Stories are fun and engaging and a wonderful tool for language learning in a joyful manner. However stories can also be used to share concepts, trigger interest and reflection in other areas. The idea is to either ‘storyize’ the concept or find parallel stories that serve as analogies to the issue/concept we are addressing. In this article let us see how economic concepts can come alive through stories.
There lived in the kingdom of King Swarabhayudu, a lady named Subbamma. Subbamma was a simple hard working old woman. After many years of waiting she finally got the opportunity to fulfill her dream of visiting Kashi. She was poor and therefore wanted to ensure the safety of her life’s savings in her absence. So before leaving for Kashi, she hid all the money she had in a pot and took it to her neighbour, Kumari, who was also poor like her. “Could you please take care of this pot while I am away?” Subbamma asked. “Most certainly,” Kumari said.
Assured of the safety of her earnings, Subbamma travelled to Kashi. When she came back she went to meet Kumari. “Welcome back Subbamma. So how was the journey?” Kumari asked. “Thank you. It was a memorable one,” replied Subbamma. “And now I’d like to collect my pot please,” she added. “Here it is my dear,” said Kumari handing over the pot. Subbamma got back home and opened the lid of the pot… to her dismay she found the pot empty! She rushed to Kumari’s house and demanded, “Return my money, you have taken it away in my absence. I trusted you with it.” Kumari asked, “What money are you talking about? I have no idea,” she added, “You gave me a pot and I kept it carefully.”
Subbamma was left with no option but to go and complain to the King. Both women were called to the court. Subamma explained her side of the story, how despite being poor she had saved up and eventually lost all her money. Kumari claimed that she had safely kept and returned Subbamma’s pot but had not taken any money. She claimed that she too had savings of her own. She too had saved up despite being poor. Now who was telling the truth? What would the king do?
The King listened to both women and asked them to come again the next morning. He instructed them to come to the court crossing the small bridge across the river. They did as instructed and found that their feet were dirty with all the wet mud on the bridge. When they reached the court, a pot full of water awaited them at the entrance. “Wash your feet and come in,” said the man at the door.
Kumari quickly poured mugs and mugs of water on her feet, finishing half a pot as she cleaned her feet. Subbamma on the other hand, first looked around for some leaves. She wiped off the wet mud with the leaves as well as she could. Then she took half a mug of water and with a lot of care and mindfulness, slowly cleaned her feet. With just another half mug she cleaned both her feet.
Now both women entered the court with clean feet and the King said, “Kumari return Subbamma’s money to her.” The women were shocked!
The author is a storyteller, educationist, writer and voice-over artist. She holds storytelling performances with music and dance woven in. She conducts training workshops for teachers on the art of storytelling and using it in the classroom. She is also the founder of Story Arts India (www.storyartsindia.com), an organization that offers storytelling shows and training programs for children, teachers, parents and all storytelling enthusiasts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her facebook page storyartsindiaofficial or view her storytelling videos on YouTube.