Famine and pestilence is in the land, and people, were suffering from the emptiness of their hearts. They were saddened with the poor prospects of their families, communes and nations. The land was barren. Animals died of thirst. Children died in their sleep. Plenty of people lost their will to live and prevail in the land of emptiness and gloom.
The conclave came to the hills where a known warlord, SginneD, and his allies, the Earingman and MadlinB lived. The Triumphants, as they were called, have once traveled to other faraway lands and helped cure people with the same ailments that inflicted their own homeland.
According to the old folks, the Triumphants were wizards. They had neither crystal bowls nor magic wands. But they had a Genie that had the power to ask wise questions – that helped discover answers.
A terrible news came forth when the conclave started. The pestilence killed the lives of millions of people and unless a medicine was found fast, the soonest time, the sickness will wipe out millions more. And fast in a matter of days.
Priests, magicians, illusionists, healers, prophets, carpenters, singers, herdsmen and many others in the conclave spoke on how to cure the illness.
Everyone in the conclave accounted what they tried to do to cure it, but everyone failed in their efforts.
The priests chanted for a miracle. The magician and illusionists could make the pestilence disappear but only for a few days, then it returned. The carpenters built walls to protect the millions who were not sick. The singers sung praises and inspiring songs. As each person spoke and listened to the stories of despair, the weight of the sadness in the room got heavier and heavier and everyone became even more in desperate.
Then the crowd asked the Triumphants: “When will you ask the Genie for help?”
SginneD, the warlord, was silent for a few moments. It seemed like forever, and then he finally spoke.
“We can only ask the Genie as a means of last recourse. The Genie can only ask the wise question once every 1,000 years. Is this the year that we are to ask the Genie?”
SginneD, paused and said: “The Genie only permits one wise question. It is we, the people, who must look for the right answer. And if we fail to find the right answer, the Genie will lose forever its power to help.”
SginneD, continued: “Is this the year? Is it now that we must ask for help from the Genie?”
Some of the people began to panic. Others pleaded with the warlord, while others resented and despised the warlord and accused him of being a traitor to his homeland.
On the dark side of the room, a mother with her child came forward. As the light glowed on her face, she raised her child. The child had blood flowing out of his ears and his head seemed swollen. She cried and pleaded to the warlord: “Please cure my child! Will you please cure my child?”
The crowed was horrified. The very contagious sickness is now in their midst. The child is sick with the horrible disease. And everyone feared they will all die, at that moment.
“Will you please cure my child?” the mother pleaded one more time. She laid the child on the warlord’s feet.
SginneD, wept, knelt and called the Genie: “Wise Genie, please ask the wise question so that we may find the answer and cure this child and others.”
There was anticipation in the room. Silence followed. No Genie appeared. Silence continued.
To everyone’s surprise, the Genie was not a large Being that would speak magical words to everyone or speak in words of thunder and might. For each person in the room, a small Genie appeared, which is a small fairy-like-thumb-size Genie who whispered to each person’s ear.
“The wise question will help you only if you do not tell others what the question was. You can only tell others the answer. And the most important thing is that you do to others what the answer tells you to.”
Silence was in the room. Silence that often happens when one watches the sunset. Silence with the quiet expression of tenderness and affection. Silence when one begins to speak to oneself. Silence when one answers a question asked of oneself. And then there was the silence of energy, enthusiasm, exuberance, ecstasy – the silence of waiting for the birth of child; a silence that meant new life.
The people in the crowd began to hear answers from their own hearts.
They begun to tell stories of their forefathers and what their forefathers did to survive and conquer the sickness 2,000 years ago. The crowds began to embrace each other. They began to cry in joy. They laughed. They relished hearing the stories. Each person was listening and telling stories.
Then they began to dance. And they sang. While they danced and sang, their spirits lifted and their hearts were reborn. They felt like weightless feathers. They felt powerful – the power and capacity to give and to take. They felt free.
No one can explain, but they forgot the sickness. They forgot the pestilence. As they went home to their own lands, along their travels, they stopped and continued to tell the stories to each commune and family. Each person and family began to lift their spirits and remove the burdens in their hearts.
Everyone in the nation seemed to have forgotten there was a pestilence and sickness.
Everyone went about telling the stories of their forefathers and doing what the stories told them to do. As they told and listened to stories, the sickness vanished. The fields turned green. The animals turned very healthy. And the children were dancing once again in the yards.
The conclave is now a memory. The question of the Genie lives in everyone’s hearts through generations.
What was the wise question?
“What is the one true story in your heart that if you told everyone, the story will lift their spirits, they will soar to the skies, and they will be so moved in tears of joy and happiness?”
My forefathers told this story.
My father told me the story.
All who were in the conclave became Triumphants.
By Ray Jimenez, the Traveler
My gratitude to everyone for the gifts –
Organizational Storytelling – April 16-18, 2009,
Please help me with my sick world. Be my Genies.
I need stories to lift the hearts and move people to action.
Storytelling to Train
10,000 Stories for Training
Ray Jimenez, PhD
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way” “Helping Learners Apply Learning”