Sunday, 20 December 2015
Another Tale . . .
Can you handle another Christmas Story this morning. I sure hope so. ☺
This is a story by Warren Clemnts, originally published in the Globe and Mail, entitled, "A Puzzling Christmas Gift."
Charles Arthur realized shortly before Christmas that he hadn't yet bought a present for his young iece, and wandered off to the store to find something suitable.
"I want the best you have," he told the clerk behind the counter, who eyed him coolly, pegged him as a $14.95 customer and handed him a small box. "This is our most popular puzzle." said the clerk. "A steal at $14.95."
At home, Charles Arthur felt the least he could do before delivering th present was to try it himself and make sure it worked, which considering his aptitude for things mechanical, was a grueling enough test for any unsuspecting toy.
He pulled the puzzle out of the box and studied it for several minutes. It had 28 sides and 15 different colors and yielded up no clues. He pulled out the instructions. They were written in five languages, none of which Charles Arthur had encountered before.
"Charming," he said. "How can I solve a puzzle when I don't know what it's supposed to look like in the end, and don't know why it looks the way it does in the beginning?" He dropped it on the floor. It didn't bounce. He tried twisting it. Nothing moved. He held it up to the light. It was opague.
"Perhaps you have to shake it in a special swquence," he thought. The puzzle said nothing.
The next morning Charles Arthur took the puzzle back to the store and demanded to know the secret. The clerk looked at it and called over his manager. The manager looked at it and telephoned the company that made it. Nobody there knew what it was supposed to do, all the company did was drop it into boxes, they said, and send it off in time for Christmas.
"I'm sorry." said the clerk. "It must be one of these trick contraptions that only mathematical prodigies can figure out."
When he examined it more closely, Charles Arthur noticed a small hole cutting through one of the angles, and stuck a pin into the hold. Nothing happened. There was no squeal, no whirr, no grinding of machinery. He dipped the puzzle into a sinkful of water and waited for it to explode, or dissolve, or at least shed its paint. A few bubbles rose to the surface ... but the puzzle remained intact. Charles Arthur scratched his head.
The park near his home was a magnet for wise and healthy individuals, and Charles Arthur walked up there to solicit advice. "Excuse me," he asked everyone who walked by his bench, "Do you know how to solve this puzzle?" A man in a fur coat said it was an anagram and passed on. A group of teenagers said he was holding it the wrong way. A woman pushing her baby in a stroller thought it looked like Rubik's ube, but couldn't explain why none of the parts moved. "It must be broken," she said.
A child walked by and Charles Arthur stopped him in desperation."I've lost the instructions to this puzzle," he said, "and I wonder if you can help me." The child looked at the toy ad then looked at Charles Arthur. "This isn't a puzzle," he said. "This is a tree ornament." And he walked away.
"It can't be a tree ornament." shapped the clerk when Charles Arthur broke the news to him. "We've sold 50,000 of these in three weeks as brain teasing puzzles. Ae you trying to tell me that 50,000 adults are wracking their brains trying to solve something which a child took three seconds to dismiss as a tree ornament?"
Charles Arthur admitted this was unlikely indeed, and took the puzzle home and mailed it to his small niece, who removed it from the packaging and hung it on the family Christmas tree and spent hours watching it turn, slowly one way and slowly the other, and had the merriest holiday imaginable.
And the moral of this story I guess is that to find happiness and contentment we have to look at things as if looking through the eyes of a child. Adults seem to over-complicate things!
The Ward Christmas Party last night was lovely. It was well attended, the food was great, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. It began with a Nativity play put on by the children of the Ward, then there was a meal. Kareoke. (sp?) There was a photographer from the Ward there taking photographs of whoever wanted a Christmas photo, Santa came for the kids, etc. We did not stay til the end. I was exhausted and so we came home after the food pretty much. We have the England Manchester Mission Christmas Party on Tuesday which will go from 10 am onwards, and we are thinking to give it a miss. I had been looking forward, but I really don't think I feel up to it now, which is a shame, but it is what it is. In fact I think I am going to go back to bed now . . .
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
Don't postpone joy
until you have learned
all of your lessons.
Joy is the lesson.
In the English Kitchen today . . . "Christmas Muffins." Stogged full of cranberries and orange flavours. Delish!
Have a wonderful Sabbath day. Don't forget . . .
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And I do too!