I’m in a cutting corners kind of place — very busy, so why bother folding pajamas, when you’re just going to have to unfold them to wear them? Have you been there?

That intro is by way of saying, this piece on Fairy Tales is being re-blogged, from the LadyKillers where I also show up. If you’ve read it there and are aggravated at the repeat, let me know, and I’ll never do it again!

A Fairy Tale

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a fairy tale. But if I remember correctly, most of them are scary, with disastrous endings for some, if not all, of the characters, sometimes my favorites. Like the step-mother in Cinderella. Doesn’t she get carted off to jail by CPS? I’m a step-mother, so I wasn’t pleased by that.

I went on a search for “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” to see if there were any with happy endings. I learned that the book contains 209 tales! I clicked on a few, with mixed success, until I came upon this one. At last, a fairy tale that I can use in a math or physics class! Here it is, The Shepherd Boy:


There was once upon a time a shepherd boy whose fame spread

far and wide because of the wise answers which he gave to every


The king of the country heard of it likewise, but

did not believe it, and sent for the boy. Then he said to

him, if you can give me an answer to three questions which I

will ask you, I will look on you as my own child, and you shall

dwell with me in my royal palace.

The boy said, what are the three questions.

The king said, the first is, how many drops

of water are there in the ocean.  The shepherd boy answered, lord

king, if you will have all the rivers on earth dammed up so that

not a single drop runs from them into the sea until I have

counted it, I will tell you how many drops there are in the sea.

The king said, the next question is, how many stars are there

in the sky.  The shepherd boy said, give me a great sheet of

white paper, and then he made so many fine points on it with a

pen that they could scarcely be seen,

and it was all but impossible to count them,

any one who looked at them would have lost his sight.  Then he

said, there are as many stars in the sky as there are points

on the paper.  Just count them.  But no one was able to do it.

The king said, the third question is, how many seconds of time

are there in eternity.  Then said the shepherd boy, in

lower pomerania is the diamond mountain, which is two miles

high, two miles wide, and two miles deep.  Every hundred

years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on it, and

when the whole mountain is worn away by this, then the first

second of eternity will be over.

The king said, you have answered the three questions like a

wise man, and shall henceforth dwell with me in my royal

palace, and I will regard you as my own child.


If you have a better explanation for infinity, or for the limits in calculus, or for the great theological questions, let’s hear them!


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One Response to “Re-Blogging”

  1. Maryellen says:

    You are right! He was a very wise young man. And it is a fairy tale with a happy ending 🙂