Warm stories about friendships and kindness
“The farmer and the clown” – is a new story that I’ve read recently, which I found very interesting.
Why is this story inspiring?
Simply because is a sweet celebration of the mutual elevation made possible by dropping our assumptions about ourselves, others, and who is welcome in our world.
It is about wearing a “child-like mask” of non-judgmental attitude towards people, of a curiosity approach of the events and experiences we encounter in life.
This year’s best children’s books: The Farmer and the Clown —is a sweet, immeasurably warm wordless story by author and illustrator Marla Frazee.
” A swiftly moving circus train on the horizon introduces color and an unexpected visitor, when a bump on the tracks ejects a young clown. Exuberance meets quiet responsibility as the whirlwind in a red one-piece, the small clown, embraces the legs of the old man. . . . This is a tender look at light and shadow, the joy and comfort in companionship, the lift that laughter provides, and the friendship possible among generations”..
Reminiscent of The Lion and the Bird — the tale follows the accidental, unlikely friendship that develops between a kindly old farmer and a child-clown after the little boy falls out of the circus train amid the farmer’s patch of the prairie.
A short description of the tale
A solitary farmer on an empty plain receives the most unlikely visitor. A tall, scowling farmer labors with a pitchfork on an endless brown field. In the distance, surprisingly, a steam train crosses the horizon. As the train chugs off the edge of the spread, a jolt propels something off the caboose. The startled farmer sets out in that direction. He finds a small clown, wearing white makeup, a red-and-yellow costume and a broad smile. The clown deftly pantomimes having fallen off the train—action and emotion shine wordlessly—and the farmer takes him home. Silently they stare at each other, eat and wash their faces. Without makeup, the child-clown’s smile disappears; is he sad to lose that connection to his home-train, or had the smile been made of makeup all along? With growing tenderness, the farmer watches over his sleeping guest and, come morning, hops and dances to cheer him up. They juggle eggs and share real farmwork until the circus train returns along the distant tracks. Its shape and primary colors make it look like a toy, especially against the soft, textured grays and browns of the farm, skies and earth.
The farmer makes an endearing effort to include this wholly alien new friend into daily life, while trying to address the little boy’s wholly alien needs as best as he can imagine them. From the generosity of his intention springs a celebration of the mutual inspiration and elevation made possible by leaving our assumptions about ourselves, others and life in general. This is a story about an opened mind and about curiosity and love for life and making new connections.
By choosing such a gentle and innocent embodiment of the clown character — the frightening clown is, after all, a common trope in horror that feeds on a common fear many people share — Frazee also reminds us, just as gently, that the strangenesses we fear can become our most deeply rewarding experiences, if we bring to them a warm curiosity and a generous quality of presence.
The story’s ending emanates an assuring reminder that even though life is ever-flowing and we live in a universe of constant change — that, as Henry Miller observed, “all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis” — even brief encounters can imprint us with their affectionate grace, the warmth of which burns in the hearth of the soul forever.
“The Farmer and the Clown” is absolutely luminous in its entirety —the kind of deeply, universally human story Tolkien must have had in mind when he insisted that there is no such thing as writing for children.
My invitation for you, for this month, is to open your heart and fill it with curiosity, maybe who knows? we can make new friends that can inspire our growth and can support our fulfillment.
If you have any suggestions of topics or future events or you’d like to book a coaching consultation, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish you a warm week filled with joy and open heart!