“Now Hadiza, pay attention to the story that I want to tell you. There lived an African king who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, ‘This is good!’
“One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.
“Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, ‘This is good!’ To which the king replied, ‘No, this is not good,’ and proceeded to send his friend to jail.
About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.
As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. ‘You were right,’ he said, ‘it was good that my thumb was blown off.’ And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened.
‘And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.’
‘No,’ his friend replied, ‘this is good!’
‘What do you mean? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?’
‘If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you, and not here with you right now.’
“You see? Everything happens for a reason,” Dad said, concluding his story.
“Wow! Indeed everything happens for a reason,” I exclaimed.
“In a very unusual way, the message here unfolds into exposing the following principle about life. Absolutely everything happens for a purpose; and out of what seems like adversity at the time, something always comes good.”
“Yes, true,”I said, still paying close attention.
“I’m sure that if we care to reflect back on the tragedies, the heartaches, the ‘bad times’ in our lives, that we discover that we have really grown or developed during that period of time; even though the reflection may still cause us discomfort in some way.
It is in this way that we slowly gather experience and wisdom, and even though we may think or feel that it is unfair, that’s the way it is. ‘This is good’,” Dad said and smiled.
But what’s the meaning of tragedy?
“Dad, what’s the meaning of tragedy?” I asked.
“Tragedy is an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress. Do you understand?” Dad said.
“Very well dad. So had it been the gun didn’t blow the king’s thumb off, he would have been eaten by the canivals?” I further asked.
“It’s not canivals, it’s cannibals. And to answer your question, yes he would have been eaten by the cannibals and had it been the king didn’t send his friend to jail, maybe the friend have been the one the cannibals would have eaten because he was whole, while the king was less than whole. So that jail also saved his life. Cannibals are people who eat their fellow humans.”
“Now I clearly understand what my teacher meant by everything happens for a reason,”I said shaking my head slowly.
“Yes. This is good,” Dad saidI
smiled and repeated after him loudly, “This is good!” And we erupted in laughter.
“Hadiza, your mom and I will be travelling to Kastina to go and see grandpa,” he said.
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