Stories to Inspire You
collected by Dietrich Fischer
with original illustrations
by Altynay Baihodjoeva
We typically hear news about war and violence, human failures and folly, accidents and natural disasters, sometimes about poverty and destruction of the environment. It is important to be aware of these problems, but they are not everything. The media seems to have turned around the old saying, "no news is good news" into "good news is no news." But as the golfer Tiger Woods once said, "I learn more from my best shots than from my mistakes."
This is a collection of some successes, of what individuals have been able to do to make life more worthwhile, of bringing peace and happiness to others. They are intended to encourage everyone to try their best.
I have been inspired by Johan Galtung, who pointed out that children should not only learn stories about war and victory in war, but instead about successful conflict transformation and the solution of problems, to prepare them for life.
This short volume also includes some metaphors. Analogies and metaphors make use of something already familiar to explain something new, or less considered. Here is an example:
A monkey picked up a fish from the sea and put it on a tree branch. Asked why he did this, he said, "To save it from drowning".
We know immediately how wrong and stupid that is. But we may seldom realize that trying to impose our own way of life, political or economic institutions or religious beliefs on others is equally wrong. Such an analogy can help open our eyes.
I did not invent all those stories. I heard or read them over many years, selected those that I liked most, and have retold them in my own words, to the best of my memory. Where I remember the source, I have indicated it.
I hope you enjoy some of these stories, and can find some useful lessons in them.
Basel, April 2013 Dietrich Fischer
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had a quarrel, as it occasionally happens in a marriage. One word led to another, and suddenly Prince Albert angrily stormed out of the bedroom, went to his study, slammed the door and locked it. Queen Victoria ran after him, knocked on the door and demanded, "Open!" There was no answer. She pounded the door with her fist and shouted, "Open at once!!" No answer. She shouted at the top of her voice, "I am the Queen of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the Empress of India and of the entire British Commonwealth, I am the Commander‑in‑Chief of all the British armed forces, and I order you hereby to open this door!!!" Still no answer. Finally she said in a soft voice, "Albert, I am sorry, I love you and miss you." Now the door opened.
This shows that nonviolence is more powerful than violence.