Once upon a time there was a little child.. This child was three, and had a sore finger which was threatening to turn septic. It bothered the little child, and the kind mama put some special herbal cream and drops on it every night to help it heal. All was well and the little child enjoyed having the soothing salve smoothed on to the sore finger at bed time.
One night however, the little child was especially tired, after a long busy day with friends, and everyone was tired and a little cranky. The kind mama had a headache and lots of fractious, squabbly children to put to bed, she also had at least ten very important tasks which she needed to complete that evening. The kind papa was out. Bed time stories were read, teeth were cleaned and after alot of effort and struggle, the little child was snuggled into bed with Sleepy the doll.
'Time for the magic cream to make your finger better', announced the mama in what she hoped were bright, breezy and encouraging tones. (Were they laced with a little exhaustion and desperation? Maybe)
' No! 'said the little child and hid under the covers
'Now darling', began the mother in as calm and reasonable voice as she could muster 'you know we must put your cream on or your finger will not heal'
'No,' the child buried further down and began to cry.
This exchange was repeated a few more times until the kind mother felt her blood begin to boil, just a bit. The child was screaming and sweaty under the bed clothes.
Now the kind mama had seen the sore finger and knew that it was quite nasty, and the cream really did need to go on. She could also feel white hot anger and frustration rising up inside her like a simmering volcano, her head seemed too small for what was inside. She could only think of two options, one, admit defeat and leave the child and the festering finger to sob themselves to sleep; two, she could rip back the bed covers and forcibly apply the cream. Neither option seemed that appealing, and both were guaranteed to make both herself and the child feel worse. However she didn't have the energy for finding another option.
Fortunately, just at that moment, the kind mama remembered to breathe, she felt her feet on the ground and looked at the sobbing heap of bed clothes below her, and the voice of her child's wise nursery teacher floated breezily through all the volcanic activity in her head.
'Just tell a story, that's what I always say to parents, it's very easy, it always works...,'
And right after that, a little mouse scampered in to the tired mama's busy brain and she took a deep breath started to tell his story.
A little mouse had found some delicious cheese and, tempted, had ventured too close and caught his beautiful long tail in a trap. A kindly grandfather rat was passing by and helped the young mouse free himself, and then took him home to his wife who boiled up some magical healing herbs on the fire. The rats took the herbs and some bandages and gently put them on the sore tail, and invited the little mouse to come back each day to have fresh herbs put on until it was better. The grandfather rat showed the little mouse his own paw, which he had healed a long time before, after his own mishap with a human trap. Before long the little mouse was well and his mother sent round a pot of hazel nut preserve to thank the rats for their kindness.
About half way through the story, the little child emerged from beneath the covers, and with wide, wet blinking eyes, silently held out the sore finger for the cream to be applied. The wise mama, never pausing in her tale, swiftly smoothed on the healing salve and calmly continued until the end of the story.
She kissed her child lovingly goodnight and left the bedroom, calmed, energised and strangely serene. The child drifted to sleep.
And that's a true story!
I'd love to hear about your tales of the amazing healing power of stories