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Blog Archive > 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
"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
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
What a great story!
Bold Honest and Stimulating ..... Thank you
I think I'm in love!
This story gives importance of human values to us rather than materialistic
things in this world
This story is really good. heart touching and sweet.
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
The reality of life that we all have forgotten..... Good One
An amazing story...
All the best
True meaning of life... a great one!
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
I love your story!! Its amazing and really made me think.
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.