When most of us think of Vikings we think of fearsome warriors wearing horned helmets…or perhaps of their caricature in Hagar the Horrible comic strips. But did you know that Vikings never wore horns on their helmets? They would have snagged on weapons. But the Scandinavian Viking raiders and traders who swept through Europe so effectively from the 8th to the 11th centuries AD were pagans, so leaders of the Christian church at the time had to demonise them. Hence they depicted them at every opportunity with horns.
Source: reported in Talkback Trash and Treasure
here was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there.”
Alternate Application – gossip. When telling the story substitute “gossip” for “anger”, but with the same result – the wounds are still there.
A woman once repeated a nasty piece of gossip about a friend. The news travelled, and soon everyone knew the nasty news. The woman’s friend was deeply hurt, not only by the untruths being said about her but by the betrayal by a friend.
The woman who had first passed on the gossip was also wounded, wracked with guilt over the pain she had caused her friend. She approached her grandfather, a man she had always seen as very wise, and asked what she could do to set things right.
“Buy a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck its feathers and drop them along the road. When you have done this come and see me again.”
The woman was somewhat perplexed by this advice but she followed it anyway. The next day she returned to her grandfather. This time he told her to go and collect all the feathers she had dropped on the road yesterday and bring them to him.
“But that’s impossible” she said. “They’ll have all blown away.”
“Exactly” said her grandfather, “it’s easy to drop them, but it’s impossible to get them back. It’s the same with gossip. It doesn’t take much to spread a rumour, but once you do, you can never undo the hurt. But perhaps you can ask forgiveness.”