“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” - Anonymous
Everyone has disagreements. Some are short-lived, others are long standing. Need an excuse to bridge the divide? Mark your calendars for August 25, Kiss and Make-Up Day. Pick up the phone, send an email; reach out to someone you wish were back in your life. Turn a foe into a friend. Your life will be richer for it!
Need an excuse? Read the folktales below, pick one you like and tell them you want to share a story. There is nothing better than a story to build a bridge!
Edmund Dulac: Rubaiyat
THE FISH AND THE FLOWERS – A CHINESE FOLKTALE
From Chinese Fables and Folk Stories by Mary Hayes Davis, 1908
Once there was a Chinese merchant who sold flowers and fish. In the winter time the flowers and fish each had a separate house to live in, but one very cold winter the merchant said to his servants, “I think we must put the lily bulbs in the house with the fish. It s warmer there."
And a thousand and a a thousand narcissus bulbs which were growing for the great feast of the New Year were moved into the house with the fish.
This made the fish angry and that night they scolded the narcissus. “Friends,” said the fishes, “This is not your place and we will not have you here.” “We do not like your odor. You will spoil our people. When men pass by our door they will see only you.”
They will never see our family. You cannot help or do any good here; so you must go.”
“Every day a hundred and a hundred merchants and students come to visit us. If you stand by our door they will surely think the fish are all gone and there is nothing but flowers left.”
“We do not want our place to smell so strongly of flowers. We do not like. It is very bad and makes us sick.”
“The narcissus answered, “Strange, we were thinking the same thing about you.” “Some people say that fish have a bad odor but I have never heard it said of flowers. Let others decide.”
Then another flower spoke and said to the one who had been talking, “Hush sister, this is not our house. We will go tomorrow. Let the fishes say what they will about us and do not quarrel with them. All people know we are not bad and our fragrance is sweet.”
When the morning sunshine came the doors were opened and a thousand and thousand flowers had blossomed in the night, and the people said, “Oh how sweet!” “Even a fish house can be made pleasant." “We wish it could be like this all the time."
And one visitor said, “How sweet the place is.” “Do fishes or flowers live here?” And when he saw he said, “It is too bad to put flowers into evil smelling places.”
The three servants came to buy flowers. The servants bought three pots from the fish house, and the students said, “We do not want pots from the fish house. Give us others. They have a disagreeable smell like the fishes.”
The fishes heard all this and were even more angry at the flowers. But the flowers heard and were happy, and they said, “How foolish to quarrel and try to put evil on others.”
Beowulf – English Epic
Blue Hen’s Chicks – United States Folktale
Fate vs. Mind – Macedonian Folktale
The First Strawberries – Native American Legend
How Violence is Ended – Buddhist Legend
Little Rolling-Pea - Slavic Folktale
The Priest’s Soul - Irish Legend
When the Twins Went to War - Russian Fable
Why Cat Sits on the Doorstep in the Sun - Rumania Folktale