|My Oma and Me at someone's wedding, 1960s|
When I was little my grandmother used to tell us stories all the time, and never differentiated between Fairy Tales (The Three Little Pigs) or Bible Stories or stories that she had heard as a child or made up.
Here's one of them, as best as I can remember;
There was a man who was shipwrecked and found himself washed up in a strange country. He had nothing but the clothes he stood up in, no money, no food, nothing. So he walked inland up the beach and headed inland. By and by he found a road, and followed it. There was a coin lying there, and no-one around, so picked up the coin and thought he might be able to buy some food.
After a while he came to a tiny village, with just a couple of shops. He went into the first shop, and discovered that he and shop keeper could not talk to each other - neither knew each other's language. But the stranger was able to point to some bread, and he put his coin on the counter, hoping it would be enough to pay for it. To his astonishment, the shopkeeper started shouting at him, swept the coin onto the floor and put the bread back on the shelf, before driving the stranger out of the shop.
'What happened there?' wondered the stranger.
He tried to buy bread at the next shop, and exactly the same thing happened - all went well until he tried to pay for the food. By now, he was feeling desperate, but hardly dared enter the last shop.
But this time, the shopkeeper was all smiles, and accepted the coin in payment, and handed over the change, placing each coin carefully on the counter. The stranger noticed that the shop keeper turned all the coins so that they were showing 'heads'; the picture of the King.
.... .... ....
Here the story stopped.
.... .... ....
I have wondered about this story for maybe 55 years. What does it mean?
Was it to do with showing proper respect for the King? Who is the King?
Or does it mean you present yourself 'King side up'. But what does that mean?
All the best stories leave you pondering.