A few years ago, I bought a book of Aesop's Fables at a local bookstore in Boston. The yellowed pages stank of old glue, and the dusty jacket bore the unmistakable musk of aged paper. I loved that store. There wasn't any semblance of order. You wandered the aisles, discovering new tomes of lore and fantasy, feeling your way through the labyrinth yet never quite lost. You just can't get that at a Barnes and Noble.
Anyway, I bought this book, this collection of famous fables, as a teaching tool. Aesop's Fables are renown for good reason. They resonate. They function. And no matter what your age or occupation or education, you can find one or two that connect perfectly with your life.
Even if you've never read the collection, you are certainly familiar with Aesop. His works have endured since 600 BCE. You have undoubtedly heard of the Lion and the Mouse, or the Boy Who Cried Wolf. What do these stories have in common?
Fables and Parables serve a function. While they are stories in their own way, they are better seen as lessons. A parable deconstructs a preconceived notion, or addresses a harsh truth, or reveals a known secret. In some ways, these tales may seem to cover the most common of common-sense, and yet there is a deeper meaning to be found.
For me, the lesson is simple: It is easier to learn from the mistakes of others than from our own.
Watching a boy suffer consequences due to his pathological need to lie hits home far greater than any finger-wagging from a teacher ever could.
Seeing a mouse and a lion bridge their animosity through mutual concern and care works more for me than being preached a lesson on generosity.
In that same vein, author Chuck Wendig offers us this story of the Doormakers. It won't take you long to suss out the meaning behind his words, and the underlying message implied. What I'm going to ask is that you read through to the end. Allow the parable to transport you into a mind that is not your own. Forget the ineffectual lessons of your past and try to see the world through the eyes of nameless characters.
If you want to discuss it all after, I'll be right here.