Bedtime Story

When I was a little girl, around 6 years of age, living in Helsinki Finland, my mum had one of her best friends visit us for supper. Eila lived in the same neighbourhood as us and had known our family from before I was born. She is one of those lifelong friends, who has remained a friend despite the long distance between us.

My mum and Eila were having a cup of coffee, fresh cinnamon rolls and a chat in our kitchen. The kitchen felt warm and inviting, so I was reluctant to go to sleep when told to do so. To my delight, Eila suggested I go find a book and she would read me a bedtime story. I run to my room, chose a book, then climbed on Eila’s lap. The story she read to me that evening made such a huge impact on me, that I still remember it. That story in many ways has influenced the way I have lived my whole life. Wise fairytales can have great life-lessons weaved into them.  

The story went something like this: Once upon a time there was a little princess. She was standing in front of a huge field when her fairy godmother appeared to her. The godmother asked the little princess what she sees. The princess said she sees a huge field of wheat ready for the picking.

The little girl’s godmother told her that she can pick as many straws of wheat as she likes and that she would change them into diamonds, but she could only walk through the field once and never go backwards.

The little princess got so excited. She run through the field. She saw a beautiful head of wheat to pick but as she bent over to pick it, she saw even a bigger one ahead of her. The little princess run from one head of wheat to the next. Sooner than she though, the field ended, and her fairy godmother was waiting for her to turn her heads of wheat into diamonds.

Full of grief the princess looked at her empty hands. She had not picked any in her hurry to find a bigger and better one ahead of her.

Eila told me the field was my life and the heads of wheat opportunities life would give us. That was the moment I, as a 6-year-old, decided I would pick all the wheat I could carry, and I would not get to the other side of my field with nothing in my hands.

Of course, it is easy for a child to look at life optimistically. It’s another thing to get to more than halfway and feel as confident. If we are honest, we recognise many missed opportunities in our past. But maybe sometimes we can even be blind to how much we have picked along the way. We get discouraged and our hands feel empty. It takes someone else to point out to us, that we indeed are carrying sheaves, that our life has made a difference.

If you are feeling a little disheartened, remember every day is a new day, every day is a new opportunity and every day is a new chance. Remember what the fairy godmother said: “We can never go backwards”, so keep your focus on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the missed ones of yesterday. And one day, when we get to the end of our labour, hopefully we will have reason to rejoice.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. annemariedoecke says:

    For some reason, I thought of this poetry…

    They go out, they go out, full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing; they come back they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves.

    Psalm 126

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well found Anne-Marie! Yes it does talk about carrying sheaves. The fairytale Eila read to me was a story by American Indians / First Americans / Indigenous Americans but as I have pondered it later in life, I have also found the connection to psalm 126 which talks about carrying sheaves. There is also an old hymn that has similar words: “Fearing neither cloud nor winter’s chilling breeze, By and by the harvest and the labour ended, We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves”.


  2. annemariedoecke says:

    Really appreciate your comment and how it all ties together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes me smile!!


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