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The Seventh Father of the House

Discussion in 'Sacred Texts, Folklore, and Mythology' started by Willamena, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    This is a folk tale (edited slightly for punctuation) that was linked to on another forum. The responses there were varied, some religious, some secular. I was hoping to see what people on this forum thought of the tale and what it may, significantly, mean. What do you think it means?

    Also, is its meaning obvious to you?

    (Everyone is welcome to respond, even if you think you're wrong. *grin*)

    The Seventh Father of the House

    [SIZE=+3]T[/SIZE]here was once a man who [was] traveling. He came, at last, to a beautiful big farm. It had a manor house so fine that it could easily have been a small castle. "This will be a good place to rest," he said to himself as he went trough the gate. An old man, with gray hair and beard, was chopping wood nearby. "Good evening, father," said the traveler. "Can you put me up for the night?"

    "I'm not the father of the house," said the old one. "Go into the kitchen and talk to my father." The traveler went into the kitchen. There he found a man who was even older, down on his knees in front of the hearth, blowing on the fire. "Good evening, father. Can you put me up for the night?" said the traveler.

    "I'm not the father of the house," said the old fellow. "But go in and talk to my father. He's sitting by the table in the parlor." So the traveler went into the parlor and talked to the man who was sitting by the table. He was much older than both the others were, and he sat, shivering and shaking, his teeth chattering, reading from a big book almost like a little child. "Good evening, father. Will you put me up for the night?" said the man.

    "I'm not the father of the house, but talk to my father, who's sitting on the settle," said the old man, who sat by the table, shivering and shaking, his teeth chattering. So the traveler went over to the one who was sitting on the settle, and he was busy trying to smoke a pipe of tobacco. But he was so huddled up, and his hands shook so that he could hardly hold onto the pipe. "Good evening, father," said the traveler again. "Can you put me up for the night?"

    "I'm not the father of the house," replied the huddled up old fellow, "but talk to my father who is lying in the bed." The traveler went over to the bed; and there lay and old, old man in whom there were no sign of life but a pair of big eyes. "Good evening, father. Can you put me up for the night?" said the traveler.

    "I'm not the father of the house, but talk to my father who's lying in the cradle," said the man with the big eyes. Well, the traveler went over to the cradle. There lay an ancient fellow, so shriveled up that he was no bigger than a baby was. And there was no way of telling there was life in him except for a rattle in his throat now and then. "Good evening, father. Can you put me up for the night?" asked the man.

    It took a long time before he got an answer, and even longer before the fellow finished it. He said - he like all the others - that he was not the father of the house. "But talk to my father. He's hanging in the horn on the wall."

    The traveler stared up along the walls, and at last he caught sign of the horn, too. [But] when he tried to see the one who was lying in it, there was nothing to see but a little ash-white form that had the likeness of a human face. Then he was so frightened that he cried aloud: "GOOD EVENING FATHER! WILL YOU PUT ME UP FOR THE NIGHT?"

    There was a squeaking sound up in the horn like a tiny titmouse, and it was all he could do to make out that the sound meant: "Yes, my child" Then in came a table decked with the costliest dishes, and with ale and spirits, too. And when the traveler had eaten and drunk, in came a good bed covered with reindeer hides. And he was very glad that at last he had found the true father of the house.
     
  2. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Wow! What a powerful and wonderful story. I honestly am a little lost with the meaning except that maybe "looking for the father" - or God - we will keep thinking we have seen him, but will keep looking, never understanding where to look.

    When we will meet him , it will be such a subtle "event" thast we will be very much taken by surpise, and be unprepared.

    Load of rubbish..........but that's all I could come up with.:rolleyes:
     
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  3. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Except that at the end of the story the journier does find the Father.

    I find it interesting that, once he does, he then has a meal (a last supper?) and lies his head down to sleep the good sleep.
     
  4. A. Leaf

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    At least the ash-white form was large enough and stood still long enough for the traveller to see a face. But the question I ask, does he sleep, or is his journey about to begin from base camp.?
     
  5. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Good question. Perhaps the sleep represents a death of one level of understanding and he will awaken to a new world.
    :)
     
  6. A. Leaf

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    Yeah, I am sure your right, does the traveller except sacrifice after sacrifice, perhaps gets tired of it, or do you think the understanding is to lead to the death of the old and the new rebirth of the travellers inner self?
     
  7. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    The latter was what I meant by the take on it I gave. I think it makes sense.

    I just wonder, though, the significance of what each old man is doing --could it somehow symbolise stages of religious awareness? The first is busy at normal everyday work, chopping wood, and the next blowing on flames (of emotion?). Then there is an old man shivering and shaking, and the next smoking a pipe. The last three have ceased activity and moved into "being", so that their distinguishing features are large eyes, a small body, and finally only a face.
     
  8. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    I did notice that aspect - and now that you have reinforced it, I agree with your understanding of it.

    However, your
    Could simply relate to the reuinion of the soul with " God " - whether applied in the traditional Christian interpretation of death, or reincarnation - whichever the reader choses.
     
  9. A. Leaf

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    Does this mean the traveller cannot return to the place he originated from, or is time the healer here, as he comes to terms with the reason he was a traveller in the first place.
     
  10. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    I don't see those as an "or..." condition. :)

    The traveler cannot ignore the new understanding he has of the world, but they are not exclusive of each other. The new can shed some light on the old understanding, and perhaps illuminate why it, too, is important.
     
  11. A. Leaf

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    For the Traveller always knew what he was about, it was the quest in finding those that would understand, the Traveller was'nt the enlightened one, the Traveller might of thought he was alone, but without his journey, then the Word that he spoke could not become active. Then again the Traveller would of never attempted his major push without inspiration. But the question once again is, what did the individual that caused the inspiration for the Traveller to make his major push have to experience themselves.
     
  12. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    If the Traveler knew what he was about, he wouldn't be the Traveler. :) The quest for an understanding of God is a quest to find oneself and one's place in the scheme of things. The story doesn't analogize this, but to the person already so inclined it is implied.
     
  13. A. Leaf

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    I think the Traveller has woken up, says 'thankyou for the hospitality, I realised I should of never of left in the first place, the Love I left for was one sided, the Preaching was worthless, and the Individual that gave the Inspiration themselves maybe should of let go, when they hit there brickwall, but many thanks to all of the seven. May you be righteous in your Judgements. This Traveller is going into retirement, Job Done.'
     
  14. A. Leaf

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    Perhaps the traveller did not have a New understanding of the world, just wanted to tell everyone his. But perhaps he became arrogant by doing so. Or perhaps others did not like the passion or the frontness of the Traveller and the way in which he Travelled after going through pain like many others himself. The 7th Father or Angel perhaps new that and so prepared the bed for the Traveller, so the Traveller could collapse in his own self as he relises how foolish he had been to think that others had thought that it was him that was searching when it was the Traveller that was the giver. Just trying to help the less fortunate in his own little way, liberating and protecting as best as he could.
     
  15. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    *scratches head* If you're reading my opinion as somehow over-writing yours, I'm sorry for that impression. It's just two opinions.
     
  16. A. Leaf

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    I'm not seeing that at all Willamena, it's just one of those things where you could have read something that means a certain context to yourself. I have gone through different things in life so see the tale differently, thats what makes the world magic. probably why i have grey hairs coming through
     
  17. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    It does, indeed. And if there was no subtext there, then you're simply reading A LOT more into the story than I did. ;)
     
  18. A. Leaf

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    I thought you were asking for an opinion....
     
  19. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    I'm not?
     
  20. A. Leaf

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    Oh..Ok.. I got the message wrong then...your class.
     
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