This story is a good example of a story that I wrote to illustrate a point. It isn’t the greatest piece of fiction and is a little ham handed in the end, but I think that with the right group and with the right lesson it can be effective.
This is a fairy tale. In it Ed and Sophia learn to use the strength that they have on the inside to defeat an ogre. (They also fall in love)
If you are a Christian then the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives inside of you. Ed and Sophia don’t realize the power that they have been given by the Hermit, but when they are willing to stand up to the ogre the power that is dwelling inside of them comes out. Most Christians don’t live like they have the power of God dwelling in them. But unlike Ed and Sophia because they feel powerless they choose to run from problems rather than facing them.
Once upon a time in a land filled with dragons and knights and fair ladies and all sorts of people doing things worth writing stories about there lived a small peasant farmer named Edward. Ed didn’t want to do anything worth writing a story about. In fact Ed just wanted to be left on his little farm in peace. You see Ed wasn’t like all of the big dashing knights that lived in the city. He wasn’t all that handsome and he certainly wasn’t that strong and well when you got right to it he was down right clumsy.
Most days Ed was content with his life. He enjoyed living the quiet life of a farmer. It was only when a particular task or errand took him south past his neighbor’s farm that he had dreams of being different. That he had dreams of being a hero worthy enough to win the fair maiden. You see, in the farm to the south lived Sophia, the love of Edward’s life.
Sophia worked her small farm alone. Her mother and father had died a few years back and since they had no sons, the farm had passed to Sophia. She ran her farm with all of the love and skill her father had put into it. Each morning she would see to her few animals and tend to the fields. Each evening she would retire to her cottage, tired, but happy about her days work.
Now Sophia was the love of Ed’s life, but she knew nothing about it. He would often find excuses to go past her house and if he found her at her chores he would stop and help a while. He never talked much to her, but he was always willing to lend a hand and help her work.
One day while Sophia was going about her daily work an ogre appeared. The ogre stood around 8 feet tall with a head two sizes too large for his body and a nose two sizes too large for its face. The ogre resembled a man only in the fact that it walked on two feet. He was a sickly grey color and was covered in thin hair except for his head which was bald and splotchy. The ogre smelled of old meat and cheese and he was holding a club in his hands.
Now even in this land where ogres were real you didn’t want to see one standing at your gate. Sophia didn’t know what to do, but she decided that the best thing to do would be to just be polite. So she walked to her gate and said good morning.
“Good morning to you,” said the Ogre, “You have such fine manners for one who is homeless.”
“I’m not homeless,” Sophia said, “You are standing at the front gate of my property now, and that is my house back there. Now is there anything I can do for you?”
“But you are homeless,” said the Ogre, “or at least you are about to be. I am taking over your house.” And with that he picked Sophia up and dropped her outside of the fence. Then he crashed through the gate and proceeded up the walk. As he neared the house he picked up a chicken wandering in the yard and began to eat it as he walked through the door.
Sophia sat in the road in front of her house and cried. She didn’t know what to do. Her house was now infested with an Ogre, her dress was muddy from the road, and her bottom hurt from where she was dropped. She was destitute.
Her first thought was to run to Ed’s house and ask him to help. She quickly put that out of her mind though. He would be no match for such a big Ogre. So she decided to go to town and see if any of the knights there would be willing to help her clear her house of this Ogre.
After 5 minutes in town she knew she would find no help. All of the knights she met were already heading off on other errands. They had beautiful maidens to save and were sent out on quests by beautiful princesses. They had big quests for real glory fighting huge dragons or hundreds of Ogres. No one had the time to help a peasant girl defeat one little Ogre. There just wasn’t enough glory in it. Dejected, Sophia turned for home.
Meanwhile, Ed noticed that things had changed around Sophia’s house. He went to knock on her door and was knocked down by the Ogre throwing the door open.
“What have you done with Sophia?” Ed said.
“Sophia?” questioned the Ogre, “I don’t know anyone named Sophia, but if you mean the little girl who lived here I kicked her out of my house.”
“It isn’t your house,” Ed said, “You have to get out of here right now.”
The ogre started to laugh when Ed said this, he laughed even harder when Ed picked up a stick in the yard, he laughed the hardest when Ed charged and tripped over a root throwing him to the ground.
“It’s time to go, Little Man,” the ogre said. And he picked Ed up and threw him over the fence onto the ground. Ed didn’t know what to do. He got up, brushed himself off, and with his head lowered set off for home.
On the way home Ed met a hermit. The hermit was old and stooped. His clothes were dirty and his hair was wild. He carried a large cane that helped him to walk. When he saw Ed he stopped.
“So Edward,” The hermit said, “why do you look so depressed?”
“How do you know my name?” Edward asked.
“I know everyone around here, and it is polite to answer a question before you ask another one. Why do you look so depressed?”
Ed relayed the story to the hermit. He found it was easy to talk to this old stranger. He told the hermit everything even about his love for Sophia.
“So now here I am the one time she really needs me and I can’t help her.”
“Do you want to help her?” The hermit asked.
“Of course I do,” Ed said.
“Well then here is what you do.” The hermit said. then he told Ed to go home and get his father’s sword,
“But it is too heavy for me,” Ed protested.
“Just get it.” The hermit said, “once you have your fathers sword go to the point where the two streams meet: the spot just north of the old road bridge. When you get there you are to wash in the river seven times. After you dip your head beneath the water seven times go back and face the ogre.”
Ed didn’t really know what to think, but something in the way the hermit said those words made him willing to try. He pulled his fathers sword off the wall and yes it was way to heavy for him. He drug it behind him as he walked towards the stream.
When he arrived at the river he found that he wasn’t the only one there. Sophia was just entering the water. After a few startled words Ed found out that on her way home Sophia had also met a hermit who told her to come and wash seven times, but her hermit was tall and didn’t need a cane.
As foolish as they both felt before they felt even more foolish now. But, they both continued to follow the strange instructions. As the came out of the water the seventh time they both looked expectantly at the each other.
“Do I look different?” Sophia asked.
“You look beautiful,” Ed said not knowing why he did so.
“Really?” she exclaimed.
Ed ducked his head a little and mumbled a bit as he said, “You look beautiful, but you don’t look any different from before. Except maybe wetter.”
“What about you?” she asked. “Do you feel any different.”
“No” Ed said feeling disappointment close in over him like the water had.
“O well,” Sophia said, “it was only a slim hope anyway.”
Ed and Sophia didn’t know what to do next. The two of them discussed some options for a while and finally decided to go back and face the ogre. They may not have been given any new power, but the hermits hadn’t promised anything, they had simply given them some instructions. They had already come this far, they reasoned, they might as well go all the way.
So the two of them, wet and dejected, walked along the road to Sophia’s house. They left a trail of muddy footprints and a mark in the road where Ed dragged his father’s sword. It was still too heavy to carry.
When they arrived at Sophia’s house the Ogre was outside making lunch out of one of Sophia’s pigs.
“Back for more?” he jeered at them when they came within sight.
Neither of them spoke they just walked slowly towards the house and through the smashed gate. The Ogre was angry about being interrupted at his meal and got up to meet them as they came down the walk. He aimed a hard kick right at Sophia’s mid section, but the kick never landed. As the ogre’s foot came up Sophia grabbed it and shoved it back shoving the ogre to the ground. Edward didn’t have time to be shocked because before he realize it he was leaping to the Ogre’s side swinging his father’s sword. He brought he sword down in one quick chop on the big grey neck and the ogre’s head rolled neatly away from his shoulders.
Edward and Sophia stared at each other in disbelief. They hadn’t known that such power was inside of them.
Soon after the two of them were married and began traveling the countryside looking for people who were in trouble. Many people turned their help away because they just didn’t look like heroes,
“These can’t be the guys,” they say, “they look too ordinary.”
But those who were willing to let them help found that Edward and Sophia were a match for any foe. And as the years went by the doubting stopped because the more they lived out the strength that was on the inside, the more they looked like they had strength on the outside and people would come from miles around to ask for their help.