18 December 2022| Tags: screenwriting, storytelling, parables, things I've learned

Thousands of years ago there was a very wealthy king.

He was neutral.

Neither very good nor very bad.

To be wealthy he needed his subjects to work hard for him.

He was neither very good nor very bad.

His problem was twofold:

  1. His best workers didn’t work very hard. They were so productive that they could finish their work in an hour or two. They could take naps. Play with their children. So they did. This made the wealthy king less wealthy.

  2. Seeing the best workers go home or take naps made the normal workers work less, too. Why put in a day of hard work, if someone else could do it in a few hours?

The wealthy King called in the greatest Magician of the land.

The Magician was neutral. He was neither very good nor very bad.

But his magic was unsurpassed.

“Magician, I have two problems: can you cast a spell so powerful that my best workers don’t take naps? And another spell so powerful that my normal workers keep working even if it seems futile?”

The Magician barely blinked an eye. “I can do both in just ONE spell”.

The King was excited: “We can get you any materials you need. Eye of newt, wolf’s-bane, fillet of a fenny snake…”

The Magician said, “I need only a handful of words and an audience.”.

The Magician rose from his seat. Cleared his throat.

“My name is Aesop.

My spell is called The Hare and the Tortoise.”

Aesop the magician told his story.

And the world was never the same.


The King, upon hearing the story, was furious:

“Preposterous! No-one is so stupid they would think a turtle is faster than a rabbit—that’s the opposite of truth.”

Aesop replied:

“People love stories more than they love truth.”

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