E is for Ethiopian Equanimity & Edification–A to Z Blog Challenge

Ethopian men by Steve EvansE imageWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Each post highlights present-day and folktale examples.

Ethiopia has beauty from the cool Highlands to the hot Danakil Desert.  People gather in the night to this day and share stories with each other and recognize the importance of each individual in the telling and the listening.  These Ethiopian men pictured here was taken by Steve Evans. He has granted permission for Story Crossroads to use this image.

Present-Day Equanimity & Edification

I found a lovely video that has so much happiness and kindness that can be found here:  https://www.peacecorps.gov/stories/video-happiness-ethiopia/#video-modal-0.  This video is provided by Peace Corps Ethiopia Volunteer Kirsten Kuwatani.  You will see glimpses of people laughing together, playing music and dancing, helping to plant trees, and on and on.  Be inspired and watch this under 2-minute video.

Past Equanimity & Edification (Folktale)

The folktale can be found in the book “When the World Began: Stories Collected in Ethiopia” by Elizabeth Laird, published by Oxford University Press.  The story is titled “The Shield of Kindness.”

Here is a summary:

A dying Father tested which of his three Sons were the most kind.  Whichever Son proved to be the most kind would receive a shield that had been handed to him by his father, and his father, and on and on.   The first Son traveled far and came upon a baby in the Nile River. The Mother screamed for help while crocodiles swarmed closer. The first Son jumped in and saved the baby.  The Father said that while it was a kind deed, people naturally would risk their lives for a baby.  The second Son traveled far until a Man asked if he could watch his money while he headed to market. Although he could have taken the money, he did not take any of it.  The Man offered a reward for watching it so well and the second Son refused.  The Father complimented that he was honest though that does not always connect to kindness.  The third son traveled far even high up into the mountains.  He came upon his Enemy sleeping close to the edge of the cliff.  This Enemy had tried to steal and take the lives of his family.  This third Son could have yelled, startled the Man, and had the Man fall to his death.  Instead, he carefully took the Man’s arm and led him to safety off the mountain.  The Father proclaimed that the third Son was most kind as it is easy to be kind to those who are kind.  It takes the greatest kindness of all to love and care for an enemy.  The Father gave the shield and all strove to be the best they can be.

Interesting Notes on Kindness

  • The Father wished to focus on kindness for the test for his three sons
  • The first son did risk his life in the name of kindness
  • The second son did risk prosperity–in a dishonest way–and instead chose kindness
  • The third son looked beyond the wrongdoings of his enemy and saved his enemy’s life rather than being rid of his enemy
  • The Father encouraged a deeper view of kindness from all his sons
  • The Family promoted and continued in kindness

What stories of kindness do you know associated with Ethiopia?  Anywhere in the world – past or present?  Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

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