Friday, 9 April 2010

The Princess and Her Tail

There is a story about a princess who had a small eye problem. She felt that this small eye problem was really bad. She was rather spoiled and kept crying all the time, constantly going on about the small problem with her eye. When the doctors wanted to apply medicine, she would invariably refuse any medical treatment and kept touching the sore spot on her eye. In this way it became worse and worse. Finally one day the king proclaimed a large reward for whoever could cure his daughter. After some time, a man arrived who claimed to be a famous physician. The truth was he was actually was not even a doctor but so desperate was the King that he did not take time to check.

He declared that he could definitely cure the princess and was admitted to her chamber. After he had examined her, he exclaimed, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" "What is it?" the princess inquired. The man said, "There is nothing much wrong with your eye, but there is something else that is really serious." The princess was alarmed and asked, "What on earth is so serious?" He hesitated and said, "It is really bad. I shouldn't tell you about it." No matter how much she insisted, he refused to tell her, saying that he could not speak without the king's permission.

When the king arrived, the “doctor” was still reluctant to reveal his findings. Finally the king commanded, "Tell us what is wrong. Whatever it is, you have to tell us!" At last he said, "Well, the eye will get better within a few days - that is no problem. The big problem is that the princess will grow a tail, which will become at least nine feet long. It may start growing very soon. If she can detect the first moment it appears, I might be able to prevent it from growing." At this news everyone was deeply concerned. And the princess, what did she do? She stayed in bed, day and night, directing all her attention to detecting when the tail might appear. Thus, after a few days, her eye got well. Then the man declared that he was pleased to say that the princess was now cured of all her ills and complaints.

How often focus on our little problems and they become the most important thing around which everything else revolves. Yet so often when we stop fretting the problem disappears. I remember my first ever Christmas as a minister. After the midnight service a young man came to speak to me he and his wife wanted a family so badly. They had tried and tried with no success. I advised him to start considering adoption and pointed him in the direction of where he would be given advice. He did just that, beginning the long process. Six months later he came to speak to me beaming all over with joy. His wife was pregnant.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I discuss the use of the artwork:-The Gift


  1. Hello Ralph, that little tale is so true. The wonderful thing about Blogging is that at times you get to connect with such kindred spirits around the world. I have to check out your artwork at more leisure. My daughter has to be thrown in the bath. Thank you for your kind words about Alfie. I've just come in from his grave tonight He has a peaceful spot in our garden. I miss him terribly. xx

  2. I love your turn of phrase your daughter has to be thrown in the bath. I know what you mean but it still brought a smile to my face as I thought about that image. I hope the water is not too deep LOL.

  3. True words, as always Ralph. Sometimes maybe the whole crux of a problem is that we need to take our eyes off of ourselves entirely.

  4. Love the story...

    It also applies to painting. Sometimes we toil over an area thinking something is wrong, but the problem persists. Then we go adjust something completely on the other side of the canvas and voila! the problem is fixed!

    Maybe its best to focus on the good and don't dwell on the misfortunes of our lives.

    Nice lesson...

  5. I was reminded daily of how fortunate I was and how little my ails mattered when I worked for living (art is not work). My route each day took me to and from Toronto's Union Station train terminal and along the busiest streets of the city.
    This route has many panhandlers and beggers, people living off the generosity of passersby. I always carried coin to help.
    I particularly liked the spirit of one panhandler wrapped in a sleeping bag, on a cold, blustery winter day....his sign read "plannng to vacation in Jamaica...any help appreciated".

  6. I enjoyed that ...

    All those years as a minister ... must have lots of stories. Ralph, indeed you should be putting these in a book.

    Also, I liked Ruby's story of the panhandler ... :)

  7. I often have to tell myself that "feelings are transitory"--this is a good article, Ralph. Thanks for writing it!

  8. ralph i have left you a poem on the earthquake post, we are still having the way those blue trees are beautiful