Category Archives: Short Stories

Father Forgets (by W. Livingston Larned)

This beautiful poem which has a lot to say about human relations was featured at a best-selling book entitled “How to Win Friends and Influence People” written by Dale Carnegie in 1937.

Teachers, Parents, and other people and institutions who handle youth and children ought to read this fascinating piece of literature.

Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply,

“Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive‐and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither.

And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me?

The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding‐this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy‐a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

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Letter to a Daughter (by Arthur Gordon)

When I was preparing for my final demonstration teaching in college, I remembered a literary piece told to us by our teacher. It was letter of a father to his daughter who is planning to get married.

I decided to look for it over the internet but in vain. So I grabbed the book from our library and made the copy available online for future students’ benefit. I hope this copy gives you more convenience and a lot of comfort – so that my manual re-typing of the text from the book would be worth it.

The relationship the father and daughter was evident in the text as well as the father’s unprejudiced response. So here it is, “Letter to a Daughter” written by Arthur Gordon.

Letter To A Daughter

By Arthur Gordon

Dear Kit,

Your letter arrived this morning, and I wasn’t too surprised by it. Ever since you went back to boarding school I’ve had the feeling that you might tell your mother and me that you and Bob want to be married this summer, after graduation. And now you’ve said it.

You ask how I feel about it. Well, not as instantly and automatically negative as you probably expect. I’m pleased that you want my approval, or at least my opinion. Let’s take a long cool look at the pluses and minuses of teen-age marriages.

The biggest plus is that marriage is the best solution to that most ancient and urgent of problems: sex. Nobody should underestimate this, because sex without fear or guilt is about 10,000 times better than sex that is hung up on broken taboos and lacerated consciences. In our society marriage tends to be postponed, for economic or educational reasons, far beyond the time when it makes good biological sense.

A second great advantage in young marriages is flexibility. Your personalities are lithe. You and Bob can adapt to each other, to new environments, new problems. Your ideas aren’t fixed, your attitudes aren’t rigid. Also, you have optimism that assumes things are going to work out, or that even if they don’t, errors can be corrected, losses regained. This kind of exuberance often disappears as people grow up.

Another cheerful fact is that when you marry young, you are more likely to develop similar tastes – in friends, in entertainment, in political candidates. These similarities are the ball bearings in the mechanism of any marriage: the more of them, the better. As one grows older and more fixed in his ways, it is harder to find people whose tastes are similar. Another plus is that being young, you have tremendous physical energy, great vitality and good health.

Finally, you have a superabundance of romantic love. Cynics are always pointing out that isn’t enough, in the long run, to make a marriage go. Maybe they are right. But certainly nothing on earth is so exciting and mysterious and rewarding as this first almost unbearable sweet desire to escape from the prison of self and become part of another person. Whether the glow lasts or not, having it is something to be proud of and grateful for always.

When young lovers look up at the full moon in the night sky they don’t stop to think that it has a dark side. But it has. The presiding judge of a domestic-relations court in California listed five factors most likely to bring such marriages crashing down: 1. Money troubles; 2. immaturity; 3. cultural gap; 4. interfering in-laws; 5. pre-marital pregnancy.

Money troubles, the judge said, are the most frequent single cause of teen-age marriage failure. Often, teen-age husbands are jobless; those who work earn so little; this leaves no margin for error; no money for fun, for illness, or for a baby. Usually it means living with in-laws. It all adds up to trouble. Even if Bob gets a subsidy from his parents, it will mean that he is not really the head of the household – he will still be dependent. He might try borrowing from his Dad but debt is not a good springboard for marriage.

The second great hazard according to this judge is immaturity. This means self-centeredness, inability to compromise or see other points of view, or to rise above hurt feelings or postpone immediate pleasures in favor of future benefits, or to do unpleasant chores when they need to be done instead of putting them off. Trying to be mature is of course a lifetime job. “Love” someone said, “is the accurate estimate and fulfillment of another’s needs.”

The judge mentioned the “cultural gap” in our socially stratified society as another hazard. This means differences in food, in speech, in pastimes, in grooming, in dress, in the kind of people you are comfortable with. When teens with such different cultural backgrounds marry, he said, it is usually because the biological attraction is so strong that it blots all other considerations. He advises young people to try a 48-hour experiment: spend 24 hours in each other’s homes with no love-making at all. If boy and girl remain pleased with each other’s family and way of life, and if without any physical contact they are not bored with each other, then, there is hope for the future.

The fourth deadly factor is interfering in-laws. Where young marriages are concerned, the judge said, in-laws too, often become outlaws. They criticize, they meddle, they make demands. However, I don’t think your parents are much like that, or Bob’s parents either.

All this discussion brings me to a question that you will not like, but that needs to be asked: Why don’t you wait a while? Neither of you has had much exposure, romantically speaking, to other people. Neither of you has been in love before. Neither of you knows what the great big supermarket of the world has to offer because, to put it bluntly, you haven’t shopped around. A year from now, one of you might have a change of heart. In that interval, somebody else might come along who would make an even better life partner. Such waiting period would be a pretty solid test of the durability of your affection. Maybe you don’t owe any such test to your parents, but you owe it to each other.

Whether you take this advice or reject it, you may be sure of one thing: nothing is going to change the way I feel about you. People say that the generation gap is unbridgeable but I don’t believe it. Do you really think that parents forget how lonely and vulnerable being a teenager can be, how desperately you need someone to lean on sometimes?

I remember the stormy night you were born, almost 18 years ago. I was waiting by myself in the hospital room assigned to your mother. The hospital was very quiet. Then I heard a baby’s cry – the delivery room was far down the corridor, through two or three sets of doors. I should not have been able to hear anything at all. But I did hear that one sharp, poignant, far-off sound. Something in me knew it was you. Later I found out from the doctor that it was you.

I have always liked to think that no matter what happened or how many doors came between us, we would always be able to hear from each other.

Love always,

DAD

THE PRAYING HANDS

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen!

In order merely to keep food on the table for this big family, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighbourhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by labouring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Praying Hands

This is Albert Durer’s Hands painted by his brother Albrecht Durer

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honoured position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfil his ambition. His closing words were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you.”

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, “No …no …no …no.”

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late.”

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer’s hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver point sketches, water-colours, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,” but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands.”

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one – no one – – ever makes it alone!

Easter from Bjorn Amundsen on Vimeo.

Royal Noble Consort Suk of the Choi Clan

Just finished watching the final episode of Dong Yi [동이]..
What i learned about the life of the Royal Noble Consort Suk of the Choi clan [숙빈최씨] is that:

“a man will be bright/radiant, and successful when he has great intentions and great heart.”

THE LIGHT OF MY EYES by Wang Yang

Often, we look for outside beauty. We fail to realize that beauty is not an artificial physique but the goodness of the heart. We should always remember that what is essential is invisible to the eye. The eye is blind for what is really important and beautiful. Let us not be discriminatory and judgmental of people’s appearances. Let us see and perceive beauty from within.


My High School English Teacher told us a story that I will never forget. I cried when I first heard it and I still cry up to now when I hear or read it.. At the time, I wasn’t interested to have a copy. But once in time, the story flashed back to my mind and I suddenly felt the urge to have a copy for myself. I tried hard to find a printed copy, so I went to ask my teacher to lend me hers. But my teacher said her copy was misplaced. I looked for the story in the internet but in vain. But at last, my long search came to an end. I happen to fall on a website (http://clairepalunday.multiply.com) where the article has also been posted.


To assure myself that I could share million copies of the story to other people around the globe, I felt free to post the story here too.]=============================================================================================
Wang Yang (Central Daily News July 10/11,1973)
Published in Reader’s Digest April 1976

What I saw behind my bride’s veil repelled me.

How blind I was to the truth!I was awake as Dr. Chou Taoahsiang operated to give me a corneal transplant. They had deadened the nerves around the eye, but I could hear metallic instruments clanking and Dr. Chou speaking.

My right eye had been inflamed and swollen for more than three years. When I checked into Taiwan’s Tri-Service General Hospital in Taipei, I could hardly see out of it, and my left eye was severely hyperopic. Doctors discovered that I was suffering from keratitis (inflammation of the cornea).

“You could have picked it up from towels or from swimming pools,” I was told.

“I’m a swimming instructor at an Army Officers’ School,” I said.
“That’s probably how you caught it,” the doctor said.About a year later, I learned that a corneal transplant could restore sight to my blind right eye. When I told my wife, she brought out her savings deposit book. She had managed to save $500 after years of hard work.

“If this isn’t enough, we’ll try to get more,” she said, adding, “You’re not like me. An illiterate person is blind though he can see. A man who can read needs both eyes.”

I put myself on Dr. Chou’s waiting list. A month later, he phoned me. “A driver was involved in a bad car accident,” he said. “Before he died, he told his wife to sell parts of his body to help support their children. Could you spare $250?”

The operation and hospital expenses would come to a further $200. I agreed, and was told to check into hospital the following day. I was extremely lucky. People waited for years before a cornea becomes available, and I told my wife how grateful I was to her for making the operation possible.

As I was being wheeled out of the operating room, my daughter Yung put her lips close to my ear and said, “Everything went well. Mother wanted to come, but she was afraid.”

“Tell her not to come,” I said. “But tell her I’m all right. She is not to worry.”I was 19 when I married on my parents’ orders. My father and my wife’s father were close friends and had pledged that if their wives gave birth to a boy and a girl, the children should be married.

I had never set eyes on the girl who was to be my wife until the day she was carried to our house in a bridal sedan chair. After bowing to heaven and earth, she was led to my bedroom. When at last I lifted the red brocade of her bridal headdress, I gasped with horror. Her face was cruelly covered with pockmarks, her nose was a deformity, and beneath sparse eyebrows, her scarred eyelids made her eyes swollen. She was 19, and looked 40.

I fled to my mother’s room and cried all night. My mother told me that I must accept my fate. “Homely girls bring good luck; pretty ones court sorrows.” But nothing she said reduced my anguish. I would not share a room with my wife, and I did not speak to her. I lodged at school. When summer vacation came, I refused to come home until my father sent a cousin to fetch me.

My wife was cooking supper when I arrived, and raised her head in a smile when she saw me. I walked right past her. After supper, my mother said to me privately, “Son you are being very cruel. Her face is unattractive, but she does not have an ugly heart.”

“No, it must be beautiful,” I stormed. “Otherwise how could you have made me marry her?”

My mother’s face grew pale. “She is an extremely good girl, understanding and considerate,” she said. “She has been in this house more than six months now, and works from morning to night in the kitchen and at the mill. She has not uttered a word of complaint about the way you have treated her. I have not seen her shed a tear. But she is shedding them inside. Do you want her to live like a widow although she has a husband? Put yourself in her place.”My wife and I began to share the same bedroom, but nothing changed the way I felt. She always kept her face down and spoke softly. If I argued with her, she would raise her head to give me a submissive smile, and then quickly lower it again. She’s like a ball of cotton wool, I thought. No will, no temper.

In the 30 years of marriage that followed, I seldom smiled at my wife and never went out in her company. Indeed, I often wished her dead.

And yet, my wife proved to be endowed with more patience and love than anyone I know. When we first came to Taiwan, I held a low rank in the army, and my income was barely enough to pay for rent and food. The baby was often ill, and we had to cope with medical expenses as well. When my wife was not looking for after the household, she wove straw hats and mats to earn a little money. When we moved to a fishing harbor in the east, she darned fishing nets and when we moved north, she learned to paint designs on pottery. We never lived in army quarters because the truth was we both feared her meeting people I knew. I was often away from home, but I knew that needn’t worry about our two children or the household, with her looking after everything.

After the operation, my daughter Yung brought me a transistor radio to occupy the long hours while the bandages remained on my eyes. But I had plenty of time to think, and my thoughts kept returning to my wife. I was somewhat ashamed for telling her not to come to see me.

After two weeks, I learned that the stitches would soon be removed. I could not contain my happiness. “When I recover,” I told Yung, “I want to pay a visit to the grave of the man who gave me his cornea.”

But I was nervous, for I knew there was a chance that the transplant would not take. When they removed the bandages from my right eye, I scarcely dared open it.“Do you see any light?” Dr. Chou asked.

I blinked. “Yes, from above.”
“Yes, that’s the lamp,” he said, and patted me on the shoulder.
“It’s a success. You can go home a week from today.”During that week, he tested my eye everyday. First I could see shadows, then the number of fingers on his hand. On the day I was going home, I could see the window, the bed, and even the teacups on the table.

“Mother’s making your favorite dishes to welcome you home,” Yung said when she came for me.

“She’s a good wife and a good mother,” I replied, words I could never say before.Yung and I climbed into a taxi. She was strangely silent all the way home. As I walked into the house, my wife was coming from the kitchen with a plate of food. When she saw me, she lowered her head immediately. “You’re back,” she murmured.

“Thank you for letting me see,” I said. It was the first time I remembered ever thanking her for anything.

She walked past me abruptly and put the food on the table. Leaning against the wall with her back toward me, she began to sob. “It is enough to hear you say this. I have not lived in vain.”Yung burst into the room in tears.
“Tell him!” she cried. “Let father know you gave the cornea for his eye!” She shook her mother. “Tell him!”

“I only did what I should,” my wife said.I grabbed her by the shoulders, and looked closely at her face. Her left iris was opaque, as my right one had been.

“Golden Flower!” It was the first time I spoke her name.
“Why…why did you do it?” I demanded shaking her hard.

“Because…you are my husband,” she said, burying her head in my shoulder. I held her tight. Then I got down and knelt at her feet.

The Dream

THE DREAM

Original Story © Hark Herald C. Sarmiento

A dream came to a man at dawn. In his dream, it was dark. It was dark because he’s under the tableseemingly waiting for someone to come.

Then, there were footsteps. The footsteps grow louder and nearer. Then from the direction of the sound he saw feet. The feet came closer to his direction. What shall he do? The dreamer doesn’t understand but he’s afraid of the feet. Now, the feet are in front of him. He tried hard not to move and not to breathe so as not to create any sound at all.

But the man whose feet are visible to the dreamer bent down! The dreamer’ heart pounded very fast. When their eyes met, the man’s face was shown to the dreamer! It was his father. “Goodness me”, thought the dreamer, “no need to panic!”

But something was wrong. Something must be wrong for his father was pointing a gun to him. Why? He doesn’t understand. However, he begged his father not to shoot him yet. He in turn gave him a chance to say goodbye to his family.

At home, he busied himself saying goodbye. But only one of his four sisters was there. His mother was not there either. Her sister’s crying. She doesn’t know the reason for his execution. In the absence of his other family members, the dreamer wrote a letter for them instead. He even recorded his voice for them to remember. He was crying. He and his sister were crying. His friends abroad came to his mind. “What about them? How shall I say goodbye?” he asked himself. The dreamer tried to call them but in vain. There were no responses.

When the farewell is over, he decided to go back to his father and face his end. It was dark where his father was. It was dark. He could not see. He could not see for his eyes were closed.

At that instant, he was awakened.

When he woke up, the dreamer realized that it was but a dream. Thanks be to God! Thanks be to God, it was but a dream! The dreamer ran to his parents who were still asleep and kissed them and hugged them and told them everything he should have said all these years. He expressed his feelings before it’s too late to tell them those as he saw in his dream. He wrote letters to friends containing messages of gratitude and complements. He told everybody things they ought to hear from him.

When he had done all these, the dreamer wrote his last will and testament. He thought to himself, “Just in case death comes on a sudden, I need not to hurry like that on my dream.” He wrote in the testament everything that he wants to happen when he die. He also included specific instructions on how things should work when he’s gone.

Finally, the dreamer wrote a story about his dream.