Every family has its stories. Every nation has its stories. Every era has its stories. History belongs to the victors, because only victors get to write the stories.
Not many people enjoy hearing their old grandfather’s stories, especially if they were repeated over an over again. These stories become boring, narcisistic and even suspicious, especially so when set against the present era of fast-moving action-packed movies and power-hungry people. They eventually get lost because someone failed to tell it and pass it on. How then can important life lessons from these stories survive such a gloomy fate and benefit later generations, especially if they don’t belong to the victors?
Replace the real heroes with fictional characters, exaggerate the adventure, make it exciting, add in some romance or altruism, and the old grandfather’s stories will become evergreen. Fictions are the perfect disguise for the real stories.
The classics are good examples. They are bearers of hope and lessons about good morals, courage, sacrifices, and humanity in general. Think Pinocchio, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Dream of the Red Chamber, Journey to the West, or compilations like Aesop Fables and Grimm’s. What about stories like Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, or Greek Mythology, or the Gospel of John, or the Book of Enoch, or Ramayan? Fiction or not, how will we ever know and does it matter?
First of all, we have to agree that stories with flaky content have no stamina. Thus, those that survive the passage of time must have substance worth re-telling. Secondly, we need to know that what we read have been translated and re-translated, paraphrased and re-paraphrased, from its original language. Surely some meaning must have been lost or added, thus we need read or hear them with a pinch of salt. Thirdly, context is everything. Good lessons taken out of context can have an opposite effect.
Think of it this way, our ancestors, those who were before us, have a hidden message for us. They come mostly in the form of stories of the good conquering evil. Decoding that message can make fun-filled conversations with your family and friends if no one gets defensive about a viewpoint.