SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Creativity : The Magic Horse; a sufi tale

1.       • Creativity [originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it . (~VIA~)  

      Creativity is a synergy of two : Adaptability and Originality. To take an idea and convert into an original work is the basic tenet of creativity. Everything comes out of something!
       Another important aspect is that creativity is accompanied by chaos
      and creativity is found when we are allowed to think in free spirit without fear.  

     Most folktales are examples of creative thinking. Either the story plot takes us through a creative journey or the hero and heroine finds a resolution in a creative manner. So you can tell any story for strengthening this particular character.
   
Vocabulary to use  
Imaginative
original
unique
individual

  Story : The Magic Horse - a Sufi story retold by Idries Shah, retold here by me. This is a wonder-filled story of possibilities and outcomes and how any creative act may take you down a path that is unpredictable, unusual and perhaps even impractical. Yet we can always make choices that finally leads us to our hearts's desire and happiness and that in itself is a creative process. This is a fairy tale with many layers, but merely listening to it may open up a sense of wonder in a child and many questions in an adult.
   Suitable for 6 years and upwards




       King Mumkin was a benevolent ruler who encouraged much creativity in his kingdom. He had two sons Hoshyaar and Tambal, which as you know means intelligent and ignorant as they may have well been.
   The King who was always on the look out for new possibilities, announced a price to anyone who could bring a device or a contraption that was unique and different and useful.
   An Ironsmith who had invented a wonderful machine stepped forward, on hearing of the award.  He shut himself up in a secret place and diligently worked with a complex plan on a machine; a gigantic Fish that could swim in and under water and even travel by air; all while carrying immense weight within itself.
   While a carpenter who also wished to create something unique, took his simple tools and went into the woods to create, after much thought and reflection a beautiful wooden Horse which looked very real but seemed to not have any practical value. The two presented their unique creations to the King.
   King Mumkin, who had been sceptical of what the Fish could do, took one look at the immense usefulness and practical application of the Fish, declared it the winner, scarcely giving the Horse a second chance and Prince Hoshyar was entrusted the job of using the Fish to its maximum potential while the Ironsmith was rewarded with much wealth and honorariums.
" Nothing can be as useful as the wondrous Fish” declared Prince Hoshyar. The Fish became a much sought after invention.

  Yet the patient carpenter waited for an opportune time for his work to be recognised, and it did come. Soon King Mumkin called for the carpenter and his Horse, bored with the Fish and its wonder.
  “This is merely a plaything” the King dismissed the beautifully carved Horse.
  “It may not look much, but this horse is different” stammered the carpenter. “While the fish needs to be directed, this Horse can sense the rider and lead him or her to their heart’s desire” he explained hesitantly.
  “Such a silly unpractical thing is only fit for Tambal”, muttered the King under his breadth.
  “Let me keep it Father” said Tambal at the same time.
  “Keep the Carpenter in custody, till he can figure out some use for the Horse, and Prince Tambal you can play with this toy till you bore of it” said the King.
   So Prince Tambal took the beautiful life size Horse to his chambers and spent the whole night touching, feeling, observing...why even smelling and just stopped short of licking it! To his delight, he saw many knobs and dials hidden discreetly at the nape of the Horse and as he twisted and turned them, he found the Horse could actually move. He seated himself on the Horse and turned few dials and lo behold, the Horse flew upwards into the sky, taking him to where ever his heart wished for that night. In this way he spent many wondrous evening flying to far off land and returning, filled with the magic of visiting new lands and stories of the sights he saw there.
  One day he met Hoshyar on his way back from another productive day with the wondrous Fish. He looked at Tambal idling his time away with the Horse and commented (like many brother’s do); “I have found my heart’s desire, as I am working for the good of all, but I do not see much in your playful ways”.
  Tambal didn’t have much to say, but those words left him with a deep need to find his heart’s desire. So that night he sat on his Horse and stated clearly.” Take me to my Heart’s Desire”
  And away flew the Horse, across the land , over mountains and forests and seas, and finally it glided towards a most magical mysterious flying Palace. Let me tell you about this Palace. It had been created specifically to safeguard the beautiful Princess Precious Pearl, by her magician Father and King; Kahana. It was guarded by Mute guards and no one was allowed to speak or befriend the poor Princess.
  The Horse landed in that very magical Palace with Prince Tambal, and so carefully that no one saw them come, except the Princess. The Princess who yearned for company could not help but fall in love with this talking Prince, who was also gentle and kind while speaking to her.
  “But my Father will never let us marry, as he wishes to marry me off to a powerful magician King who lives on the other side of our Kingdom.” She said with despair.
  “I will convince him” said Tambal and mounted his Horse to fly to the palace on the ground.
  The way to the palace was filled with enchanted things and Tambal’s eyes were darting here and there, trying to see and hear and look at everything. But when he reached the Palace gates, he heard the bells ringing, announcing the King was not in and had left the palace for elsewhere.
  “He has gone to see his daughter in the Whirling Palace” informed one of the guards.Now Prince Tambal had to wait or follow the King to the Whirling Palace. But something told him the King may not like to see him at the Whirling Palace and so he quietly flew his Horse into the balcony of the Palace. Hoping to wait and watch for the King there.
  Yet sleep overwhelmed him. He had never been on such a long adventure before and soon Tambal let the Horse stand in a corner and went and laid down himself in a secluded spot in that very balcony which ran around the Palace of the magician King Kahana.
  Back in the Whirling Palace, our Princess was too excited and too naive to hide anything from her Father and she blurted out the story of Prince Tambal and her desire to marry him.
  “Never”, yelled the King furiously and sped back to his palace, hoping to make rapid arrangements that would ensure his daughter married the man he had chosen for her.

  In the Palace, the guards had found the Horse and seized it to show it to their King.
  “Aha! That scoundrel is here somewhere and will surely come back to take his Horse” he exclaimed. Kahana did not even try to understand the magic behind the Horse and swiftly ordered it to be locked up in a cupboard.
  Prince Tambal woke up with a start and realised to his dismay that he was stranded in a magical kingdom with no way or means to escape without his flying Horse. His only thought was to somehow get back to his own kingdom and take his father’s help and come back to claim his heart’s desire – yes, the beautiful Princess Precious Pearl.

  But a man with nothing, how will he cross the treacherous desert? He had no choice and poor Tambal suffered from the many moods displayed by the desert. The sun beating down during the day created mirages and the cold frost of the night made him delirious. He saw people where there were none, he saw water, and cities that were merely his imagination. The days telescoped into the night. He was on the verge of giving it all up, with no hope of ever reaching home or going back to the Princess, he seemed to not know what his heart desired anymore....until he saw an oases glimmering in the sand.
  Is it real or my imagination he wondered? But finally for once the oases did not disappear and he ran towards it and thirstily drank from the pond, and grabbed the fruits deliciously hanging from the trees and devoured them. Then in almost a swoon, he slept and slept for a long while.
  When he awoke he felt different. His hands looked bigger, and alas they had big claws and fur at the end. His head felt heavier and alas he had horns growing from them. “Woe is me”, he yelled, “My appearance has changed though I am still Tambal from within. Yet who will know me, how will Precious Pearl even recognise, me – this beast that I have become” he wept and wailed, sobbed and threw himself to the ground....
  As the moon rose and Tambal’s crying stopped, a light was seen approaching him from afar. It came closer to reveal an old man with a long white beard, carrying a lamp. “Who is this, an evil in disguise?” thought Tambal.
  The gentle voice then told him “My son, you have been affected by the influences of this place You are lucky, I come in time having heard your loud cries. If you want to escape, then firmly think of your Heart’s Desire and take a few of the dry fruits that lie at the bottom of the tree. Then follow your destiny” so saying he walked away.
  Prince Tambal found the dry fruits and quickly ate some with relish. His horns disappeared and so did his claws and fur with the rising sun.
  Sounds of horses galloping reached him and as he watched from the safety of the trees, he saw a procession of horsemen approach. One of them looked regal and princely, he rode over to Tambal and in a loud voice announced himself, having mistaken Prince Tambal as the guardian of the oases.
  “We demand some of these fruits as we have ridden from afar and cannot remain for long; for I am Jadugarzada, son of the magician King of the East and on my way to marry the Princess Precious Pearl of the Kingdom of the West. Here take this bag of gold and give me some fruits instead”, he said as he tossed a bag to Prince Tambal.
  “So this is my destiny”, thought prince Tambal as he quickly plucked some fruits and gave it to the Son of the Magician. You know what will happen here. As they watched Jadugarzada grew horns and claws and fur and was quite befuddled and confused, and insisted he was normal, while they were all deformed and enchanted.
  The Councillors who had accompanied him were flummoxed. How could they go to claim the Princess, and go they must?
  After much debate and we really don’t know why and how such things turn out the way they turn out. The councillors decided to make Tambal act as the Magician Son and they covered Jadugarzada with a hizab and coerced him onto a horse and tied him too, till he regained his senses, they declared.
  “We will make this oaf go through all the ceremonies, for he looks the part. Once it is done and the Princess is with us, we can then decide what to do with him.” They rationalised a plan.
  So Prince Tambal by a queer turn of events now found himself decked up in finery travelling to the palace of King Kahana. There he was taken with great ceremony to the Palace and their marriage was conducted with much pomp. In all of this Princess Pearl got a glimpse of the groom and almost fell off her chair in astonishment.
  Prince Tambal signaled to her to remain silent and with a quiet nod and a look conveyed what he wished to convey and that is a language known to those who love another. That itself was a task as the head of Magician Prince party was keeping a close watch on them.
  The Head soon announced it was time for the Bride to leave with the Bridegroom party. “ Oh Wise and Wonderful Monarch, Oh Just and Glorious Monarch it is time for us to accompany the bridal pair back to our land in order for them to establish their new home”. he said
  Now Prince Precious Pearl looked with alarm at her husband Tambal; for once they were out of the Palace, she knew they would kill Tambal and the Magician Prince was also recovering his senses, though his fur and horns were still there. Time was crucial here and Tambal quickly whispered in her ear.
  “Fear Nothing. We must follow our destiny and act as best as we can. Agree to go, but say you will not leave without the wooden horse”.

  King Kahana was annoyed at this strange request , but being convinced that it was a mere plaything that she desired to have in the new home she was leaving to go to; he agreed and the Horse was finally brought out from the cupboard that it had been shut in for all this time.
  Just then the Magician Son from the East; Jadugarzada, threw off his hijab and yelled at Tambal, while Tambal grabbed the Princess on one hand and the bridle of the Horse on the other and swiftly climbed up with the Princess as well, and with a turn of a dial and swish of a nob, the Horse flew up, up and away. All those gathered below watched with astonishment  at this sudden turn of events; helplessly.
  With his heart’s desire by his side, Prince Tambal returned to his Kingdom. The people were overcome with delight at his safe return. King Mumkin was overjoyed and when he heard the stories that Tambal had to share with him, he too was amazed and perhaps even a bit envious.
  The carpenter was released and rewarded, Prince Tambal and Princess Pearl were made the heirs to the throne, while Prince Hoshyar remained quite happy with his wondrous fish. “There is nothing more rewarding than working with my wondrous fish and that is what makes me happy”, he said.
  So they lived happily ever after and people say that;
  “Those who want fish can achieve much through fish, but those who do not know their heart’s desire may first have to listen to the story of the wooden horse”

   The story ends here, but not our adventures...