Surprise? Wonder? The unexpected? Stones surprise me. I can’t help being attracted to stones – as a three year old I happily spent summer hours digging holes in our back garden for them.
I don’t hoard stones – only have a couple at home that still ‘speak’ to me. Funny that.
Last year I had to photograph this beauty before I parted with it … gave it away as a Thank You note. The recipients were very gracious and said they’d put it in their garden.
It was the best one I’d found while I was walking along the shore at Glenelg, on Scotland’s west coast. I crunched along the rocky beach, looking over to Skye, listening to the soft swish of the water and the occasional sheep bleat from the hills. There wasn’t a soul around and then I looked down.
Look at all the stories in these stones. How did they get those marks? Where have they come from? How long ago? Is that a man’s face? What happened to him? I spent another happy hour searching.
When the sun went in, I stumbled away with the stones I couldn’t leave behind in my pocket.
Stories are like that.
When I think of a story about surprises and stones, I recall a favourite Tibetan folktale, an initiation story, called The Boy, His Sisters, and The Magic Horse from Gioia Timpanelli’s collection. (I’ve mentioned this story before in an earlier post.)
An old hunter’s young son refused to kill any animal. Next morning the boy’s surprised when his father leads him to a freshly dug hole and tells him to get in. Although he’s very afraid, the son does as he’s told and his father slides a big stone over the top. His father then scrapes on it “Open or not as you please” and walks away.
After some hours, while the boy sits motionless, but for the tears down his cheeks, three monks come walking past. They see the sign on the stone which makes them curious and they stop. If anything, most stones would usually have ‘Om mani padme hum‘ written on them. The lamas debate what to do, agree to open it up and are surprised to see a boy looking up at them. They help him out and the boy’s adventures begin …
Surprise is an essential elements in any story…as well as in everyday life…just have to stay involved and pay attention…never know what might happen next…when you least expect it…all part of coming to terms with the certainty of uncertainty.
Om mani padme hum. Wikipedia. Accessed 13 April 2017. (See photo of stone with this inscription)
TIMPANELLI, Gioia. The Boy, His Sisters and the Magic Horse in Tales from the Roof of the World: Folktales of Tibet. New York, Viking, 1984. pp 3- 13. (NB. Tale is also known as ‘The Young Man Who Refused to Kill.)
All text and photos by Meg
Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.