The Ball: A Fable

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So you want to hear a story, is that right?

Yes.

Okay, then I’ll tell a story to you…even you, over there in the corner.  Come closer.

The boys did as they were told.

A story?  Well, if you don’t mind I’d rather call it a Fable.  That is if you don’t really mind.  Fables are more interesting.  They’re more…scary.  They’re sometimes more difficult to understand because they often have a “moral” at the end.

Moral?

Yes, a kind of lesson that you are to take away from the Fable.

You mean like don’t go into gingerbread houses where old witches live?

Something like that.

So tell us a Fable!

Once upon a time, long ago and in a distant land, a boy was born.  When he was very very young, his parents gave him a ball.  In some stories the ball is made of pure gold.  In my telling, the gold is not the important thing.  This boy’s ball was silver.  But, really, it doesn’t matter what the ball was made from.  It’s what the ball meant to the boy.  His parents told him that the ball was made of all the special little things inside the boy that made him happy…gave him pleasure…gave him assurances that this world was the best of all possible worlds and that Right and Goodness will always prevail over the Evil, Decay and Sadness that lurks all around.

When the boy played with the ball, he always felt warm and happy inside.  On days when the ball was difficult to find, the boy was sad and bewildered.  But, the ball hardly ever left the boy’s side.

He grew up and became a handsome, strong man and true.  He met a beautiful young woman.  The boy fell deeply in love with her and when the time was right, they married.  Their life together was full of joy and happiness.  All their dreams and plans they made when they courted, began to come true.  The boy (now a man) felt the pure inner peace of mind and heart that only few young men experience.

One night…one profound night of bitter and evil luck, the man dropped the ball.  It broken into 10,000 shards of crystal.  There was no hope to ever reconstruct the ball.  It was broken.  It was gone.

Beginning on that very night, the man began to feel that his life was less than whole.  That his happiness was to be short-lived.  His view of the world took on a dark hue.  He never was again able to find the joy and pleasure in the simple things of life.

His spirit of discovery and curiosity began to wither and die.  He rarely laughed.  He began to seek out pleasure where no God-fearing man should go.  He longed for the joy of youth.  He despised himself for losing it and the ball.

He spent the rest of his life seeking the ball.  He tried to recover what he had lost.  But it was not to happen.

Did he die young?

No, he lived to be quite old.  But he never stopped looking for that ball.

And, all this time, his beloved wife was declining as well.  She too took on the sadness of someone who loses something they love.  But, it was not losing her husband that gave her the dark feelings.  On their deathbeds, they confessed to each other.  The young man knew why he suffered but he never understood why his wife did as well.

You see, children, she was given a ball when she was young.  She broke the ball by accident about the time the man broke his.  And, together they spent most of their lives looking for that ball.  The ball they never found.

That’s the moral?

I guess so.  Do you all have your secret little ball tucked away safely?  If you do, take care not to break it.  Because, as long as you possess that ball, you won’t see the things that make you unhappy.  Your curiosity and wonder of life will remain with you always.