The Moral of the Story.

Monday February 12, 2018

"That's a bit 'Heath Robinson', isn't it?" This has become a cliché in English for making a simple process more complex than is necessary. Heath was a famous wartime artist and his work is being celebrated in an exhibition at the National Trust property, Mottisfont. If you're in the South of England, it's well worth a visit. (Exhibition runs until 15th April).

Known as 'The Gadget King' because of his complex and humorous process drawings, many people don't realise he was a sought-after illustrator. One of the illustrations on display was from Charles Kingsley's, "The Water Babies." I realised I had not read this moral story, and thus determined to do so!

In one of those lovely coincidences that Life occasionally delivers, Penelope had a copy, given to her Mum in 1939. Battered but charming, it has captured my imagination for a couple of hours.

Without spoiling the story for you, let me just say that it is firmly within the genre of Victorian Moral Stories. The children were meant to be entertained by each story, whilst being instructed by the plot in how to become a 'good' child. In 'The Water Babies', Tom journeys from slightly mischievous beginnings to maturity as a good chap. Along the way, he is helped by lessons from Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and her sister, Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid.

Tom learns to be kind, generous, and to think of others – always seeking to help when there is an opportunity. This is the moral of the story.

My life is a bit Heath Robinson – more complex than it needs to be – but then perhaps that's all part of my journey? Along my own journey there have been many lessons – most of them moral lessons.

I wondered what are your greatest lessons learned from Life?

For me, it's certainly that relationships matter most, and that materialism is a distraction offering false, or at least limited and temporary pleasures. I have learned that meaningful work is fulfilling, and that few people are to be trusted until they learn their own lessons! Perhaps I'll write my own moral story.

What lessons have you learned?

Care to share?

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