Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The ball of wool

Once upon a time there was a little boy of about ten going home from school. As he crossed through the woods he met an old lady who stopped and talked to him. He told her that he was sad because he was unhappy at school. She gave him a gift of a ball of wool.

"Whenever you're unhappy" she said, "just unwind some of this wool and your unhappiness will pass away!"

For a few days he did nothing with his new gift. But one day he got home really upset because he was being bullied by the other children. He took out the ball of wool and unwound it a few turns to see what would happen.

Suddenly, he was a couple of years older, still at the same school, but no longer bullied.

He was a young teenager now, enjoying school, but he wished he could go out late in the evenings and at weekends with his friends. His parents would not let him do so however out of love and parental caring.

"If only I was a bit older" he thought, "then my parents would allow me to go out whenever I want!"

He unwound a few more turns of the ball of wool and he was soon nineteen years old; a young man able to drive and go out with friends. 

He got to like a particular young lady he met at college and wished they could date. But he was still a student, he did not have a steady job and money to buy her all the gifts he thought she deserved; and go on holidays together and enjoy themselves.

A few more turns of the ball of wool and he was in his late twenties.

Married to the girl of his dreams and with a young family. A good job and a beautiful house. But the young children were a bit of a problem. The baby up all night, the older toddler wanting to play all the time, teething problems, childhood sickness, and all the difficulties one has with a young family that obscured his real happiness and joy. He was always tired in the mornings not having slept all night because of the baby crying. His wife tried her best to raise the family and keep home, but somehow life was difficult for all of them with all the chores one has to do.

"If only the children were a bit older" he thought; and a few more turns of the ball of wool and the kids were about eleven and nine. But sadly at this time his father became very ill and died.

The young man was totally distraught and could not get over his father's death. He lost all interest in family, work, and life in general.

"Make the pain go away" he cried as he unwound a few more turns of the ball of wool.

The children were much older now and studying at University. His hairs had gone grey a little and he struggled to go to work every day, having to drive long distances and cope with ever increasing responsibilites. He also suffered from a few minor pains and aches one gets as one gets older. His mother had grown older too and was frequently unwell. As a good son he often took her to the doctor's and for frequent hospital visits. This added to his ever increasing workload.

He felt sorry for his mother in old age, he felt sorry for his wife also getting older and struggling a little with daily life, he worried about his children having left the nest and taking their first steps into adult life. He became concerned as to how much longer he could keep working with his many ailments.

He unwound the ball of wool a little more to get out of his meloncholy.

As he did so, his mother grew ever so older and eventually died.

This tragedy broke his heart more than losing his father. His children had grown up and moved away with families of their own. His wife was grey haired too and ever lovingly by his side. His minor pains and aches had developed into painful ailments and illnesses requiring constant care and medication. It was now his turn to visit doctors and hospitals for frequent check-ups.

He became ever so sad at having lost his parents and children so far away from home that he rarely saw them. He longed to be with his grandchildren but they lived so far that he could not manage the travelling involved.

Every day became a struggle as he stayed at home nursing his many ailments and being looked after by his loving wife. He regretted his state of affairs and the fact that life could not be better.

One night, sitting in his room, he held the ball of wool now no bigger than his thumb in his trembling weak hands, and wondered where all the years had gone. He cursed the old lady who gave it to him as a gift all that long ago.

In his tiredness he fell asleep and the ball of wool fell to the ground and unwound itself completely. With a last gasp of breath he died.

The little boy of ten had lived all his life in a matter of weeks.


Know when you are really happy and thank God for it.


  1. I commented on here and it disappeared!! Not sure where it went!!

    Great story, Victor! A reminder of living in the present moment and have an attitude of gratitude!
    God bless!

    1. Hi Colleen. I too sometimes lose comments when writing on other peoples' Blogs. Can't understand why.

      It's true I suppose that too many people don't live in the present and wish their lives away.

      God bless.

  2. Sometimes I feel like my 'ball of wool' is unraveling faster than I would like...it just gets away from me.
    Great metaphor. "Tempest Fugit, Memento Mori"!
    "Time flies, remember death"!

    1. That's right Hand Maid. Tempus Fugit. I was told that life is like a toilet roll. The nearer it gets to the end the faster it un-rolls.

      We should treat it with a smile I suppose. My motto (on the right) is Ridere Ad Vitam - Laugh at life.

      God bless you.

  3. OMG, that was so sad. But it was brilliantly told. I was captivated. You have to publish that one Victor.

    1. Hello Manny,

      Great to see you visiting here again. Happy New Year to you and yours.

      Yes, it's a sad story but too true for some people I fear.

      God bless you, Manny.

  4. Victor, this story is amazing - simply amazing. The man ended up missing out on most of his life...very sad. It's a good reminder to us that all the "good stuff" is intimately entwined with the "not so good stuff". It reminds me of when I used to say on bad days "I wish this day was over already". I never say that anymore and haven't for quite some time after I realized that it was like throwing a beautiful gift back in God's face.

    Thank you, Victor - this story is brilliant.

    1. Thank you so much Mary for your kind comments. Yes, I suppose we all sometimes wish that the bad stuff and bad days go away quickly. God knows that, and I'm sure He forgives us.

      God bless you and yours.

  5. Enjoy every moment, life is so precious (Granny's saying!). Thanks Victor for the reminder!
    "Ridere Ad Vitam - Laugh at life", I like that! We don't laugh enough these days I think.
    God bless,

    1. Yes Noelle. I try always to laugh at life. Especially when I look in the mirror !!!. Life is precious indeed.

      Thank you for visiting me again, Noelle. God bless you.



God bless you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...