A Tale of Friendship



See how it sparkles and glistens as our planet orbits its way in front of the sun, this beautiful almost spring-like Tuesday morning in February.  A boat is on its way to the port, the SNCF train passes my perch taking its passengers to work and visitors to their destinations in France and Europe, the road is alive with traffic and people are going about their business just like the birds in the trees above me.

Day 28 and no coffee!   I did feel like making a cup but the feeling left as quickly as it arrived.  Friendship and my thoughts on how to explore it were taking up residency in my mind this am, so coffee was but a blip in my morning ritual.   I read a lot in the last 24hours and decided that a story is the most imaginative way to get us to think about and assessing our perceptions and feelings on friendship.

Oscar Wilde’s story ‘The Devoted Friend’  tells a moral tale of friendship that evokes our sensibilities, feelings and thoughts on; empathy, compassion, loyalty, love, sadness, selfishness, selflessness, cruelty, joy, arrogance, helpfulness, purity of thought and actions, thoughtfulness, slyness, deceit, superiority, conniving, control, judgment,  pomposity, snootiness, self-importance, innocence, kindness, goodness, gullibility, integrity, honesty, foolishness, virtue, and dominance.

The relationship between Hans and the Miller in the story as told by the Linnet is one that we often hear about, know about, maybe perhaps even have experience of. I suggest you read the short story via the link above and then consider the following questions:

How do you think the water-rat perceived the friendship?
How do you think the Linnet perceived the friendship?
How do you think the mother duck perceived the story?
Is it a balanced friendship?
Who is controlling the friendship?
What do you feel and think as you read the story?
What would you have to say to the Miller?
What would you say to the Miller’s wife?
What would you say to the Millers son?
What would you have to say to Hans?
If you were Hans how would you behave in the friendship?
If you were the Miller how would you behave in the friendship?
Do you behave sometimes like Hans and the Miller in your friendships? Why?
What is informing your perception and understanding of the story?
How does society breed both characters?
What effect do both characters have on society?
Is it nature or nurture that creates the behaviours and attitudes that we see in both characters?
Where and how do we learn to be a ‘loving and caring friend’?
What kind of friend are you to yourself and others?

Tomorrow, I will assume you have read the story in the link above and will explore further the ‘ways of friendship’ in society and in our personal spheres.

Wear your smile while you read the story and observe how it changes as you read.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship. (adapted)  – Ralph Waldo Emerson
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow. – Alice  Walker
I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing. – Katherine Mansfield
Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. – George Washington
There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.- Samuel Johnson

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