Excerpt from "The King of Togo Togo and Other Stories"
Laura Simms' recording of "The King of Togo Togo and Other Stories" is a collection of truly delightful stories that the whole family will enjoy. The following transcribed excerpt of the story about the donkey and goose who were in love will give you a taste of what to expect.
There was once a donkey and a goose and they were in love. They lived on opposite sides of a road separated by two fences and all day they would stare at each other and sigh. They wished that they could speak each other’s language so that they could tell one another how much they loved each other.
One evening there was a boy and a girl walking down the road holding hands, kissing, and talking about a wishing well at the end of the road. Everybody knows that animals can’t understand each other’s language but they can understand the language of human beings. So they understood and each one made a plan.
Late that night the donkey pushed open the gate with his head and went “clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity” right down that road until he came to the wishing well, pulled himself up with his long legs, leaned over the edge and said, “Eeeehh Ohhhh, I am so in love. I wish I could be a goose.” And all of a sudden, the donkey shrunk down to the size of a goose, turned colors, his ears went in, his tail was gone, and he had webbed feet. Happily, the donkey who was now a goose hopped off the wishing well and waddled, waddled, waddled, waddled all the way back to his fence. He pushed in the door with his rear, shut it with his head, and waited.
Later that night the goose who was digging a hole beneath her fence pushed herself out onto the road and waddled, waddled, waddled, waddled all the way to the wishing well. Then she leaped up with great difficulty, balanced on the edge of the well and said into the water, “Honk, I am so in love. I wish I could be a donkey.” And low and behold, the goose became a donkey. Ears came out of her head. She grew long and brown with a big tail and long legs. The goose who was now a donkey leaped off the side of the wishing well and clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity, clippity, cloppity went back to her fence. She pushed in the door with her rear, shut it with her head, and waited. They could hardly wait for the sun to rise so that they could see one another.
Excerpt from Robert Bly's "What Stories Do We Need"
The following is a transcribed excerpt from "What Stories Do We Need" -- a thought provoking and timeless recording by poet and men's movement pioneer Robert Bly. "What Stories Do We Need" reminds us that we all carry a personal mythology, but the stories we tell ourselves may not be entirely true... Recorded live at The New York Open Center.
We’re talking about mythology today. And mythology moves towards the soul in the same way that philosophy moves towards the brain. In fact, I think Joe Campbell said the other day, all philosophy is a frozen form of mythology and if you really love a philosopher, then try to recognize the philosopher as being a kind of an ice over the water on which you could walk. And that’s nice, but try to go below and see what the water is doing down there. And in that case, he believes that every philosophical idea has a mythological image underneath it, including all those ones, Heraclitus, and all of that. They come out of centuries of wild mythological imaging.
So the first point I want to make is that mythology is connected to the soul. That doesn’t mean it is unconnected to the spirit, but that mythology in general asked you to go down before you go up. And we’ll have an example of that because I’ll do a story this morning. And the second thing you would say is that mythology is connected with inner figures. It can be said that when you are a monotheist psychologically, all mythology dies. Because monotheism implies that there is a center to the psyche and that all other parts of the psyche will obey them. That’s the hope of the pudens. If you decide that you’re not going to tell a lie, everyone inside will obey. Like hell. That’s why a New Year’s Eve resolution is only until about five minutes to twelve that night.
And when Jim Hillman came to the men’s workshop in California this last year, he told a wonderful story. He said: you see the problem is, if you’re a young male and telling a whole bunch of spiritual young males the problems is the word commitment, it sends shudders through your chest. And we know that and that’s quite right. There is something in the hue that’s aware of the danger of commitment and of course, that causes a lot of grief for everybody. But nevertheless he was also saying there is some truth in that. And he says I’ll give you an example. The young male decides that he is going to get married because he needs to get married. He’s 24 and decides to get married. But he forgets that there is a whole platoon in there. And there may be one or two in that platoon who will suck up to the sergeant, and so when the time is to do the task, they’ll be there. The rest of the platoon, he says, is off in the woods somewhere. And the next morning after the wedding they said, “Wait a minute, you didn’t ask me at all. I would’ve never agreed to this. And because you didn’t even ask me, I’m going to muck the whole thing up. I’m going off into the woods to get drunk. You and your sergeant can do what you want.” Do you understand that feeling? It’s a wonderful idea before you make a commitment, please talk to the rest of your platoon.
And with women, being no different whatsoever. Exactly the same. Even taking a job it is important to check the rest of the platoon. Some of them may not want this job at all. And if they don’t like it… you know, you’ll start dropping pencils and pretty soon you’re forgetting stuff and you get canned. I like this, don’t you? This whole idea of the platoon. You have to check with the platoon.
Excerpt from "Men & Women: Talking Together" with Deborah Tannen and Robert Bly
Men's movement pioneer Robert Bly and relationship communication expert Deborah Tannen help us understand how men and women communicate differently and how they can learn to appreciate the other's point of view, as evidenced in this transcribed excerpt from Tannen and Bly's terrific program "Men & Women: Talking Together". Recorded Live at The New York Open Center.
In a way, a conversation is a ritual. And to come home and tell everything that happened is a ritual, and it’s a ritual that women have engaged in from the time they were very little. So to feel that life is going on as it should, you just want to play out those rituals because it’s not a ritual that men understand. It’s not one that they’ve done. And I want to say right here that all evening we are going to be saying women and men. And nothing that we say will be true of every woman and every man. There are a lot of cultural differences here, too.
So I do hear from couples who will say the husband comes home and wants to tell everything and the wife says if it’s not a problem, don’t talk about it. Stop complaining if you don’t want to do something about it. So you hear it from both sides. But because it’s a ritual that most women understand and most men don’t, he looks for the literal reason for the talk and he doesn’t see a reason for that talk. And it’s very frustrating to do something that you don’t understand the reason for. So I’ve had people say, “Well, you know, just say to him I don’t want you to tell me what to do. Just listen to me.” And that makes perfect sense except it will drive a person crazy to sit and listen to something that they don’t understand why they’re listening and what it’s getting at.
So sometimes, it’s just as reasonable -- I sometimes use my own husband as an example here. I don’t think he’ll mind. He’s sitting out there. He’s smiling so far. So I remember I was talking and he said, “Well, I know you just want to talk about it and you don’t want me to give you the solution, but it’s too frustrating for me to sit here and listen when I know the solution. So let me tell you the solution and then you can keep talking about it if you want to keep talking about it.” So that is just as good a compromise, and I’ve heard of couples, too, that compromise in the following way. Not just as you said where they both kind of find different ways of talking but they may have an understanding where she will give him a half hour to not talk and then he will give her a half hour to talk.
Excerpt from "The Glance"
Love is alive, and someone borne alone by it is more alive than lions roaring or men in their fierce courage. Bandits ambush others on the road. They get wealth, but they stay in one place. Lovers keep moving, never the same, not for a second. What makes others grieve, they enjoy. When they look angry, do not believe their faces. It is spring lightning, a joke before the rain. They chew thorns thoughtfully, along with pastured grass. Gazelle and lioness having dinner. Love is invisible, except here, in us. Sometimes I praise love. Sometimes love praises me. Love, a little shell somewhere on the ocean floor, opens its mouth. You and I make we. Those imaginary beings enter that shell as a single sip of seawater.