“I want to tell you an old Russian folktale about a turnip, from a book I read in a bookstore in Tokyo.”
“What’s a turnip, Yaw?”
“It’s a vegetable that grows underground. You know, Mog, you are nothing until you make something of yourself. Now listen to this story.”
It was a pleasant afternoon. Abayaw and Dulmog were lying on the grass by the river. Beside them were their basket traps and a catch of fish.
“There was once an elderly couple who lived with their grandson, a dog, a cat, and a mouse. One day, Grandmother decided to prepare a turnip for dinner, so she went to her garden to fetch one. But no matter how much she pulled, the turnip would not budge.
“‘Grandfather!’ she called out. ‘Come and help me with this turnip!’ So the grandfather came, and they pulled and tugged. ‘Grandson!’ the grandfather called out. ‘Come and help us with this turnip!’ So the grandson came, and they pulled and tugged. Still, the turnip would not budge. Then the grandson called the dog, and the dog called the cat, and the cat called the mouse. When the mouse came and they all pulled and tugged together, only then did the turnip finally come out of the ground.
“So what do you think of that, Mog?”
“Grandmother should consider growing vegetables above ground.”
“Mog! It means that even the smallest effort can bring change. It means that the only way we can succeed is that we work together. Be involved in making that change.”
••• fin •••
(For a complete and chronological order of this story, please see: Keepers of the Flame, by Daphne Haour-Hidalgo).