Urbanus

UrbanusUrbanus

There was once a monk named Urbanus. He was tasked with keeping the keys to the library. He wrote many things and often studied the scriptures. One  day he sought to have some time to think about the words of the Lord and went out into the garden. In the garden there was a small bird which sang beautifully. Urbanus followed it for a few minutes listening to its voice.

We he turned to go back, everything was different. The church was much bigger. The graveyard was populated with graves that he did not recognize. There were three towers where there had been none before. He finally made his way inside, where no one recognized him. The abbot finally asked him what creature he was and how had he been called forth from the dead.

A book was brought forth from the library. It told a story of Urbanus, a monk who mysteriously disappeared three-hundred years before. Urbanus had wondered about the mysteries of God and had been caught up in a mystery himself. Urbanus realized he was but dust and with that he really did turn to dust and that was the end of Urbanus.

Observations

Hans certainly had a bit of an affinity for time travel.

Before there were printing presses, and actually for a time after, books were scarce because they were hand-copied. There may be a Bible in every hotel night-stand drawer in America, but Bibles weren’t always so easy to come by. They were copied out by hand. Have you seen how bit the Bible is? We’re talking thousands of pages copied, by hand, by monks. This is what they did all day long for years. Carpal tunnel much?

Themes

This is the last fairy tale in Hans’ collection. It’s the last one that was published, although it was published posthumously. Hans probably wrote this tale not long before he died, thus why it wasn’t published while he was still alive. He was obviously thinking about death and about religion and about an afterlife. Where would he go? What would happen to his soul? Did he understand the mysteries of God anymore than he did when he was young? Hans was old; he knew he wasn’t going to be too terribly much longer on the Earth. He probably came to a very clear realization that death catches up with all of us, no matter who we may be, and that really, we all return back to the same thing…dust.

Overall

Farewell to Hans.

Weigh In

Do you think Hans was as faithful as his writing made him sound?

What is with Hans and time travel?

The Poor Woman and the Little Canary Bird

The Poor Woman and the Little Canary Bird The Poor Woman and the Little Canary Bird

There once was an old woman so poor that she could not afford a casket for her recently deceased husband. A canary flew in through the window and sang happily to her. The old woman fed it. Another woman came in and said it had been in the papers that a family was missing a canary and that this might be the very bird.

The old woman took the canary to the family who was so happy to have the bird back that they paid for the casket for her husband and invited her to dinner. The old woman prayed to God and thanked him for sending the canary to her.

Observations

Any time I hear of a bird being returned to its owners, I find it quite remarkable. Birds can fly away. One of my friends in Okinawa actually found a parakeet just flying around outside. Someone had lost it and she took it as her pet when no one reported one missing. She had it for a while.

Themes

This canary was such a small thing, but it caused great things to happen for the old woman. Small things can lead to very big things. Maybe that dime on the sidewalk is just a dime, or maybe it’s going to lead you to an entirely different life. No one can really for sure. As the scriptures say, “By small and simple things shall great things come to pass.”

Overall

This was a sweet little story.

Weigh In

What would have happened had the woman not encountered the canary?

Is the family better off for having known the woman?

Folks Say

Folks SayFolks Say

Folks say that the age of miracles is past. Folks say that our feelings and thoughts arise from vibrations. Folks say that Sarah called her son Isaac because people would laugh. Folks say many things and often times mean something entirely different when they say them.

Observations

Yes, that’s what folks says.

Themes

People talk, a lot; people talk all the time. What someone says may not mean a darn thing, but that doesn’t stop that person from saying that thing. Words can be so full, but also so incredibly empty. I could write two-thousand words on this post, and none of them may mean a thing or make any difference to anybody, but hopefully, what I’m writing does mean something. What people say often is not what really is. So ultimately, don’t count the things people say for so much.

Overall

Words can be just words.

Weigh In

Do you think we speak too many empty words?

Should every single word could for something?

The Penman

The PenmanThe Penman

There was once a man in office who had terrible handwriting. He hired another man with beautiful handwriting to write all of his letters and documents. This went quite well for a week or so. The penman got so full of himself that he thought he should hold office. So he wrote all manner of things, none of it very good. This eventually killed the man and he died, but was memorialized by someone who could write, which is quite sad.

Observations

Handwriting, while still important, is not as important as it used to be. People wrote letters and hand-wrote documents. The Declaration of Independence was photocopied, someone wrote that out by hand, and if you wanted another copy, someone had to copy out another one by hand. Being as this man was someone in an office of some sort, it would have been fairly important for him to have good hand-writing. He would have been writing to all kinds of people and the correspondence would have been quite important.

Themes

The penman thought that just because he was good at one thing, he would be good at another. Well, he wasn’t. Just because you can throw a ball, doesn’t mean that you can figure out the physics of why it went where it went. You may just be good at one part of something, not the entire thing. Maybe there is a person who can throw a baseball and then break down the physics of it afterward, but I’m betting most people just know how to throw a ball and then there are separate people who could tell you the physics of it.

Overall

You’re probably not good at everything, but you are good at some things.

Weigh In

Is the talent of hand-writing less than the talent of being able to write about something?

Does one talent take more effort than the other?

Croak

CroakCroak

The animals of the forest wanted a newspaper and they also wanted a newspaper critic to critique the singing of the birds. Some said a bird should hold the position, while others suggested fish, because they were fairly close to birds, as both flew through something. One suggested a frog. Frogs had good voices and could be somewhat impartial to the singing of the birds.

Other things were suggested and it was decided that the newspaper would be called Croak. Various articles would be written, by animals who were good at certain subjects. The newspaper would be for all the common animals of the forest. No hoity-toity animals would write for the newspaper. That’s just how things would go.

Observations

I suppose frogs could be good judges of singing. Tree frogs in particular make some melodious noises. I grew up listening to them in the trees. It’s what the night sounded like. My brother thought frogs lived under his bed because there were so many around. He was a weird kid, don’t ask.

Themes

This isn’t about animals, as you might have guessed. This story is meant to mirror humans, more specifically, this story is meant to mirror humans who are challenging class structures that have been around for a long time. They’re challenging the structure in order to have their voices heard. Sure, there was a voice, but it wasn’t a voice that represented them. There is a reason certain animals were not chosen to write in Croak. They were considered to be aristocratic, if you will, and therefore, not a proper indication of what the common animal thinks or faces in day-to-day life.

You wouldn’t want some billionaire trying to tell your story. They have no idea what you go through every day. They cannot comprehend your life. They don’t know what you need. They could guess, but they’d probably be wrong. Needs, wants, and ideas are, in fact, different depending on where you are in a social class. If you’re in a class whose voice is not heard, it can be difficult to get the things you need. Something like Croak in this story is the perfect way for the voice of a class to be heard.

Overall

I wonder what other types of articles were in Croak.

Weigh In

Do you think media can be biased towards one class of people?

Do you think there are people whose stories are not represented in the media?