One of My Grandma’s Stories

Welcome to Day 5 of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge run by The theme I’m exploring in these 30 days is Azerbaijan, the setting of my memoir(s). I’ll show you places and share memories that shape my books.

IMG_5249My grandma loves telling stories. If she wants to tell someone off or give advice, she first tells a story. As a teenager, I used to get annoyed with this habit. Why couldn’t she just say what she had to say? Why did I have to listen to the same stories over and over again? As an adult, I understand the power of stories. We process an advice or reprimand with our conscious mind. The story goes straight into our subconscious.

Here is one of my grandma’s stories.

Once upon a time there was a woman who was famous for her loving relationship with her husband. Another woman, who had a terrible relationship with her husband, decided to find the good wife and beg her to reveal the secret to her happy marriage. After searching high and low, she found the house of the woman.

‘Hello,’ she said opening the gates.

To her utter surprise a woman sat under the scorching sun and knitted an outfit. By her side there was a broken jug of water and a piece of dry bread.

‘I am sorry to intrude, but are you the woman who everyone praises for her happy relationship?’

‘Yes, it’s me,’ she replied. ‘My name is Fatima. Come in. How can I help you?’

‘Well, before I tell you why I wanted to talk to you, can you explain why you are sitting under the scorching sun and having such a modest meal? There is plenty of shade under those wonderful trees in your garden, and I can see ripe fruit as well.’

‘You see, my husband is working in the field right now. He is under the scorching sun with only bread and water for lunch. I am doing the same out of solidarity.’

The woman reflected on Fatima’s response. She wondered whether that was the secret she was after. But just to be absolutely sure, she decided to ask Fatima directly.

‘You’ve been so kind to me already. Would you tell me what is the secret of a happy marriage?’

Fatima smiled.

‘I will tell you. But I have one condition. Before I reveal the secret, you must bring me a couple of whiskers of a tiger.’

The woman felt distraught.

‘Where will I find a tiger and how can I pull its whiskers out?’

‘I don’t know. It’s my condition, though. If you value your marriage, you’d figure it out.’

The woman left Fatima’s house in deep thought. In the course of the next few days she found a zoo where a tiger was held. She decided to volunteer to look after the tiger. Every day she went to see the tiger. She brought him meat. She balanced it on a shovel which she held far away from herself. As weeks and months went by, she reduced the distance between her and the tiger. They got fond of each other. She could see a sparkle in the tiger’s eyes when she appeared exactly at the same time with a portion of the best meat she could buy. At long last the tiger trusted her so much that she pulled a couple of his whiskers and rushed to Fatima’s house.

‘Here,’ she said triumphantly. ‘I’ve got them! Now, tell me the secret of a happy marriage at once!’

‘When you treat your husband the way you treated the tiger, your marriage would become a happy one.’


8 thoughts on “One of My Grandma’s Stories

  1. I love people who teach through stories, and it seems more common in certain cultures than others. I certainly didn’t grow up with fables, but I did hear the same stories from my family history over and over again. As with many things you only appreciate as an adult, I can relate to your impatience and eye-rolling! But how nice you remember it so vividly and what a legacy from your grandmother!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Louise, I wish I could put everything aside and sit by her side to record all these nuggets of wisdom… Sadly, my hometown and the house I grew up is too triggering for me, so I don’t last long enough there, 2-3 days with everyone wanting to meet up is not long enough to relax into her stories.

      Liked by 1 person

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