Today my small Eighth stone is a bit long and in the form of a story prompted by Susan Daniel’s post. Please, humour me.
I was quite little when my mother narrated this story to me. “There was once a poor widow with three children. One evening there was nothing to eat at home. Her children were hungry but she had nothing to give them. Unable to bear their woeful looks anymore, she lighted the hearth and put a pot of water on the fire. When it boiled she collected some stones and put them in the pot and covered it. By now the children had started to cry, their stomachs growling.
“My children, I am cooking some food for you. I know you love yams so I am boiling yams for you. Have patience, Soon the yams will be ready to eat”
Their crying stopped and soon, with hopes of having food to eat, they were smiling.
“Fan the fire for so the yams will cook faster.” she urged them.
They happily took turns in fanning the fire and they could actually smell the wafting aroma of the boiling yams. This seemed to energise them and they worked harder at the fanning. After a while, the children grew impatient and restless
“Mother, are the yams not cooked?”
“A little more time, my children and we will soon have our meal. Keep fanning the fire.”
The fanned and fanned till their arms ached and still the yams were not cooked. Finally exhausted and immune from the gnawing hunger, the children fell asleep behind the hearth.
When I heard this story, my initial reaction was that the widow was cruel. But my mother said to me. “Think about it, Afua.”
And then it hit me. Little as I was then, I knew my mother was teaching me a lesson in gratitude. Here was a poor widow with nothing to give her children but ‘stones in soup’. And here was I, lucky to be provided with all my wants and still I grumbled and would throw tantrums anytime my mother asked me to wait until the end of month when she received her salary as a teacher to get me my needs.
I never forgot this story. And today, I do my best to inculcate gratitude, graciousness and thankfulness in my three boys.
Yes, Susan, stones can be cooked.