Hello, I am Robert MacDonald, guest poster. As an experiment, James has kindly allowed me space on his blog. It's Sunday morning, so I thought I'd dip my toes in the pop-water with a couple of parables. Can you spot the allegories?
The Parable of the Pig Farmer
There was a pig farmer who worked hard on his farm. He fed and mucked out the pigs, went to market, and helped suckle the piglets. He was around pigs every day.
One day he went to a dance in the local town. The people held their noses as he walked by. He did not understand why. Finally a woman approached him. "You smell of pig shit," she said.
"Do I?" he said. "I work hard to give you your bacon."
But the people didn't like the smell of the pig farmer, so they told him to leave.
The Parable of the Oak Tree
One day an acorn fell and took seed. It started to grow. Next to it was a larger oak. "It's stormy up here," said the large oak. "Let me shelter you. You can grow in my shade." The young oak agreed. It was glad to be protected from the winds. But the large oak also took most of the sunshine. Birds and other creatures preferred the large oak. People carved their names on its side. It was hard for the young oak to grow very well. But it didn't complain. It was only a tree.
One day a great storm came and the large oak fell. And all the small oaks it was sheltering flourished.
The Parable of the Crabs
The Kingdom of Scotland is like this. A fisherman caught some crabs to sell, and put them in a creel. One tried to climb out, but the rest dragged him back inside. Some of the crabs realised if they painted their shells red, they could climb out the creel together, and the other crabs wouldn't stop them. So that is what they did.
When the fisherman returned to sell the crabs, the red ones had gone.
The Parable of the Surfers
One day the surfers gathered to talk about a problem. They liked surfing, but they didn't like all the sewage in the sea. It made their life unpleasant and dangerous. It was not just bad for the surfers - it was bad for every creature in the sea.
"What shall we do?" said one of the surfers.
"We can't stop the sewage being pumped into the sea ourselves," said another.
The surfers decided they would shout as loudly as they could about the sewage in the sea, and hope it would shame the polluters into taking some action.
Nobody had cared about the sewage before the surfers started shouting. But when the people heard, they decided it was time to do something about it. And the days of the polluters were over.
The Parable of the Caravan
A caravan of camels was crossing the desert. They got lost, and the leader led them into quicksand. They started to sink and get into difficulty. "I don't think we should carry on!" shouted a man at the back. But the leader wouldn't listen. She decided to continue on.
The man at the back was worried. He wanted to stay with his friends, but he was scared of the quicksand. He decided to stop and think about what to do. The rest of the caravan carried on.
A sandstorm blew up. The man couldn't see his friends. He was scared and lonely. When the sandstorm died down, his friends had gone.
He couldn't tell if they had sunk into the quicksand, or if they had safely reached the other side. But he knew one thing. Whatever had happened to them, he was safe.
The Parable of the Guard Dog
One day the Smiths needed a new guard dog. The dog breeder assured them that he had a new dog with all the good features of their old one. The Smiths took it and were happy. He attacked some strangers without provocation. One of the Smith children was upset, but Mr and Mrs Smith didn't care, so long as the dog was still guarding their family.
Then Mr Smith discovered one night that the dog was letting in burglars to steal the family's food, and covering up the evidence. The Smiths were angry, and arranged to have the dog put down.
The Smiths got themselves a new guard dog, but it was no better than the previous one. They wondered if they even needed a guard dog at all.