Saturday, 4 July 2009

One Finger

"Mom, you should put some of your things away. Baby-proof this house," stated our oldest son Mark as he lumbered up the stairs followed by his wife, Kim, and fifteen-month-old Hannah.
Visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday, he finished unloading the luggage and took it to the guest room downstairs. After driving all day from Salt Lake to Ft. Collins, his temper showed.
"That one-finger rule may work with the twins, but it'll never work with Hannah," he insisted.
When my three granddaughters were born four months apart and the twins moved into our house at eight months, my close friend offered me her secret to entertaining grandchildren with few mishaps.
"Teach them the 'one-finger rule.'" All of her five grandchildren learned it at a young age. The success of the method surprised me.
I picked up my granddaughter and said, "Well, Mark, you just watch." I hugged her and walked all around the great room.
"Hannah, you may touch anything in this room you want. But, you can only use one finger."
I demonstrated the technique by touching my forefinger to the African sculpture on the mantel. Hannah followed my example.
"Good girl. Now what else would you like to touch?"
She stretched her finger toward another object on the mantel. I allowed her to touch everything in sight - plants, glass objects, TV, VCR, lamps, speakers, candles and artificial flowers. If she started to grab, I gently reminded her to use one finger. She always obeyed.
But, Hannah, an only child, possessed a more adventurous personality. Her father predicted it would prevent her from accepting the one-finger rule.
During their four-day stay, we aided Hannah in remembering the one-finger rule. She learned quickly. I only put away the things that might prove to be a danger to a child. Otherwise, we watched her closely, and nothing appeared to suffer any damage. Besides, "things" can be replaced.
A few fingerprints on glass doors, windows and tables remained after Hannah and her family returned home. I couldn't bring myself to clean them for days. Each one reminded me of some wonderful experience with Hannah.
Months later, my husband and I drove to Salt Lake, and I watched Mark and Kim continue to practice the one-finger rule. But I refrained from saying, "I told you so." Yet, I smiled inwardly each time they prodded Hannah to touch with "one finger."
Mark, a salesman, always gave a packet of gifts to his potential clients. The night before we returned home, Mark sat on the floor stuffing gifts into their packets.
Hannah helped.
Then she picked up one gift, held it in her hand as if it were a fragile bird, and walked toward me. At my knee, her beautiful blue eyes looked into mine. She stretched her prize to me and said, "One finger, Nana!"


Spring Love - Tale

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful girl who was very skilled at embroidery. Many rich men hoped to marry her, but the girl wasn’t interested.
‘I will marry a man who can dye threads with pink that will never fade and weaven ten meters of silk without any seams, said the girl.
Some ten miles away there lived a young weaver. His parents had died when he was very young, so that his only companions were a small swift and a tree. One day, the baby swift had flow into his weaving loom and breken its wing. The young man had nursed the bird back to health, after which it stayed by him. The weaver’s mother, meanwhile, had planted the tree before she'd died.
One day, the swift returned with some important news. ‘Ten miles away there lives a beautiful girl who is a skilful embroider,’ it said. ‘She has set a challenge that she will marry a man who can weave ten meters of silk without seams and dye threads in pink that wil never fade’.
The young man chose his best silk threads and started to weave. He could easily weave ten meters of seamless silk, but how could he dye threads in a pink that would never fade? Luckily, the swift had a solution. He led the young man to a fairy, who lived high in the mountains. This fairy specialized in embroidery and, after hearing of the young man’s missin, promised to help. ‘All colors fade with time,’ said the fairy. ‘The only dye that will not fade is blood. You must prick each of your fingers and collect the blood, then use this blood to dye the silk.’
The young man followed the fairy’s instructions but, after seven days, he had lost so much blood that he could barely stand. Again, the swift came to his aid, bringing him food and medicinal herbs. After ten days, the threads were dyed a beautiful shade of rose.
Accompanied by the swift, the young man took his cloth and his bundle of threads to the girl’s house. Her wealthy suitors were also there, all carrying bolts of silk and bundles of threads, which they had hired other people to make. The girl collected the silk cloths and the threads. Then she brought out a small mirror and a needle, which she inherited from her father. She held the mirror close to some fabric and, in the mirror’s reflection, saw into her needle, she saw that the color was pale. The girl repeated these tests again and again, until she came to the cloth woven by the young man.
Looking into her mirror, she saw that the silk shone as smooth as a moonlit river. And when she threaded her needle with his rose-tinted. And when she threaded her deep pink. So it was that the girl agreed to marry the weaver. Many people came to congratulate the couple, but the girl’s rich suitors went away angry.
One of these rejected suitors went to see the king, an old man who, due to his irrational fear of fire, never left his palace. Despite his advanced age, the king longed for the the company of beautiful young women. Upon hearing of the lovely embroiderer, the king ordered his guards to abduct her and bring her to his palace.
The young couple, meanwhile, was unaware of any approching danger. The girl was busy sewing a silk shirt. After her husband told her how he had dyed the pink threads, she embroidered flowers with five petals on the shirt to symbolize her husband’s five bloodied fingers.
That shirt was so beautiful that many people came admire it. The young wife had just put it on when the king’s soldier appeared. The soldiers overpowered the weaver and dragged the firl away. When the swift tried to help her, a soldier killed it.
It was a long journey to the royal palace. The further she got from home, the more desperate the girl became. She tore the embroidered flowers from her shirt and threw them to the wind. ‘Oh wind,’ she sobbed, “please take these flowers to my sweetheart.’
The wind did as she’d asked, carrying the embroidered flowers to her husband’s house. When he came outside, the weaver was surprised to see the tree that his mother had planted covered in red flowers. Unable to bear the thought of living with the old king, the young girl hung herself with her silk shirt. When the soldiers reached the palace, they were summoned before the king. ‘The girl missed her husband so much that she killed herself,’ explained the soldier. Upon hearing this, the king flew into a rage. He ordered his men to imprison the weaver.
The next morning, as the young weaver tended his flowering tree, he heard a whisper on the wind: ‘My sweetheart, I must hide the flowers before the soldiers destroy them. And you must go far away. ‘No sooner has the words faded when a strong wind blew up and carried the red flowers away.
The young man decided to go to the capital, where he still hoped to find his wife. On the way, he stopped at the house of the fairy. ‘To see your wife again you must kill the wicked king,’ said the fairy. ‘What you need in order to succeed,’ continued the fairy, ‘is the help of the small swift.’
‘But the swift is dead,’ replied the weaver, sadly. ‘How can I return it to life?’
The fairy told him to bury the swift’s body under the tree that his mother had planted. ‘When spring comes, it will rise from the dead. ‘The weaver followed her instructions and, next spring, small pink buds appeared on the tree. A few days later, the swift reappeared. Accompanied by the swift, the weaver set off towards the capital. Disguised as a coal vendor, he carried a single sprif of pink blossoms.
When he reached the court, the weaver approached a guard and requested permission to present the king with his flowering branch. The king ordered the stranger to approach. As the king bent to peer at the flowers, the branch suddenly burst into flames. The king’s beard caught fire and the flames quickly spread to his robes and devoured him.
It was not magic that had caused the branch to burn but the weaver’s cunning. He had placed a piece of burning coal in the branch and, upon handing the branch to the king, had blown on the embers.
The weaver fond the shirt with which his wife had hung herself and buried it under his mother’s tree. Next morning, the shirt was covered with flowers.
The swift then led the weaver far, far away, into a dense forest. Inside a cave lay a large tree trunk, which contained the body of the weaver’s wife. Following the swift’s instructions, the weaver’s wife. Following the wrapped the trunk in his shirt. Suddenly, the wood split into thousands of pieces and the young woman stepped out, alive and well.
The weaver, his wife and the swift made their way home. Eagle to share their happiness, they presented their neighbors with pink flowers from their tree. These pink blossoms, now know as peach flowers, are a symbol of devotion. Each spring, these beautiful flowers reappear, as do the faithful swifts.