#834 Hell’s Menagerie by Kelly Gay

Hell's Menagerie by Kelly GayHell’s Menagerie by Kelly Gay

Emma knows her mother wouldn’t let her do this, that is, if her mother knew. By this, Emma means, going to Hell, to rescue a hell-hound and her puppies. She has her own hell-hound with her. Her mother has a special permit to keep him for studies.

Something nefarious has happened to the hell-hound and her puppy. The guess is that she’s at a zoo, of sorts. The zoo is just a tent with rows of cages. Strange animals from all three worlds are there. Emma has a special connection with the hell hounds. She can command them without really speaking to them. A terrible deal is made, a trade. One animal, for other animals. Emma’s not going to leave Hell while all those animals are still in cages. She’ll find a way to get them out.

What I liked

This idea of hell hounds being a tangible thing is interesting. I’ve watched my share of Supernatural, where hell hounds abounded for a while, but the idea of a hell-hound wasn’t exactly concrete in that series. Hell, as having animals, is an interesting concept to think about.

What I didn’t like

I don’t really like this idea of people going to Hell, not in the religious sense, nor in the sense that this book is using the idea of people going to Hell. The very idea of it is awful, even if it’s not a real place. The fact that someone would go there, either by choice, or not by choice, is pretty awful and I don’t like to think about it. I mean, hooray for Emma for all her sleuthing, but not hooray for going to Hell. If it were a place you could go to by walking, or whatever, I would strongly caution people against going there.

Overall

This is number one on a list of places not to go.

Weigh In

If Hell were a real place, you could walk to, would you ever consider going there?

What do you think about supernatural animals?

The Girl who Trod on the Loaf

The Girl who Trod on the LoafThe Girl who Trod on the Loaf

There was once a horrible girl named Inge. She was horrible to her own parents, but at one point went to live with another, wealthier family. She was horrible there too. The mother there suggested that Inge go home and visit her family every once in a while.

The first time Inge went she saw her mother and was ashamed, so she did not stay for a visit.

The second time Inge went she had been given a loaf of bread to give to her family. Her path took her through a bit of a swamp. Inge did not want to get her nice shoes dirty, so she put the loaf down and stepped on it instead of stepping into the water.

This did not help Inge at all. She sank down and down, until she sank all the way through the swamp and into Hell. There she could not sleep and she could not cry. She heard all the awful things people said about her. Her mother’s tears did not help her at all because she had been so awful. People knew about her deed with the bread and talked about it. Years and years passed.

A little girl once asked her mother about Inge and what her fate would be. Perhaps, if Inge repented she may be able to get out of the horrible place she was in. Years and years passed. The little girl was now an old woman who had prayed for Inge. When she died and went to heaven, Inge turned into a bird. She was the most helpful bird. She fed other birds as best she could. When she fed other birds food enough to equal the loaf in weight, her wings turned white and she flew up into heaven.

Observations

Inge must have been stupid too, otherwise she wouldn’t have thought it was a good idea to step on a loaf of bread. Bread is too soft to step on, even if it is a coarser bread. If the bread is so hard that it can, in fact, support your weight, then you probably shouldn’t eat it. That’s just indigestion in loaf form.

I feel likes Hans should have been a preacher. Here he is, telling a very Christian moral story, again. I would wager to guess, that if we could compare Hans life to what he was writing at the time, we would find some type of religious fervor during this portion of Hans’ life. Maybe Hans had even taken a liking to someone who was religious during this time period.

il_340x270.594771232_ixchThemes

Inge is a brat. There is no nice way of saying this. She is horrible. She was a horrible child, both her families said so. How did she even end up with two families? Maybe it was that the first family got so tired of having her around that they let her out. Then maybe the second family got so tired of having her around that they sent her to visit her first family for some peace and quiet.

As many times as I have said that a parent can damage a child’s moral compass by incorrect rearing and a bratty child is often a product of bad parenting, there are just some children that are bad. I don’t think either of Inge’s families were terrible to her. The story doesn’t go that into detail, but it doesn’t sound as if she was being beaten or deprived. In fact, the story says that she had nice clothes. She was being well provided for. It doesn’t seem as if she was getting any treatment that turns a child into a brat.

While I do say that Inge is bad, I don’t think she’s inherently evil; I think she’s more prone to misbehavior and a sour attitude. She is one of those children that need a creative method of punishment and instruction. If a spanking or time out doesn’t work, you try something else. She’s a child that doesn’t fit into a mold. She’s the kid you call Super Nanny for.

The problem is that it takes a lot of time and effort to deal with a child like Inge, well, at least if you want him or her to be a normally behaved child. Not everybody has the time or the resources to do this; there are also some parents who just flat-out don’t care. They give up on a child like this. Did Inge’s two families do this to her? I have no idea.

Inge reminds me of a child of a cousin. This young woman has always been the biggest handful and has been pretty much impossible to deal with her entire life, she still is. Age didn’t make it any better. She’s like Inge. Maybe one day she’ll straighten up, like Inge, but hopefully it won’t take as many years as it took Inge to repent of her wrong doings.

Despite the fact that Inge is a brat, her punishment was a little severe, a lot severe actually. You don’t go to Hell because you stepped on a perfectly good loaf of bread. That may be awfully selfish and uncaring of you, but you’re not going to Hell because of it.

This is a story meant to scare children into behaving properly. Don’t be like Inge. Don’t be so selfish and uncaring; you might go to Hell.

I have a difficult time putting faith behind any religion that believes a child would end up in Hell, purgatory, or whatever form of Hell that the religion believes in. They’re children and they may be brats, but they’re not going to be eternally judged before they’re old enough to know better.

Overall

I feel bad for Inge because she was over-punished, but I also don’t feel bad for her because she was a brat.

Weigh In

Do you feel as if Inge truly got what she deserved?

Do you think children of Inge’s age should be held eternally responsible for their deeds?

The Gnome

The GnomeSummary

The Gnome is not a story about your traditional yard gnome, roaming gnome, or David the gnome. It’s a story about a gnome who is kind of a jerk, but also kind of stupid. Actually, this story has less to do with the gnome than it lets on. This story has many similarities to other Grimm’s fairy tales.

Once upon a time there was a king who had a garden. In that garden was a beautiful apple tree. When the apples were ripe they turned a blood-red hue that tempted all. The king had placed something of a hex, or curse, or what have you on this apple tree. Anyone who harvested an apple from this tree would be wished a hundred fathoms underground.

His three daughters, who were beautiful, would often sit under the tree hoping one of the apples would fall on the ground. They never found an apple purely by chance. One day, the youngest decided that her father would only wish strangers underground and not his own daughters. She plucked a large apple from the tree and bit into it. It was the most delicious thing. She encouraged her sisters to try it, but after they had done so, they sunk down into the ground a hundred fathoms.

Later in the evening, the king wished to call his daughters to dinner, but they could not be found. He did not know of the apple situation. He sent out a decree that if any man could find his three daughters, that man could have one of them for his wife. Many men tried and many men failed. They looked all over the  face of the Earth, but the princesses were not on the face of the Earth.

Three huntsmen decided to look for the three princesses. They went out into the world for eight days and came to a castle. No one was home, but there was a table covered with the most beautiful food. It was still warm, in fact, it was so warm that steam was still rising from it. They waited hours and hours for someone to come back to the castle, but no one ever did, so they decided to eat the food. It was all quite delicious.

The huntsmen decided that they wanted to stay in this castle. They decided that one man would always stay in the castle while the other two went out and searched for the princesses. The first day, the oldest huntsman stayed. A little mannikin came to the door. He asked for some bread. The eldest huntsman gave him some, but the mannikin promptly dropped the piece of bread on the ground. The mannikin asked the huntsman to pick the piece of bread up and while the huntsman bent down to retrieve the bread, the mannikin beat him. Later that day, the other two huntsman came home and asked him how he had fared and he had to reply that he did not fare well at all.

The next day the second huntsman fared no better. The older two did not like the younger huntsman. They actually called him Stupid Hans. They didn’t tell him about this little gnome man. When it was his turn to stay home, the little gnome appeared and played his same trick, but Hans wasn’t going to put up with this. He fussed at the little man. He told him that if he wanted his daily bread so badly, he should pick it up himself. Then he grabbed the little gnome and beat the living-daylights out of him.

The gnome had information. He told Hans that if he spared his life, he would tell him where the three princesses were. He also gave him a caution that the other two huntsman would not deal kindly with him. He relayed that there were a thousand other gnomes just like him. The three princesses were in three rooms underground. Each of the rooms held a dragon, with nine heads, that each princess was tasked with delousing. The way into these rooms was by an empty well. The gnome also said to take a bell and a hunting knife.

When the other two came home, they asked Hans how his day had went and he said, “Pretty good.” He told them about the gnome showing up and what he had done. He told them what the gnome had said. They were angry. They all went down to the well together on the next day. The deal was that the men would be lowered in a basket to the bottom of the well. If they rang the bell, they should be brought up immediately. The first huntsman was barely in the well when the bell rang. He was brought up. The second huntsman was also barely in the well when the bell rang, but Hans made it all the way to the bottom without ringing the bell.

He went to explore the rooms. In the first room he saw a princess with a nine-headed dragon. He used his knife to cut off its nine heads. He then went to each room and did the same. He saved all three princesses and sent them up one by one in the basket. When it was his turn to go up in the basket, he remembered the gnome’s caution. He, instead, put a large rock in the basket and not himself. When the basket was partially up the well shaft, the two other huntsman cut the rope, which sent the basket and the rock they believed to be Hans, crashing to the bottom of the well. They thought Hans was dead.

Hans was left at the bottom of the well in the rooms. He did not know what to do. Meanwhile, the other two huntsman took the three daughters back to their father and demanded two of them for wives. The king was pleased and soon arranged the weddings. Hans was in the underground rooms still. He wandered and paced until the floor was quite smooth. He saw the dead dragon heads and knew they would be of no help, but on a wall he saw a flute. He knew there could be no merriment so far below the Earth, but he tried the flute anyway. As soon as he blew a note, a gnome appeared. With each note the flute sounded, another gnome appeared.

When there were quite a few gnomes, they asked Hans what he desired. He told them he wanted to be out and into the daylight. They grabbed him by every hair upon his head and flew him up the well. He went to the king. When the princesses saw him they fainted because they thought he was dead. The king had Hans thrown into prison because he thought Hans had been very bad to his daughters. The princesses woke up from their faint. They told their father to let Hans out, but they could not tell him why because the two huntsman had told them not to tell.

The king told his three daughters to tell their sorrows to the iron stove. He listened outside the door. He heard everything. He let Hans out of prison. Hans was awarded the youngest daughter. The other two huntsman were hanged.

“on that occasion I wore a pair of glass shoes, and I struck them against a stone, and they said “Klink” and were broken.”

The End

The GnomeObservations

We have this combination of three men again. It’s shown up several times. Of these three men, the youngest is always the stupid one or the one that nobody likes. It’s no different in this story. He’s named Hans on top of it all, Hans being the name we’ve been using in the Grimm’s anthology to denote a man of lesser intelligence.

We also have three princesses again. Why do children come in threes in the world of the Grimm’s stories? No, you can’t just have two kids. You either have one child or you have three kids. There is no more or no less. Well, except for those stories about seven brothers or twelve brothers. Then you have a whole passel of children.

I do not know why the story ends the way it does, the quoted portion. This is almost the same ending that the story Hans Married has. Maybe it’s the same ending because Hans gets married in each tale. We often see glass shoes as belonging to Cinderella, but if you’ve been following along, we know that glass shoes do not belong to Cinderella. She had golden shoes.

As far as delousing, I don’t think reptiles can get lice, but I could be wrong. I’m pretty sure lice are more of a mammalian woe, but again, I could be wrong. I do know that birds can get various mites and there might be some sort of insect that plagues reptiles. I’m not a zoologist. Of course, this whole argument would depend on the fact that dragons are reptiles and they actually exist.

Why are stoves confessionals? Ah, I’ve got it, I’ll explain below.

Just as an observation, I think I would like to have a yard gnome.

The GnomeThemes

The number three makes a big appearance in this tale, but what is standing out against everything else in this story is temptation. Everyone can be tempted, everyone can sin, and everyone can be punished for that sin. No one is excluded. The king made this hex, this rule, this judgement that whoever plucked an apple from his tree would be sent deep underground. He did not include any exceptions, not even for his own children, who you would think might get some special treatment. They do not. They are equalized with everyone else.

This tale does have a religious basis, just as many of the other Grimm’s tales have had. It’s not as openly discussed as in some of the other tales, but it is definitely there.

Let’s dissect it. The king is God. He says, “Here’s the garden and here’s the apple tree, but whosoever eats from this apple tree will die.” Well, that is what God says in Genesis anyway. The three daughters, like Adam and Eve, believe they will not die, they will not be punished. They are too special to be punished. You could even say that two of the daughters represent Adam and Eve while the youngest represents the serpent himself. I would actually lean more towards the youngest daughter being Eve and the older two daughters representing Adam. There is never really any distinction between the two older daughters. Adam and Eve eat the apple and they are cast out of the garden of Eden. The daughters eat the apple and are punished just as their father said.

If you ask a variety of Christians, who believe in Hell, where Hell is, they will tell you that Hell is underground. It’s in some deep cavern full of fire and lava. There’s a lake of fire and brimstone there. Where are the daughters banished to? Underground, and therefore, Hell.

Their father wants them back. He wants them to return just as God would want his children to return to his presence in heaven. Three men go in search of these daughters. They are hidden away in the dark weighed down with terrible tasks. The mission of the three men is to bring them back into the light. Hans succeeds in bringing all three princesses back into the light. He frees them from their burdens of sin. He facilitates their journey back to their father. Unfortunately, Hans is weighed down by some darkness himself for a while because the other two betray him and he feels angry at them. He holds a grudge, which would be akin to not forgiving someone in the world of religion. When he asks for aid from others, he is able to go back into the light himself.

Here’s the most telling part, in the judgement of the King(God) everything is meted out correctly in the end. Hans gets his reward while the two dishonest huntsmen are punished for their deeds that only came to light during a confession.

Let’s discuss the stove.This is at least the second tale in which a stove acts as a confessional. Why? What does a stove do? It burns things right? You put wood or coal into a stove. It creates heat. It changes the matter of whatever you fuel it with. Heat can do a lot of neat things. Immense heat and pressure can make a diamond. Heat can be applied to mined ores to burn away impurities from the mineral that you do want. That is what we want to get at. The scriptures do mention “the refiner’s fire.” The refiner is the guy who is applying heat to those ores. The refiner is the guy taking a hunk of rock and turning it into nice, smooth silver.

For those of you who have the element of “confession” in your religion, no matter what kind of religion it may be, the confession serves as part of your purification process from sin. You are being forgiven, and as a result, refined and purified.

People confess to stoves in these stories because the stoves is symbolic of the whole repentance process.

Overall

This story is a little religion heavy for me. I think it’s clever, and not clever in the “clever Hans” sense, but, clever in the correct way. I liked the gnomes. I did not know that gnomes could fly, that’s a first for me.


The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs

The Devil with the Three Golden HairsSummary

The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs is not a familiar Grimm’s story, but we run into this situation where the story is not familiar, but elements of it are. It’s a quest story and may seem similar to another very well-known story you’ve heard.

Once upon a time a baby was born with the caul on his head. In folklore, in many cultures, it is believed a child born with a caul on their head is destined for greatness or has a second sight. The caul being a part of the amniotic membrane that just happens to be stuck to a baby’s head after it is born. If you read a lot of folklore, you will come across this reference again.

Immediately, it was prophesied that this boy would marry the king’s daughter when he was fourteen. The king just happened to be in the area and he wasn’t a very nice king. He heard about the prophesy and paid the parents of the boy a great amount of gold if they would give the boy to him. The parents thought this was the right thing to do since a baby born with the caul on its head would surely have good fortune no matter where he was raised.

The Devil with the Three Golden HairsInstead of raising the baby, the king put the baby in a box and three it in the river. The king expected the baby to die. He didn’t. The box floated on down the river until it came to an area where a mill was. Another boy fished the box out hoping that it was treasure. He was disappointed when he found a baby inside, but the miller and his wife had no children so the boy took the baby to them. There they raised the boy until he was fourteen.

The king happened to see the boy one day and asked the miller if it was his son. The miller told him that the boy was not his son, but a foundling. He told the king how the boy had come from the river. The king knew it was the same baby he had tried to get rid of fourteen years ago, so he decided to try to get rid of the boy once again. He tasked the boy with taking a letter to the queen. Everyone agreed on it. The letter was not a pleasant letter though. It actually said that as soon as the boy got to the queen he should be killed.

The boy set out, but got a little lost on the way. He came to a cottage where there was an old woman. He asked to stay the night. She told him the cottage belonged to robbers and they would kill him. The boy said he was not afraid of robbers and stayed anyway. He was very tired. When the robbers came back they asked who the boy was and the woman told them that she felt sorry for him so she let him stay the night. He was tasked with delivering a letter to the queen. The robbers were a bit curious about this letter so they opened it up. When they saw that the letter said to kill the boy they felt sorry for him. So they tore up that letter and wrote a new one. This letter said that the boy should be married to the king’s daughter right away.

The Devil with the Three Golden HairsThe next morning the boy got up and was on his way. When he got to the castle he gave the letter to the queen who did as it asked right away. The boy was married to the princess in his fourteenth year. Everyone was happy, until the king came home. When he came home he told the queen what he had originally written and was mad. He asked the boy about the letter who knew nothing about the letters being switched. The king told the boy who he couldn’t have everything his way and he told the boy that if he brought him three golden hairs from the devil the boy could stay married to his daughter. The boy said that he would get those three golden hairs.

He set off on a journey, which led him to a large town where the watchman asked him a question. First of all, he asked the boy what his trade was and the boy said that he knew everything. Then the watchman asked another question. He told the boy about a fountain which used to flow with wine, but not it didn’t. His question was why did the fountain not flow with wine anymore. The boy said he would give the man an answer to his question, but on his way back through town.

He came to another town where a gatekeeper asked him what he did and he gave the same answer, “I know everything.” He told the boy about a tree which used to bear golden apples, but now leaves wouldn’t even grow on it. Why was this? The boy said he would tell the gatekeeper why this was, but on his way back through town.

He came to a wide river where there was a ferryman who also asked him what he did. The boy gave the same answer. The ferryman then asked him why he must always go backwards and forth and could never be free? The boy said he would give him an answer, but on the way back over the ferry.

Soon the boy found the entrance to hell which was all sooty and black. He went right in and asked for the devil, but the devil wasn’t home. His grandmother was though(seriously, the devil has a grandmother?). The boy told the devil’s grandmother that he was there to get three golden hairs from the devil or he couldn’t keep his wife. The devil’s grandmother felt pity on him, so she said she would help. She turned him into an ant and hid him in the folds of her dress. The boy also asked the devil’s grandmother the three questions that had been asked to him on the way. The devil’s grandmother said to pay close attention to what the devil said when she was pulling each of the three golden hairs.

The devil came home and spelled something funny. He said he smelled man’s flesh, but his grandmother said that was nonsense and that his nose always smelt of man flesh and that he was messing up the house she just cleaned. The devil was placated and asked the grandmother to delouse him for a bit.

The Devil with the three golden hairs*Ok. here’s the thing…back in the day, it was pretty common to have lice, like all the time. People didn’t bath as often and lived in the buildings with their animals. They were quite prone to getting lice. Yes, people would help each other pick nits and lice out of each others hair. You may think this sounds gross, but this was just the time that people lived in.*

The devil soon fell asleep. The grandmother plucked one of the devil’s golden hairs. He woke up angry and asked what it was all about. The grandmother told him she had accidentally pulled his hair in a dream. She said it was the most terrible dream about a fountain that used to run with wine, but no longer did. She asked the devil why this was. He said it was because there was a large toad living in the well that should be killed. When the toad was dead the wine would flow again. Now go back to sleep.

After a while, the grandmother pulled another hair. The devil woke up again and was angry. The devil’s grandmother once again said she had a bad dream. She said that she dreamed about an apple tree which bore golden apples, but now wouldn’t even bear leaves. She asked why this was. The devil said there is a mouse gnawing at the roots. Once the mouse is killed the tree will bear golden apples and leaves again. Now go back to sleep.

Again, the grandmother pulls another hair from the devil. He was very angry when the last hair was pulled so he was very angry this time. Grandmother just says, “Hey a person can’t help having a bad dream can they?” The devil pretty much agrees and she tells him about her latest dream. She dreamt about a ferryman who was always going backwards and forth and was never free. How could he become free. The devil tells her that the ferryman must put his oar in someone else’s hand when they get on the ferry. Then he can go free. Now go back to sleep. I would like to think the devil was channeling the book Go the F*** to sleep and reading it in the voice of Samuel Jackson.

The devil goes back to sleep. The devil’s grandmother turns the boy back into a man and gives him the three golden hairs. He goes on his way. He comes to the ferryman first. He tells the ferryman he will answer his question, but first he must ferry him across. The ferryman takes him to the other side of the river and the boy tells him that all he has to do is put his oar in the hand of another person when they get on the ferry, then he can leave.

The boy goes to the town with the unfruitful apple tree. He tells them that they must kill the mouse that is gnawing at the roots of the three at it will bear fruit again. They were impressed and really grateful, so they gave him two donkeys loaded with gold. He then comes to the first town with the dry well. There he tells them that they must kill the toad at the bottom of the well, then the fountain will run with wine again. These people were impressed and grateful so they also gave him two donkeys loaded with gold.

The boy went back to the castle where the gave the three golden hairs from the devil to the king. The king pretty much has to say, “Alright, you can stay married to my daughter,” but he is also impressed with all the gold. He asks the boy where he got it and if anyone could get some. The boy tells him, “Sure, anyone can get some.” He says that he must go to a ferryman and go across the river and he could fill his sacks with as much gold as he wanted. The king is like, “That seems legit.” So he goes off.

He reaches the ferryman in question, which is the same ferryman from earlier and the ferryman gives the king his oar and says, “I quit have fun.” The king was stuck rowing the ferry for the rest of his days and maybe he’s still doing it.

The End

The Devil with the Three Golden HairsObservations

This is definitely a longer Grimm’s tale than we’re used to around here. The summary was almost two thousand words.

Notice this is a quest story, the boy is sent on a quest, but he is also destined for greatness from the beginning. He grew up in a home other than the home he should have grown up in. He was set down the river in a box. He was promoted to a very high position almost by accident and had to prove himself throughout the story. Does this sound familiar? It should. That’s right MOSES!

Moses was also destined for greatness, sent down the river, raised by parents who were not his own, raised to greatness, and had to prove himself. Remember those ten plagues he brought down on Egypt to prove he had been sent by God? I can’t attest to Moses being born with the caul on his head, the scriptures don’t say anything about that. Here’s another little tidbit, depending on which scriptures you read, you will also find that Moses also had a little run in with the devil, just like the boy in this story. It didn’t involve any golden hairs though.

Hmm…gold, that’s another thing to notice in this story. Gold is mentioned three times. We also have the number three parading itself all over this tale.

The Devil with the three golden hairsI find it odd that the devil has a grandmother. I guess everyone needs looking after, but one would think the devil is devoid of any feeling. He clearly dotes on his grandmother in this tale. Here’s another thing, belief in the devil does waver from religion to religion, but generally, most people believe the devil has always been the devil and he’s always been a jerk. That isn’t always the case. According to some, the devil once lived in heaven and was only cast out onto the Earth when he wanted to take away choice from the sons and daughters of God. The devil was once just like you or me according to this look at the idea. He once probably felt care for others and had maybe even had some friends, but now, he’s just a jerk. It’s not often that we find a story in which the devil is depicted in a lighter manner than usual.

That is actually very unusual. It makes me wonder about the origins of this story. We have these stories where the devil is more playful like the story of the jack-o-lantern, but he’s always still a jerk. In this story, he isn’t so much of a jerk. He’s more human. It really makes me wonder, who thought this story up? What were their religious leanings? Where did they live? Stories travel and there is no reason this story did not travel to Germany from somewhere else.

Why wasn’t it the devil’s sister, or the devil’s brother, or the devil’s father, or the devil’s grandfather instead of the devil’s grandmother? Well, the simple answer to that is that grandmothers are awesome and always wise, just like the devil’s grandmother in this tale. She isn’t above his trickery though, which is kind of funny. For all the evil things the devil does the grandmother is the one lying about pulling his hair out in her sleep while dreaming a nightmare. She’s got some spunk.

The Devil with the three golden hairsThemes

Three, gold, and the anointed will always be the anointed are themes in this tale. We have the number three which is a number of completeness and a number of proving. The boy answers three questions, and receives three golden hairs. He is also saved three times. He is saved when the king first means to drown him. He is saved when the robbers switch his letter out. He is also saved when the devil’s  grandmother takes pity on him and helps him out with getting the devil’s hairs. Three this, three that, over and over, and over again.

Gold is mentioned three times in this tale. We have mention of gold being paid to the birth parents of the boy. We have mention of the golden apple tree and we have mention of the boy bringing back four donkeys of gold. I don’t know what the number four symbolizes in all of this, I’ll have to research it. Remember what I told you about gold always being accepted as valuable? That’s the same thing here. Gold will always be set as this symbol of wealth in these stories. No matter what time you exist in, gold is always worth something. We get a gold medal if we are the top winner in the Olympics, not a silver medal or a bronze metal, although, those are nice as well. Gold is the king. Notice none of these tales are ever about a boy who goes out and comes back with a bunch of silver. It just wouldn’t have the same ring to it, the same golden ring that is.

The anointed, let’s talk about that. This boy was anointed, chosen, elected, prophesied, touched, etc., etc., etc., from the time of his birth to do great things and nothing was going to change that. NOTHING. The king tried. How many times did the king try to thwart this prophesy? Twice. Twice the king tried to foil the plans of destiny or God or whomever. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. There is no, oh, well, only on second Tuesdays or only without another coupon disclaimers going on, they said this boy was going to marry the king’s daughter when he was fourteen and it happened despite all the meddling of the king.

We usually have this concept in biblical stories. There are some other tales in which we run into this theme, but generally, this theme has its place in the Bible. In the real world, we generally believe, that you can prophesy all you want about how you’re going to play for the NBA, but A) we’ll believe it when we see it and B) there are multitudes of injuries and addictions you can develop to keep you from the NBA. It’s not a sure thing. When we talk about this theme in relation to the Bible, it’s a little more concrete. If it’s prophesied that it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.

The Devilwith the three golden hairsRemember the story of Jonah from the Bible. Jonah didn’t want to go to Ninevah. God told him to go to Ninevah. God said, “Get your butt over there.” Jonah, was like, “No, I don’t feel like it,” and he tried to go somewhere else instead. Well, what happened. Well, there was a great storm and the guys on the boat threw Jonah overboard and he was swallowed by a great fish and was in its belly for three days. Jonah ended up in Ninevah anyway. He got swallowed by a big fish along the way, but it still happened.

It’s this concept that destiny is unmovable. It’s your fate you can’t change it. Some people believe in fate and some people don’t. If someone has you picked out to be the next Donald Trump is it fate if it happens or is it your hard work? If it doesn’t happen does that mean fate was wrong or that you made the wrong choices. If you don’t want to be the next Donald Trump do you have to do it anyway because fate said you had to?

The Devil with the three golden hairsThere is a story from The Book of Mormon that reminds me of this story. In the BoM, there is a man called Alma the younger. He’s a brat, but he was also a prophet at one point. When he is young he is mean to people. He probably goes to strip clubs. He runs around in a gang of boys doing terrible things. I don’t know all the terrible things he did, I wasn’t there. Anyway, the idea goes that God had him picked out to be a prophet from the start, or rather that God decided all men who were prophets would be prophets before they were even born, that sort of thing. Here he was being this terrible brat, but God straightened that out pretty fast. Alma saw an angel and  was stuck in some in-between for three days and when he came to, he knew he had done some terrible things and should now walk the straight and narrow. He still becomes a prophet even though he was “wicked” for a while.

On the one hand, this idea of your fate being set is kind of nice. It means no matter what you do, as long as you are destined to do a thing, it’s going to happen. So you’re destined to discover a cure for cancer. Well, with a sealed fate you can goof off in school, drop out, get a GED, sell oranges by the freeway, then accidentally discover the cure for cancer while you’re trying to blow up your next door neighbor because he keeps stealing your newspaper. You can be a screw-up otherwise, but still do something great.

On the other hand, it seems cruel to the people who actually try to better themselves. What about those thousands of doctors who actually do research cancer to try to find a cure? Aren’t they just as worthy to find a cure as you are, if not more because they didn’t screw up their educations?

Here’s a word “predestination.”

1.The act of predestining or the condition of being predestined.

2. Theology

       a. The doctrine that God has foreordained all things, especially that God has elected certain souls to eternal salvation.
       b. The divine decree foreordaining all souls to either salvation or damnation.
       c. The act of God foreordaining all things gone before and to come.
3. Destiny; fate.
This is what we’re talking about in this story. We’re talking about this idea that it’s going to happen no matter what you do. You can scream. You can beg. You can plead. You can cry. You can run away. You can change your identity. You can fake your own death, but in the end, it still happens. Simba was going to be the king no matter what.
It’s an argument, which will probably never come to any real conclusion. I am sure, even many years from now, people will still be arguing over the idea of fate versus hard work.

The Devil with the three golden hairsOverall

I am sure there are many more things I could pick out of this tale. It’s a long story and perhaps there are other themes to look at and other symbols to explore. Maybe someday I’ll pick everything out that I can find, but today is not that day.