StringART   by  Ursula  Stirnimann C
Der Trompeter, 1990
Weg der Erkenntnis, 1991
Der Balanceakt, 1991
Mittelpunkt Erde, 2005
Buddha, 2002
Kommunikation, 1991
Der Narr, 1992
Das Urtier, 1992
Der Traumtänzer, 1992
by Meyer- Stirnimann, 2021
A Mighty President Once upon a time there was a pious and God-fearing President. Every day, morning and evening, he said his prayers. But just as with so many other pious people, this President didn’t try to live according to the teachings and ideals of the founders of his religion, but rather he felt himself committed only to his own ideas of truth and right. With plenty of skill and many shady machinations he had made it to become the leading figure in his country. Now he sat there on his throne and was described, not only by the citizens of his own country, but also by many other people throughout the world, as the most powerful man there had ever been. His armies, bristling with weapons, were so numerous, that it was no problem to him to deploy them in every country on earth. The whole world paid careful heed to what the President said or indeed didn’t say. Every one of his words carried great weight. One day the President made an announcement that any country that did not declare him and his country to be a friend would be regarded as an enemy. From then on no leader of any land dared to utter a critical word against the President. As a result, many nations had to toe the line, even when their sons and daughters were called upon to take part in the wars which the President was waging. The fact that many people and countries were afraid of him pleased the President greatly, for it fed his conviction that he was the mightiest man in the world. And that filled him with pride. But pride is a sugary poison, which paralyses thought and poisons the soul. Therefore one day God deemed it right to give the President a further opportunity for reflection. To do this He took on the form of a charwoman. “Oh, I’m sorry, please forgive me, I didn’t know you were here.” With a feather duster in one hand and a cloth in the other, the woman stood in the doorway. “I’ll come back later,” she said, and turned to go. “No, no, it’s all right. You can come in. You won’t disturb me,” replied the President, who was in a good mood. He had just been watching television pictures of his latest public appearance. And he had liked them so much that he had immediately pressed the repeat button. “Come,” he invited the woman again. “Take a look at this and …” The President hesitated for a second, for he had astonished himself at the thought which was on the tip of his tongue. “Well, why not? An ordinary citizen, from the lowest classes, shall give me her opinion,” he said to himself, and somehow he found this idea really good; for never before had he exchanged a personal word with any of these people. “There, take a chair!” And because the woman still hesitated, he told her again: “Come on! Have a bit of courage!” When the film was finished, the President turned to the charwoman and said: “Now, what did you think of that? I’d like you to give me your honest and blunt opinion.” “Hmm, I don’t know. After all, I’m just a simple …” As always in such situations, his vanity felt flattered. “Nonsense! I want to hear your honest, unvarnished opinion! Off you go! And don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you. There are just the two of us here, and nobody will hear what is said. Relax! Here, have a cookie.” The President pushed a bowl filled with cookies towards her. Then he leaned back, his arms folded, and looked at her encouragingly. Resolutely, the charwoman looked directly at the President. “Since you ask me to give you my honest opinion, I’ll do so.” “Yes, yes, go on then, go on!” said the President. “I don’t see you as a President, I see and think of you as a person, in fact as someone who, with all his worries, troubles, preferences, dislikes, and also vanities and pride in commonness, isn’t particularly different from the many other people on this earth.” Slowly the President sat up straight. The expression on his face showed that he hadn’t been reckoning on an answer like this. “Shall I go on?” asked the charwoman. “Yes, I’m listening to you.” The answer was spoken very slowly. “The extraordinarily high position that you hold in society has nothing to do with what you believe was the very hard work you put in to achieve it. For you are no more than an actor in a play, in which you are as ordinary or, if you prefer it, as unique as every other being. Just like an ant, you behave according to your nature! Your part in it, which you are convinced you achieved by your own efforts, is much smaller than you could consider possible. Everything has been, and is, given to you. You couldn’t even get up out of the armchair, or indeed even eat one of those cookies there, without the ability to do so being given to you from elsewhere. You should realise just how greatly dependent you are on a host of other factors, including those on which you have no influence! So you act out your role, without its ever occurring to you that the role has been allotted to you. It is ludicrous to say that you fought for the office of President. Everything was and is given to you, so that you fulfil task as President which in the way that is destined in the immense and for you incalculable whole.” The President seemed to be in a trance. Without taking his eyes off the charwoman, he leaned forward slowly and reached for a cookie. “The colossal power,” continued the charwoman, “of which you are so exceptionally proud, is actually brought to you from all quarters, from every part of the world. Your strength is no more but the weakness of others. To pride oneself on a strength that is based on nothing other than weakness tell me, what is so glorious about that? Take an example out of the world of animals, the elephant, for example. The elephant is one of the strongest animals in the world. Can you imagine an elephant that wants to prove its superiority at every possible opportunity, and furthermore, lays claims to power in distant lands? Neither an elephant nor any other animal is that stupid. Every day you pray several times to the Lord Jesus. What sort of picture do you have of the Lord? You must know that in His daily life and in His faultless person, the Lord displayed truthfulness, selflessness and simplicity. Can you really not learn a lesson from this for yourself and your actions? Of course you are not capable of equalling the Lord, but you really ought to begin to think about your actions and their consequences! Earlier I mentioned that your power is brought to you from all quarters. So when someone else hands over to you part of his power, don’t you think that you then, for your part, owe him something? By accepting part of his strength you also take on some responsibility for him. Use your power and the opportunities arising from it not only for yourself and for your country, but also above all for the good of those whom you have to thank for your power! This can and will only lead to universal, peaceful co- existence. But what you have been doing up to now promotes the egoism of a few who have enough anyway, and the hatred of them by many who have little or – except for their lives – nothing. “Oh, Mr. President, Sir,” the charwoman looked at her watch, “please excuse me, I really must get on.” Then she picked up her feather duster and her cloth and left the room. In the outer room she said to the secretary: “I don’t think the President is very well. Perhaps it’s just that a cookie crumb has gone down the wrong way.” The secretary immediately ran into the President’s room. There she was horrified to see the President suffering a severe attack of coughing. The doctor who rushed to the scene, however, was able to confirm that the President had simply choked on a cookie. When the President had recovered, he immediately sent for the charwoman. But in spite of extensive searches, she was never found. Translation from German to English by Dr. Judith Wilson, Cheltenham - England Story from the book "From the meaning of a grain of sand", by U. Maya, use of this text or even parts of it, is not allowed! Sole copyright by U. Maya
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