Monday, July 30, 2007

We know it in our bones

There’s an wonderful children’s book by William Steig called The Amazing Bone. Steig’s heroine is Pearl, a school age pig, who is particularly in love with the world one fine spring day. She feels as if she is turning into a flower and finds, in the verdant woods, a talking bone.

Wise enough to listen to the bone, Pearl takes it with her. The bone scares away some particularly difficult robbers of unknown origin, but isn’t too effective against a wily fox, who is determined to eat Pearl for dinner. “Don’t take it personally, “ the fox says to Pearl. The bone, unable to scare this predator, offers solace, honesty and comfort to Pearl in her perilous position.

Just as the fox is about to put Pearl in the oven, the bone utters magical words. The bone does not know he knows them, they come from an ancient memory, nor does the bone know really what the magic words can do. What the words do is reduce the fox to the size of a mouse, who scurries into a hole in the wall.

Pearl and the bone walk away from certain death. Arriving home, Pearl is welcomed into the arms of her parents. The last line the bone says is “You have an exceptional daughter,” to convince Pearl’s parents that the bone can indeed talk.

Listening to the bone saves Pearl’s life.

Our lives create the voices we hear from our bones. We have only to listen to our true voices, down to our bones.

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