Sunday, November 9, 2008

Zen Tales: The Swan and the Swine

Once upon a time in the little community of Hogtown, in the bayou country, lived a little swan and her family of pigs.
I know what you are thinking "How come a family of pigs can have a swan daughter?" but let me tell you, it is more common than you think.

The pigs were quite wealthy and offered their swan daughter the best education money can buy.
The little swan was not only pretty but also very gifted and soon grew up into the most beautiful young lady in town.
(Although some of the older pigs thought of her independence and free spirit as unbecoming of a young sow.)

After finishing college she thought of starting a carrier but her handsome hog boyfriend proposed to her and in the excitement of the moment she accepted.
(She also wanted to make her pig parents proud and happy by marrying the most eligible bachelor in town.)

But married life did not turn the way she had predicted.
Away from the protective shield of her parents, she found herself being totally unprepared for the porcine life.
She tried very hard to play the role of a perfect swine but she was failing miserably.

She even went to the best pig specialists looking for help.
They pluck her feathers, broke her wings and cover her in sticky mud, but all their efforts to change her did not help.
On the surface she kind of looked more swiney, but inside she felt more and more inadequate.
She looked at the swine around her all happy whirling in the mud and dreamed she could be like that even for one day.

Her husband seemed to be very understanding of her short comings and try to cover up their family problems buy putting up the front of a perfect marriage.
The plans of her adolescence turned to dust.
She gave up all her dreams and she gave up all her hope.
All she was capable of is to survive and carry her pain.
With broken wings, crawling through the swamp she keep on living, until one faithful day when she met an ancient turtle.

This old hermit basking in the sun atop of a mossy rock, had on his face the most content smile she had ever seen.
Some how it looked like he did not care about the filthy mud he was living in.
Some how it did not affect him.

She approach the old man and asked him.
- Why do I have to suffer all my life like this?
Why can’t I be just like the other swine, thick and slow, stupid and coarse?
Oh, why is God so cruel to me, why did he have to put this curse on me?
Or has he made a mistake?
- Oh no my dear. Said the old man. God doesn’t make mistakes.
We do.
You are a swan and not a swine.
Your life is what you get if you choose to crawl when you are meant to fly.


This Brazen Teacher said...

I love your blog Buddha.

timethief said...

I loved this story almost as much as I love the storyteller. Thanks so much for sharing it. :)

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

An interesting parable and one that bares deeper thought

Though i don't think its always as simple as a straight choice - i knew a girl once who'd gone from one abusive relationship to another to another - you spend so much time surrounded by pigs that you don't know that you can be a swan - and a lot comes down to circumstance...but maybe inside our own heads we still have that choice??

Lydia said...

In a weird way I find analogies in this story to my own in-laws. They're not pigs, they're evangelical Christians and are extremely judgmental. We're oil and water. This December it will be three years since we saw them, and they live only 40 miles away. I keep hoping that my husband and they will be able to work things out, because my days of attempting that are long gone. For me they are toxic, but for him they are after all family - flaws and all. It's a difficult situation....

Buddha said...

@ my brazen teacher - I love you too!
@ timethief - you have no idea how much that means to me. I was sick as a dog the whole week and when I read your comment it just made my day. I love you too!
@pixie - Behind every failure there is a good excuse. Be aware of your own brilliance. Intelligent people have a bad habit of coming up with brilliant excuses. You always have a choice - no excuses accepted.
@lydia - absolutely, that was the whole idea - this is not a fairy tale, the facts are real, the characters have been changed to make it more palatable but behind the naiveté of the fable there is much truth to ponder. Good luck with your in-laws!

Tamara said...

Beautiful story. I see myself as the swan. I am trying to learn how to figure out and become what I am meant to be. In life I have been so concerned with pleasing the people in my life that I forgot to make a plan for myself. Now I realize that because I have tried to please every body I have not fully pleased anyone. So it is time for me to figure out who I am, what is meant for me and that when am spend time being I will encourage others naturally. Thank you for articulating that lesson for me.

Jane Doe said...

I just found your other blogs, they are wonderful.

This is a delightful story, thank you for sharing.