TALES: parables, fables, visionary snippets
[Whimsy Publications, 82 pages]
“Men and women had learned to dream again.” That’s the final line of the first piece, “The Dreamer,” in Max Reif’s Tales: parables, fables, visionary snippets, and as a recent reader, I think that diving into Reif’s 2018 title will help young and old people alike do just that—especially as we navigate one of the most challenging years in modern history, on a global scale.
I’ve been familiar with Max and his work for several years, and after devouring all the stories in this mainly fictional volume, I could see the influence that his personal life had on the tales, which was confirmed for me in the Afterword. However, even without prior knowledge of the author and his history, it’s unlikely that a reader wouldn’t find the hidden pieces of wisdom in these stories. Buried within colourful descriptions of a spiritually-infused, almost mystical world, they are inspiring and uplifting.
There were two stories that resonated more strongly with me than the others, although all of them made an impression, and I read them all at least twice: “What The Sky Learned” and “Meruscha.”
“Meruscha” is a unique name, and I’ll have to remember to find out how the author came to choose it, but that’s not what makes her story so interesting.
In short, Meruscha is living in a dictatorship in which music and dancing have been banned, and everyone must wear a shroud while they’re out in public. One day, she breaks the rules and is tied to a cliff by some guards with the help of spikes, but she eventually returns to her community as a winged creature and encourages the townspeople to dance again. Once all of them are dancing and playing music in the streets, there’s really nothing the dictator can do to stop them.
This story is a message of hope and the idea that bad things can’t go on forever, which is incredibly helpful in 2020, to say the least. While we aren’t living in a dictatorship in North America, we are living under restrictive rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including rules pertaining to where we’re allowed (and not allowed) to dance and sing, and what a person must wear in certain public spaces (of course, “the mask”).
Hopefully, though, as in “Meruscha,” this will all soon end, and people will get over their fear of illness and each other so that they can congregate to spread love and friendship once again.
“What the Sky Learned”
The second story from this volume that strongly spoke to me was “What The Sky Learned,” in which the sky comes down to Earth after donning an invisibility cloak.
When the sky notices all the problems that are present on Earth, it almost decides not to become a blue sky again, and to instead remain a shade of grey instead. But then it’s able to help a little girl fly her kite, and this causes the sky to realize that seemingly small actions can make a difference, and it chooses to become a blue canopy over the Earth once more.
Like the previously mentioned story, this one, too, puts forth a message of hope. It helps me remember that even though the whole world has “gone to shit” in 2020—and I’m not just talking about the pandemic, but the racial and political unrest, too—even the smallest act of kindness that I offer someone else may be more important to the goodwill of society than it seems.
All of the stories have value
Though I’ve made distinct reference to two stories here, all of the stories in Reif’s book have value and the power to help readers who are experiencing challenging situations in their lives, even by simply bringing a smile to a particular reader’s face.
While some of the stories contain some similarities with those of the Christian tradition, I wouldn’t call this a “Christian” book, especially since the author leans further in the direction of Eastern mysticism, as a devotee of Meher Baba. In fact, I’m confident that the parables, tales, and pieces of wisdom within this title can be enjoyed by people of various faiths—or even none at all.
Read two stories from the beginning of the book here»
View the Lulu Marketplace page for the book»
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