In honor of Easter coming up, I thought we’d share a short fable today :)
Let this be a story to marinate on over the weekend, and maybe even bookmark for the future. Hat tip to Sarah Noelle who I first heard this from, and ironically enough, almost exactly a year ago today!
The Magic Thread
In this French tale we read of Peter, a boy who is strong and able, yet sadly flawed by an attitude of impatience. Always dissatisfied with his present condition, Peter spends his life day-dreaming about the future.
One day while wandering in the forests, Peter meets a strange old woman who gives him a most tantalizing opportunity — the chance to skip the dull, mundane moments of life. She hands Peter a silver ball from which a tiny gold thread protrudes.
“This is your life thread,” she explains. “Do not touch it and time will pass normally. But if you wish time to pass more quickly, you have only to pull the thread a little way and an hour will pass like a second. But I warn you, once the thread has been pulled out, it cannot be pushed back in again.”
This magical thread seems the answer to all of Peter’s problems. It is just what he has always wanted. He takes the ball and runs home.
The following day in school Peter has his first opportunity to put the silver ball to use. The lesson is dragging, and the teacher scolds Peter for not concentrating. Peter fingers the silver ball and gives the thread a slight tug. Suddenly, the teacher dismisses the class, and Peter is free to leave school. He is overjoyed! How easy his life will now be.
From this moment, Peter begins to pull the thread a little every day.
But soon Peter begins to use the magic thread to rush through larger portions of life. Why waste time pulling the thread just a little every day when he can pull it hard and complete school altogether? He does so and finds himself out of school and apprenticed in trade. Peter uses the same technique to rush through his engagement to his sweetheart. He cannot bear and wait months to marry her so he uses the gold thread to hasten the arrival of the wedding day.
Peter continues to pattern throughout his life when hard, trying times come, he escapes then with his magic thread. But sadly when he comes to the end of his life, Peter realizes the emptiness of such an existence. By allowing impatience and discontentment to rule him, Peter has robbed himself of life’s riches moments and memories. With only the grave to look forward to, he deeply regrets ever having used the magic thread.
Now this is the condensed version I found online, but it seems like the expanded stories had much happier endings. Like waking up from a bad dream, or getting the chance to do it all over again and start from the beginning :) Regardless, the point is one we’d be smart to heed:
QUIT TRYING TO ALWAYS SPEED UP LIFE!
Life can blow, but speeding it up also speeds up something else – death. Let tomorrow come on its own, as well as the next day, the next week, month, year – and if we should be so lucky – the next decade(s).
Use the weekend to slow down and be thankful for the one thing we all have right now – time. We’ll slip back into the rush again come Monday I’m sure, but for the moment let’s take a deep breath together and soak it in.
We’re alive! And it feels good!!
For similar reading, and a way to feel less jealous of others, go back to our post on whether or not you’d like to be Warren Buffett ;) You may instinctively scream “YES!,” but remember what else comes along with it – age. Are you really ready to be 86 right now?
[Photo by Sudhamshu Hebbar]
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!