SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stories in words: Serendipity

Life is a series of accidents...You can either agree with me or disagree.

On one side you have the Achiever, who plans and plots his path, sticking to goals and getting there or striving to get there. On the other hand is the Achiever who walks a path, that he/ she is willing to take as it comes and goes; the inadvertent adventurer.

I fall into the second category...

So as I found a definition for events that unfold in my life by virtue of accident, I also found something else by accident...
Some words in the dictionary have beautiful stories to tell!!

So my first word to you readers is "Serendipity". 
It comes with such a rich background, I am truly stumped at how it has landed on my plate, and embarked me on this journey...

Sir Horace Walpole created this word after reading the story of  "The Three  Princes of Serendip".
It is a Persian fairytale of 3 princes who embark on a journey and make many discoveries by accident; discoveries of wisdom and learning that they were not actually looking for.
The word Serendip is used for Srilanka and has its origin from the old Arabic name of Sarandib. Parts of Srilanka was ruled by the Chera kings, who were from Cheranadu ( India) and called this island Cherandeep and so was called Sarandib by the Arabs.
( source: Wikipedia)

Apparently Sir Horace called the story a silly fairy tale and in all probability was intrigued by the idea of discovering things by accident rather than calculated wisdom, and so chose to coin this term. It is a long story and starts this way
"In ancient times there existed in the country of Serendippo, in the Far East, a great and powerful king by the name of Giaffer. He had three sons who were very dear to him. And being a good father and very concerned about their education, he decided that he had to leave them endowed not only with great power, but also with all kinds of virtues of which princes are particularly in need."

It goes on to tell us that the 3 Princes refuse their Father's wealth an dset out in search of their own fortune  and destiny. On the way they meet a Camel Owner who has lost his camel, and through a serious of deductions help him find it. Impressed, the King of the state, asks them to help him out, and again, through a series of deductions and lucky guesses, they solve all problems....and so on...

It is obvious that Horace Walpole had a stroke of genius to create this word Serendipity from all these convolutions and meanderings.

So that is a story well used!
You can read the synopsis of that story here

Then I came across this word: 
and another one
BIBLIO BURRO (Well this one is not English, and actually means The Donkey Library)

But I will come with more of that in the next post...