Young People's Stories of Peacefulness
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Billings, Melissa Stone
There are four stories in this oversized pamphlet. The first is The Argument Sticks, a Native American story illustrated by Bryna Waldman (2). A wise mother counsels two arguing boys to lean three sticks against each other in the woods and check their status a month later. If they will have fallen toward the north, one boy is right; if to the south, the other is right. The sticks had fallen in a heap and begun to rot; the boys could not remember what the argument had been about in the first place. It is not worth it to lose a friendship over an argument. The second is To Fight or Not to Fight, a Laotian story illustrated by Patti Boyd (6). A rich man notices a husband and wife who always quarrel. He offers them one hundred pieces of silver if they can get through a day without quarreling. They promptly quarrel about who is responsible for their quarrelsomeness. The rich man continues on his search for a couple that understand the value of peace. He finds a couple who never quarrel and offers them one hundred pieces of silver if they fight with one another on this day. The husband does not want to start the quarrel but does all that he can to anger his wife, so that she will start the quarrel. But whatever he does, she finds the good in it. He gives them the silver pieces because they truly love peace. The third story is House of Peace, a Chinese story illustrated by David Wenzel (16). The emperor pays a surprise visit to an old minister, because he heads a family famous for its peacefulness. He asks the minister their secret. Unable to speak, minister asks for paper and writes forgive not just once but a hundred times! The fourth story is A Blind Man Catches a Bird, a Zimbabwean story illustrated by Theresa Smith (20). Two men go hunting for birds. One is blind but knows sounds very well. His partner switches the birds they have caught in their traps. Later, on the way home, he asks the blind man why men fight. Men fight because they do to each other what you have just done to me (28). The perpetrator reswitches the birds. In answer to another question, the wise blind man says that that is how men who have fought become friends again. There are acknowledgements on 30. Strangely, sources are acknowledged for only three stories.
Young People's Press