with his family. Jorgen had such a sad life, but he did love people. He experienced many unfortunate things along the way, but you can’t say this man didn’t put his heart into his life. He loved his foster parents. He loved his best friend enough to let him have the girl and his house. He loved Clara enough to risk his life for her. Jorgen was a big-hearted man.

Some people believe that in the afterlife, you’re reunited with your loved ones; lots of Christian religions believe this actually and I know there are other non-Christian religions that believe in something similar. Where you come from is an important part of who you are.

Notice that Jorgen is not reunited with his birth parents. He is reunited with his foster parents. They were the ones who raised him and took care of him. Also notice that Jorgen was able to be married to Clara after he was dead. Some people believe this can happen, and others do not. There are not many religions that believe you can be married to someone after they’re dead. Jorgen’s reunion says that the people who cared for him were more important than the people who gave birth to him and also that he could form lasting relationships even after death.

All of this takes us into a grey area, firstly because we just don’t know what happens to our consciousnesses or souls after we die, and secondly, because there are disagreements about familial relations after death. Can you get married? Do you stay with your family? If you’re a child when you die, are you an adult in the afterlife? Can you fall in love in heaven? What if you love dies before you die? Can you still marry them?

Some religions do think this far, while others do not. Hans obviously really got into the whole idea of what happens to you after you die. He was really wondering after how the afterlife worked. In these stories we see Hans pondering the complexities of religion that we humans try to wrap our heads around.

Overall

I think Hans and Stephen King would have gotten along really well. Stephen King says to kill your characters off for good stories, and Hans was all about killing characters off.

Weigh In

Do you think Jorgen would have done anything differently had he known he would have been reunited with his loved ones?

If Jorgen had had this knowledge, would it have made his life easier?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 232 other followers

%d bloggers like this: