Time for a story.
And what better topic than the one of what it is to be ‘wild’ and the gifts it can bring us?
Elle Harrison in her soulful book, Wild Courage, explores wildness as an often hidden part of ourselves. To illustrate her points, she draws on Nietzsche’s ‘On the Three Metamorphoses’ from Thus Spake Zarathustra.
She re-tells the story as “The Camel, the Lion and the Child”.
Here it is in her own words:
Once upon a time, long ago and far away, there lived a camel, and the camel’s name was Carlos. Bright-eyed and well-groomed, Carlos was a very good camel. He was kind, polite, strong, hard-working, helpful and reliable. All the other camels liked him. ‘Carlos, oh yes, he is a very good camel,’ they said. And Carlos felt proud.
The years passed and Carlos started to get tired. Trying to be good was exhausting. And although he was popular and successful, somehow his life lacked joy. Weighed down with expectations and obligations, he started to feel heavy and burdened. His eyes became dull and his fur rough. Looking up at the twinkling stars one night, Carlos was suddenly flooded with sadness. ‘Surely there is more to life than this?’ he thought.
And so he set out into the desert, alone, in search of his joy. For many days and many nights, Carlos journeyed through the dry sands of the desert. The days were long and lonely. Many times, he thought to turn back. But each time, his heart propelled him forwards with its longing.
One day, far from home, Carlos woke to a thundering roar. Jumping to his feet, he found himself face to face with a huge, scaly golden dragon. Carlos held his breath, waiting to die. But then, in the reflection of the dragon’s beady eye, he caught sight of a fierce golden lion. And as the flames leapt from the dragon’s mouth, Carlos now a Lion, roared. Swiping his large claws, he began to fight for his life.
For three days and three nights, Carlos the Lion battled with the dragon, Thou Shalt. Over and over he pounced, tearing the scales from the dragon’s body, each scale a golden ‘thou shalt’. As he ripped each scale from the dragon’s body, Carlos recognised it as a rule he’d adopted as a Camel. ‘No,’ he roared, again and again, as he tore these rules from the dragon’s body. ‘I will, I will,’ his cry for freedom echoed across the empty desert. Finally, the battle was over. Carlos was victorious; the dragon lay lifeless in the sand.
Exhausted from the fight, Carlos dropped to the ground. Looking down at his paws, he found himself amazed. His lion’s claws had become small, soft hands and feet. Carlos the Lion had become a child. And so it was that Carlos the Child returned home, skipping across the desert, his heart filled with joy. Full of life, radiant, graceful and free, he made his way back to his tribe, his sacred ‘Yes’ echoing across the vibrant and listening desert.
- Harrison, E. (2011) Wild Courage: A Journey of Transformation for You and Your Business, Watkins Publishing, UK http://www.wildcourage.com/overview.ph
- Image as posted on
Facebook by Vivid Greeting Cards on 15 Feb 2103: ‘Camel train’ by Josh Owens.
Vivid Greeting Cards – luxury matte greeting cards. Sign up to their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vivid-Greeting-Cards/187838957957375?sk=info
- Image: Angry Lion/Tumblr as accessed on Google Images 15 Feb 2013.
- Image: Desert Child: http://godinthemidst.blogspot.it/2007_12_01_archive.html as accessed on Google Images 15 Feb 2013