Thursday, May 10, 2007


My six year old daughter was relating a folk tale that she‘d heard today. We were all sitting outside on the swing bench on a rare still afternoon, warm sun on our backs, having finished a long overdue nail cutting session.

There were lots of ‘and thens’, ‘uummms’ and convoluted sentences and it took us a while to get the hang of it. It boiled down to an age old tale: young man marries princess; she falls sick and dies but a magic silver snake, that he finds, brings her back to life; unfortunately it didn’t bring her love for him back to life. On a sea journey she plots with the captain to have him thrown overboard. Luckily his servant saves him and he makes his way back to her father’s palace. She returns with a story of how he’d fallen sick and died on the journey. The king, her father, reveals her husband, hale and hearty and pronounces her punishment – she and the captain are to be put onto a holey boat and pushed out to sea to the mercy of the elements. (Great, gory stuff these old moral tales!)

My daughter finished her retelling and lapsed into silence. Then she said:

“ I don’t like that she was put into a leaky boat. I think her punishment should have been to go without food and water for a day.”

My son puts in seriously:
“Oh seven days at least.”

Then he turns to me and asks: “Would she survive for seven days without food and water?”

An earnest discussion follows between the two of them, about how long she could be left without water, without expiring and when food would become appropriate.

Eventually it was decided:

No food or water for three days; then she could have a loaf of stale bread and some water each day for three more days and after that she could have dinner.

The jury have reached their verdict and determined the sentence, Your Honour!


  1. I like your court system :)

  2. Your children are very merciful spirits!

    Thank you so much for the link to that study on illness in small children. It did brighten my day!

    He had been healthy for one whole month (if you don't count a runny nose) and so I couldn't really complain about a little fever. He isn't cranky or too uncomfortable, either.

    Another positive aspect of all these illnesses is that I am finally learning to roll with the punches.


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!