The flying trunk

So, my wife and I read my daughter Hans Christian Anderson at bedtime. Our assumption is that fairy tales are in some way more hopeful and appropriate than, say, Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica.

The Flying Trunk by Hans Christian Anderson

trunk detail by genericavatar on flickrThe son of a wealthy merchant squanders his inheritance. His friends abandon him. One leaves him a trunk with the note, “pack up.”

But the trunk is enchanted and carries the young man to the roof of a far off tower. Inside lives a princess hidden from the world in fear of the prophecy that “she will be very unhappy about a lover”.

The young man charms the princess with tall tales of adventure. He impresses the King and Queen with claims of magical powers and charms them with an improvised tale of matches who pretend to greatness as they flame and die lighting the kitchen stove.

The king and queen offer their daughter in marriage. In celebration the aspiring prince flies into the night sky showering the town with fireworks.

The next morning, he discovers embers have burned his trunk to ashes. Ruined, he flees the town and abandons the princess.

“she stood all day on the roof waiting for him, and most likely she is waiting there still; while he wanders through the world telling fairy tales, but none of them so amusing as the one he related about the matches.”

Both the innocent and clever live in misery and mediocrity.

The Flying TrunkDespite and because of her parent’s actions, the princes, meets her fate.

The merchant’s son, a flawed person, becomes a flawed artist forever repeating his mistakes and falling short of first creative effort. He is a fairy tale character who invents a cautionary tale which describes himself.

Now go to sleep and pleasant dreams…

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About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.