The Parable of the Boy and the Balloon

There once was a boy who was at peace with the world. No, really. He knew love and joy on an intimate basis. They were his constant companions. Bosom buddies, even.
The boy was out walking one day when he came across a shiny red balloon whose string was tangled in a thicket of weeds. Try as it might, the balloon could not work its way free. “Are you OK, little balloon?” the boy asked. The balloon, being a balloon, said nothing. The boy reached into the weeds and carefully set about disentangling the string. He noticed that there were thorns among the weeds and exercised great caution in keeping the balloon from coming into contact with them. “Watch out for the thorns,” he instructed. The balloon, being a balloon, said nothing.


After the boy had freed the balloon from the thorny weeds he wrapped the string around his pudgy little fingers only to feel a tug strong enough to turn his fingertips blue. The shiny red balloon flapped wildly at the end of the string. “Don’t flap, little balloon,” the boy said, “let me take care of you. I want to protect you. I’ll make you happy and comfortable. I’ll tell you my story to keep you entertained and we’ll grow old together.”
The balloon, being a balloon, said, “I don’t want your happiness or your comfort and I certainly don’t want your story and your old age. I want you to leave me alone.”

The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife. The balloon was relieved when the boy used it to cut the string rather than to pop it, as boys sometimes will. The balloon floated away to the sky and the boy knew, in the icy pit of his stomach, that he would never be at peace with the world again.
MORAL: Balloons, right? Go figure.

The Parable of the Matador and the Juggler

There once was a man who learned how to juggle.  He found joy in the act of bringing flight to inanimate objects and comfort in the fact that he was performing an activity with no practical application.  It brought peace to his wandering mind and pleasure to stray audiences.
The juggler’s father was a hard-working man, toiling each day from sunrise to sunset, planting and harvesting, chopping and toting, heaving and hoeing, and generally sacrificing his body to a lifetime of labor.  He was glad to have a son to ease his burden and share his load.  But the boy had other plans.  When the juggler showed his unique ability to his father and declared his intention to make it his life’s work the old man’s heart crumbled to dust in his chest.  Undeterred, the juggler set off from his family’s home and wandered the countryside honing his craft.

There once was a man who learned how to fight bulls.  The man was no match physically, in weight or musculature, for the raw strength of the bull.  The man had only a thin fur and the woven threads of plants or skins of other animals to protect his own; the bull had two sharp horns protruding from the top of its thick skull.  So the man crafted a horn of his own from melted stone. 
The juggler’s wanderings led him to an orchard whose apples were the perfect fit for his hands so he set as many as he could flying. He followed the apples away from the low hanging branches of the orchard to a field where the matador and the bull were paying attention to nothing but each other. When the matador caught sight of the juggler he was amazed. 

“What strength that must take,” thought the matador, loudly enough for the juggler to hear.

“Juggling takes no strength,” the juggler told the matador, “just enough flexibility to let the laws of nature work in your favor.”
The juggler’s strange talent also caught the eyes of the bull. The matador watched the reflections of the apples in the bull’s eyes and was inspired. This distraction was just the opening he needed to plunge his sword deep into the neck of the beast. He drew his sword. The bull forgot all about the juggler and returned his attention to the matador.

If he distracts the bull from me, I will kill the bull, thought the matador. If he distracts me from the bull, the bull will kill me. The matador turned this information over to his brain for processing and concluded that this could not be allowed. The juggler’s attention was devoted to keeping seven apples aloft so he was unprepared when the matador plunged the sword deep into his neck.  The apples and the juggler simultaneously succumbed to the law of gravity.