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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 27-Jan-06


Friday 27-Jan-06

Stories and change

On one of the better change management courses that I attended several years ago, we were given the task of writing a 'fairy story' -- something that said something about change and life: perhaps a personal story or maybe just a story.

It seemed a silly exercise and a few people felt too uncomfortable and backed out. Those of us who took on the challenge found it a remarkably transformational experience. Just listening to what others wrote, many of whom were senior managers in a global company, was worth the course alone. Deep troubles and marvelous wisdom came out from the depths of their subconscious minds, playing into poignant and beautiful stories.

Here's what I wrote, at around three o'clock in the morning, after much scribbling, revisions and starting from scratch again. It pretty much came out complete as is, just as my brain had turned to soup:

The Conquering Spirit

The elven king called together his three sons. "It is time for you to make your mark." he told them, "Beyond our borders are unknown worlds of dragons, maidens and black-hearted knights. Go out and conquer."

And so his sons ate the feast of the departing, donned the green and set out across the world.


After three years, the first son returned and the whole court came out to greet him. "What have you conquered?" asked the king.

"I have slain dragons, rescued maidens and vanquished black knights." spoke the son. "I have conquered lands such that our territories are now doubled in size."

"Boldly done!" said the king, gravely, "Those new lands shall be your kingdom to rule and protect."


After three more years, the second son returned, and the whole family came out to greet him.

"What have you conquered?" asked the king.

"I have parlayed with dragons, negotiated with black knights and made the maidens fair swoon." replied the son. "I have conquered the minds and hearts of ten kingdoms, and we now have fond allies all of the way to the Azure Sea."

"Brightly done!" cried the king, "You shall be my most noble lord, ambassador in my stead to all of the lands."


After three more years, the third son did not return. After three further years, he still did not return. After three years again, a ragged stranger walked alone up the steps to the royal court.

The old king was the only person to recognize the stranger. He came down from his throne, embraced his third son deeply, and then asked, "What have you conquered?"

The son smiled a long smile.

"I have slept with dragons and caroused with knights. I have danced with maidens and sung with the children. I have laughed with old men on the quay and cried with old women left alone. I have howled at the moon and lain in the sun. I have scaled high mountains and seen distant lands of mystery and promise. I have plumbed the depths and met magicians of the mind.

"I lost some fear and gained some wonder. I lost some of myself and found some of other people. I tore down the walls of ignorance and found many more. And I have found my way home. I have no need to conquer or fight or persuade. Today is now enough for a lifetime."

A deep silence fell over the court as the king thought long and fully about what his son had said.

"Wisely done." he said, eventually, "For you have conquered yourself, and the world and the worlds beyond shall be your playground."


So go on, write your own story. Get tired. Get frustrated. Keep writing. And let your subconscious mind amaze you.

Coda: Since writing this, I've added a new section to my Syque site containing all the occasional stories I have written.

Your comments

Thank you,

What a great story!

-- Britt

 Bold Honest and Stimulating ..... Thank you

-- Lou

 I think I'm in love!

-- Susie

This story gives importance of human values to us rather than materialistic things in this world

-- ami

This story is really good. heart touching and sweet.

thank you.

-- sheeba

 Excellent story of Change regarding ourselves and our dealings with others. Our personalities should be convincing not fighting, our thoughts should be pure not negative. Amazing story.

-- Bilal SK

 nice one^^

-- xiaoxiao

 The reality of life that we all have forgotten..... Good One



-- vusi


An amazing story...

All the best

-- Deepali

True meaning of life... a great one!

--- pat

 Can I tell the story to some kids getting ready to start the new year? I'll use your name and say it is your story.

-- Nancy F

Dave replies: Of course, Nancy!

Bravo, I could feel it in my bones

-- Alan

 I love your story!! Its amazing and really made me think.

RK x

the story inspired me..thanks a lot!

-- september jane

I was looking for a story about exploration and discovery with regards to change. I thought I'd hit a brick wall when thinking about writing a story with this in mind, but after reading your story, I feel very inspired. We need to change and adapt to survive. Thank You.

-- Wendy T.

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