Wisdom Story Series - The Stoled Ax


This story is very adaptable.   it can be stretched or shrunk, and I have used it as a teaching tool for facilitators, changing the main character into a facilitator and the ax into her purse. 

There was once a farmer who couldn't find his axe.  He suddenly saw the boy from across the road and he though 'he looks like a thief and walks like a thief.  I'm sure he stole my axe.

The next day the farmer found the axe, exactly where he left it. 

Wisdom Story Series - Two Cities


A great story for communities, mergers, and encouraging positive mindsets about other groups and people.

During the gold rush, on the road between Ballarat and Castlemaine a woman and her three daughters keep a shop.  The store was really managed by the three daughters as the woman was old and didn't have much energy. She would sit out the front of the store and welcome strangers, encouraging them to stop on the dry, dusty road, for a drink.  She loved to hear their stories.

One day a young man came in and asked the woman 'I'm heading to Castlemaine, tell me, what are the people like there?.'
'Where have you come from?' she asked

'I've been in Ballarat for 6 months'.

'And how did you find the people there?' she asked.

'Well they were the most unfriendly people I've ever met.  They were rude and mean spirited, I didn't like them at all.'

'Well' she said 'I'm afraid you will probably find the people of Castlemaine are the same.'

'That is very disappointing.' said the man and stumped off.  

The next day another young man came by, also heading to Castlemaine and asked the old woman the same question.  She again asked him where he came from and what the people were like there.

'I've been in Ballarat for 6 months and the people there are the kindest, friendliest people you'd ever want to meet.  They go out of their way to be helpful.' was his reply

'Well' said the old women, 'I think you'll find the people in Castlemaine are the same.'

'That is wonderful news' and he skipped off down the road. 

Wisdom Story Series - The Wooden Bowl

dark corner

An old woman moved in with her daughter, son in law and their 4 year old child.  Times were tough and the couple were struggling to make ends meet.  The old woman was messy and needy and they got frustrated with her.  Finally one day she broke a plate and the son in law said 'Enough.'.

He made the old woman an ugly wooden bowl to eat from.  Even then the grandmother knocked the bowl from the table and wasted food and made a mess.  So they started to feed her in the corner where she couldn't make a mess. 

Food became more scarce when there was a crop failure and no one knew why. It was hard to give up food for an old woman.

One day the couple notice their daughter banging a piece of wood.  'What are you doing?' asks the mother.

'I'm making a bowl for you and papa for when you get old.  Next I'll make you a corner.' the child replies

The couple were deeply ashamed and brought the old woman back to the table.  

That night at dinner the old woman hears them talking about the crop failure and asks some questions.   She was quiet for a while then said 'This happened 40 years ago. Plant in the swamp.'  

The son was doubtful about the old woman's advice, but they had nothing to lose. 

They were surprised and very grateful when the crop thrived and theirs was the only successful harvest of the village.

While this story is directly about respect for elders, it is applicable to any situation where the old guard, those on the outer, or those a bit different, need to be respected for what they have brought, and what they can still bring. 

Wisdom Story Series - The Starfish

starfish story

This story is the one I told in the second of the video blogs.  Here it is in case you missed it.

One Sunday morning hundreds, maybe thousands of starfish have been washed up on a beach. They are dying without water.  Up on the path above the sea wall the local community stop and point and wonder how it happened.  Then along comes a young woman, walking on the beach.  She stops and begins throwing starfish back into the sea.  

The crowds point and laugh and finally a man goes up to her and asks 'What are you doing?'

'I'm throwing the star fish back into the water so they will live.'

The man says 'But what's the point? Have you looked up? Do you see how many starfish are on this beach?  You can't possibly make any difference.'

The young woman looked at him, bent down and threw another starfish into the sea, and said 'Made a difference to that one.'



Wisdom Story Series - Nasrudin and The Key


Nasrudin is a sort of wise fool from Middle Eastern folktale traditions.  There are many Nasrudin stories.  This is one of my favourites.

Nasrudin was outside his house one evening.  He was on his hands and knees feeling and looking for something in the grass.  A neighbour came along and asked if he'd lost something.

"Yes I've lost my key.'

'I'll help you look' said the neighbour and they proceeded to look together.   Others came along and also helped.  Finaly one of the helpers said

"Nasrudin are you sure you lost the key here?'

''No, I definitely lost it in the kitchen.'

'Then why on Earth are we looking for it here' was the shocked reply.

"Because there more light here, of course,' said Nasrudin.

It can take some relaxed and creative thinking to see the application of this story, but once you do, you will find many situations where people are looking for answers/ideas/futures in the wrong place.

Video: 1.1 A Store of Stories

Video: 1.1 A Store of Stories

This is the first Story Wise video blog, and the first in a series of 3 videos looking at how we can develop a storehouse of stories we know and can call upon in the moment to metaphorically illustrate a message.

in this video, Kate Lawrence from Story Wise tells the traditional story of The Archer to help us see how we might aspire to have stories at the ready, in our skill set, for leading, persuading, illustrating and simply sharing.

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