I bet I can make you cry

You may be all macho, sophisticated, cynical, and Stoic, but I have found a sequence of words that I predict will cause liquid to well up in your eyes.

It’s a dog story, from that Michael Dirda review of  Mr. and Mrs. Dog by Donald McCaig that we posted about earlier.  Take the challenge, if you dare, after the jump.

From Donald McCaig’s ‘Mr. and Mrs. Dog,’ reviewed by Michael Dirda – The Washington Post:

At the end of this memoir, Donald McCaig summarizes the famous story about the Welsh prince Llywelyn, who owned a beloved hound named Gelert. One day, the prince returned from hunting to find his baby son’s crib empty and the excited dog covered in blood. Horrified, the prince slew Gelert. “Moments later he discovered his unharmed son, next to the corpse of the wolf Gelert had killed protecting the child.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Took the challenge.
    Failed.

  • Jon

    More like a Homer Simpson reaction for me: Doh!

  • kempin04

    I think I remember that from “Lady and the Tramp.”

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Lessee….I’ll admit to being cynical, not as much macho or sophisticated. I’m even a sucker for weepy stories, but I still failed to get my eyes wet. Sorry.

    Now probably if you read it in context to me, or made it into a movie, I’d be biting my lip as my “teardrops were rolling back, trying not to fall”. Maybe it’s the context? I’d better see if we can find a professor of literature at PHC or something to clarify it. :^)

  • Kimberly

    Even being a fan of Llewellyn Fawr, this story doesn’t make me blink. Guess I have a cold heart when it comes to animal stories.

  • Tom Hering

    The story, as presented, doesn’t give us anything but the cold, violent facts. There’s nothing to empathize with. Plus it contains the recognition that dogs do kill people, so Llywelyn’s mistake isn’t crushingly tragic. (327 Americans killed by dogs in the last 20 years. 4.7 million bitten each year.) Perhaps if a little bit about Gelert’s unfailing love for his master had been included …

  • Sam

    I bet it would make the folks at PETA cry, but not me. xD

  • Tom Hering

    I bet it would make the folks at PETA cry … (@ 7)

    I bet it wouldn’t.

  • Joe

    I don’t even half to click Tom’s link to know that it is the story of PETA killing all of the animals it rescues.

    As to the post, not wet eyes hear. The story could have been told in a way as to gin up an emotional response but as written it reads like a police report.

  • http://deepeningwaters.com JD Loofbourrow

    I passed this challenge with no difficulty. I felt bad for the dog and I was annoyed at the guy for jumping to action as fast as he did to his conclusion (though I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same in that context) but I didn’t cry. Maybe its because I am not a dog person (dog’s are ok but I prefer cats, I guess I relate to them more; which is probably why I only felt this was mildly interesting). However! the story linked to below DID make me cry (which is rare). The blog in its entirety is very interesting but I am referring to paragraph 13 which begins “A US service man…” and on.

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/667602/jewish/Angels-of-Light.htm

  • Tom Hering

    By the way, how much will the nine of us (so far) win on this bet?

  • WebMonk

    May I ask why this was posted? There is nothing of any interest to anyone that I can tell.

    Is Dr. Veith just trying to get clicks or something?

    Not only that, but as a guy who knows literature, he cannot help but realize that there is nothing in the story to elicit an emotional response in 99% of readers.

    So, obviously he didn’t post it with the goal of actually bringing tears to eyes.

    Some sort of experiment?

  • Abby

    To the cat-people: During my life I saved two cats from imminent death. They lived on for many years after. However, I confess, I am a dog-person. And I shed a tear (but the context was too short). But it was because of this:

    “. . . the excited dog covered in blood . . .” When his master came, he was saying “I’m proud of myself — I’m so happy! — I laid my life on the line in a battle to the death — I won! — I saved your baby!” But he couldn’t use words. And then because the master misunderstood, he was killed.

    How many times in life, can we humans even experience this? Doing something really good — being misunderstood — and then being “killed” (in some way)? A lawyer told me this recently, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Why is that? I have heard that phrase for years and not understood it. Now I understand it. And even though we can use “words,” it still may not prevent the outcome of “death.”

    Even all of Jesus’ good words, pure sinless life, and compassion could not prevent His death. In fact, these things *caused* His death. Brutal, jealous, sinful people that we are.

    Well, I say, Gelert is in heaven. :)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    The folks at PETA would cry for the wolf, not for that evil mean dog that killed it. :^) Unless the wolf tore into their “pleather” bustier, of course.

  • Gene Veith

    Webmonk, I post things that I myself am interested in, thinking that others might be interested in them too, but I’m not trying to figure out what the public wants and posting accordingly. I thought that was a great story, about the dog Gelert. You are right, though, in sensing that it is an experiment, sort of. I’m interested in how narratives work and in this question: Does a story and its emotional impact inhere primarily in “what happens” or in the style with which it is told. Does an author need to put in all kinds of tear-jerking descriptions and narrative special effects to elicit the desired response, or is the main element “what happens” in the plot? In researching the story of Gelert, I found that it exists in many different versions. The most powerful, though, in my opinion, was this “police report” version that I found in review of that dog book that I posted about earlier. (You can google “Gelert” and find them, seeing if you agree. You can also find people questioning if it actually happened.)

    As for you who were not moved to tears about it, you have hearts of stone! No, not really, but I’m not going to give you any money for that! Don’t you know by now when I am being sarcastic or at least ironic?

  • kempin04

    (Well, since you have conceded the value of sarcasm and irony, I can only assume that you also value straightforward smarty-pants-edness. . .)

    The moral of the story?

    Re-introducing the wild wolf population is lunacy!

  • tODD

    Dr. Veith (@15), I must admit I am confused that you find this particular telling of the story “powerful”. Like the others, it did almost nothing for me.

    For one thing, by the way it is presented in your quote, the twist ending is totally telegraphed. We’re told it’s a “famous story”. And once we read the story about the empty crib and the blood, it’s instantly apparent that the story is not famous simply for what would appear to be the obvious conclusion that the dog killed the baby. Terrifying gore alone does not makes for famous stories. So you know there’s a twist. Which takes away the punch.

    And no, a story doesn’t need to be maudlin or overdone, with “tear-jerking descriptions and narrative special effects”. But it does need to be effective. And the reactions here are clear: this one isn’t. (I wonder if your reading of it was colored by the fact that you already knew the story from reading other accounts? Or did you find this one “powerful” even though it was the first you’d heard of Gelert?)

    Consider that the entirety of this story’s would-be emotional impact hangs on one word in this telling: “beloved”. And that word simply doesn’t do what it needs to. What’s the maxim for writers? “Show, don’t tell”? Something like that. If he wants us to believe that the prince truly loved the dog, we need examples of that. Did the dog sleep in his room, even as the queen had her own chamber? Did the dog accompany him everywhere? Did they eat meals together? You know, unusual anecdotes that really spell out how much this man of high stature loved this creature. Which also gives the reader room to believe that maybe this is just a story about a royal and his dog, so we let down our guard and revel in the affection.

    And maybe somewhere in there, you throw in some foreshadowing about the dog having saved the prince’s life before, perhaps while out hunting. Maybe he drove off some other kind of dangerous animal.

    And then comes the pivotal scene. The audience is left to wonder if maybe this is a tale about the untrustworthiness of animals and nature. Was the baby simply too tempting, even for what had seemed a loyal dog? Finally, the twist: the dog had been loyal, but the prince, in his haste, had not.

  • Grace

     ‏

    I read this blog last night, wondering why it had been posted.

    I believe this was an “experiment” – but a poor one at that. It proves nothing, it doesn’t have a reason, it doesn’t illicit either a humorous or emphatic effect, and most certainly no tears.

    There is enough pain and REAL LIFE STORIES in this world, no need to shed even one tear over a ‘wept up “experiment” –

     ‏

  • Gene Veith

    OK, try this: http://www.valleystream.co.uk/gelert.htm

    Is that really better than these few sentences? (I’m not saying the story couldn’t be told in a more effective way. This isn’t even the version told by the “Mark Twain of dog stories,” who wrote the book in which this anecdote appears. I’m sure it’s better. This is just the reviewer’s summary. But I still think the pathos lies in the events that are recounted, rather than in the words used to describe them, per se.)

    Ah, I found the passage from McCaig on line. It’s in the context of his discussion of “betrayal of dog by man” stories.

  • Gene Veith

    Good grief, you guys. At least Grace and Todd have finally found something to agree about. OK, I lost my bet! This is one reason why I don’t buy lottery tickets or go to casinos. I’m a terrible gambler.

  • Grace

    The story doesn’t make sense, the timing is bad, even if it did, ( yesterdays horrific event in Boston ) is on many peoples mind, and the newest events reported just in the past hours of “ricin” laced letters sent to the White House, etc. Courthouses evacuated, – - the story goes on.

    This isn’t appropriate in my opinion. We as Christians need to pray for the REAL things, of which there is a long list as of today!

    Is this how Christians should entertain themselves, to escape the real world?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Grace @1: Oh no you didn’t!

  • Grace

     ‏

    Here is the “caboose” right on cue! :lol:

     ‏

  • Tom Hering

    But I still think the pathos lies in the events that are recounted, rather than in the words used to describe them, per se. (@ 19)

    If we’re reading a non-fiction account, then I think we can be moved by even the barest or clumsiest telling. But if we know we’re reading fiction, there’s disbelief to be overcome (“I know this never happened”), and both the events and the words used to describe them must be handled skillfully.

    Also, it’s interesting how Abby @ 13 was only moved by relating the narrative to real life events.

  • George A. Marquart

    I am reminded of a Calvin Coolidge story, which everyone probably knows. The lady who was to be his dinner partner that evening had bet her friend that she could get him to say at least three words during the dinner. Frustrated, because he remained absolutely quiet all evening, she finally exploded, “Mr. President, I bet my best friend that I would get you to say at least three words during this evening.” Coolidge responded, “You loose.”

    George

  • kempin04

    Is it at all reflective of our culture that we are drawn to and interested by the level of emotive response rather than the merit (or lack) of the characters and events?

  • Grace

    Tom

    Abby @ 13 “How many times in life, can we humans even experience this? Doing something really good — being misunderstood — and then being “killed” (in some way)? A lawyer told me this recently, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Why is that? I have heard that phrase for years and not understood it. Now I understand it. And even though we can use “words,” it still may not prevent the outcome of “death.”

    The comment above by Abby, has nothing to do with the next comment, next paragraph of that post, it’s all mushed together.

    “No good deed goes unpunished.” makes no sense, no matter who utters the phrase. It’s not true, it cannot be applied to all “good deeds” –

    Abby @ 13 “Even all of Jesus’ good words, pure sinless life, and compassion could not prevent His death. In fact, these things *caused* His death. Brutal, jealous, sinful people that we are.”

    Christ came to die on the Cross for our sins – it hasn’t anything to do with ” “No good deed goes unpunished.” Christ’s purpose was divine.

    This type of twisting the truth, comparing things that aren’t a comparison, most importantly, using Christ’s death on the Cross, serves no purpose, but shows how FAR man will go to make a story, or fill in the blanks with nonsense.

    Christ dying on the Cross stands ALONE, there is no comparison, HE is the propitiation for our sins.

  • Gene Veith

    Is that it? The difference between assuming something actually happened and is just made up? The story of Gelert is presented as something that actually happened to a well-known Welsh prince. You can even go to Wales and visit the dog’s grave.

    If we assumed it didn’t happen, that it was “just a story,” then, yes, I can see how it wouldn’t have much impact, unless it were fictionalized in such detail that it created the illusion of reality. OK, this is helpful. I don’t, however, understand the indignation of Grace and Webmonk that were upset that I even posted this dog story. I hope the Boston Marathon accounts brought tears to your eyes, even though it was written up in just-the-facts journalism. And you can grieve for that, as well as grieving over that poor dog.

  • Grace

    Veith

    “I don’t, however, understand the indignation of Grace and Webmonk that were upset that I even posted this dog story. I hope the Boston Marathon accounts brought tears to your eyes, even though it was written up in just-the-facts journalism. And you can grieve for that, as well as grieving over that poor dog.

    You must have missed my post @ 21 – Of COURSE the bombing brought tears to my eyes. If I hadn’t thought it extremely important, I wouldn’t have made that post, reposted below:

    Grace @ 21 “The story doesn’t make sense, the timing is bad, even if it did, ( yesterdays horrific event in Boston ) is on many peoples mind, and the newest events reported just in the past hours of “ricin” laced letters sent to the White House, etc. Courthouses evacuated, – – the story goes on.

    This isn’t appropriate in my opinion. We as Christians need to pray for the REAL things, of which there is a long list as of today!”

    As for the dog, I don’t grieve – the fact it was posted as you stated: “I bet I can make you cry” after viewing the pain sorrow of families weeping over loved ones, 25-30 legs missing, more surgeries, more tears (Boston Marathon) – The dog story, and where it was buried in Wales PALES in comparison. Don’t forget the tragedy of yesterday is still raw in many of our minds. “And you can grieve for that, as well as grieving over that poor dog.”
    No I don’t, nor would I think many people see any comparison.

  • Tom Hering

    I’ve been assuming all along that the story is just a legend. The Wikipedia article about the story (which I just now looked up) compares it to similar legends in other cultures. As for Gelert’s grave, it’s actually the burial site of an early saint named Celert or Kilart. It was first associated with the dog by an 18th century hotel owner who wanted to increase tourism.

    As for Grace’s reaction, it’s perfectly understandable. She never misses an opportunity to show how, as Christians, we’re less faithful or biblical or whatever than she is. :-D

  • Grace

    TOM – - “As for Grace’s reaction, it’s perfectly understandable. She never misses an opportunity to show how, as Christians, we’re less faithful or biblical or whatever than she is.”

    Yes it is understandable that I would strongly ask for prayer FOR, – those who whose lives were snuffed out, their loved ones, and those injured, losing limbs and families broken hearted, need PRAYER -

  • Tom Hering

    I think it’s appropriate to ask for prayers in the Marathon Explosions thread, but I have no idea why you thought it was necessary to ask for those prayers in this thread. But wait! In yet another attempt to set yourself above us, you did make it clear that we Christians shouldn’t be wasting time or tears on stories like Gelert’s – not when real tragedies fill the news. Thanks so much. :-D

  • Grace

    Tom @ 30

    The Wikipedia article about the story (which I just now looked up) compares it to similar legends in other cultures. As for Gelert’s grave, it’s actually the burial site of an early saint named Celert or Kilart.</a? It was first associated with the dog by an 18th century hotel owner who wanted to increase tourism."

    IF you have the LINK to Wikipedia, why don’t you post it?

  • BobH

    I loved the story and the matter-of-fact style. It did bring a tear.

  • kempin04

    The more I think on it, the more it strikes me that the significance of the story is how it makes us feel, and why it makes us feel. That just seems so . . . I don’t know. Contemporary. Subjective. Commercial. Shallow. Is the ability to move emotion–assuming the specific qualities necessary can be identified–constructive? Is it ever a truly laudable goal to achieve emotion as a thing in itself– to “make someone cry”–rather than a consequence of conveying a truth that is worthy of emotion?

    It’s already been touched upon indirectly that a gruesome bombing doesn’t draw tears. (Am I impolite to admit that? Sorry, it didn’t really affect me.) I’ve become numb to realities that are worthy of emotion because I have been bombarded with them. Yet no one seems interested in pursuing emotion in the reality of loss and grief. Instead we pursue it in the controlled environment of story–be it fact or fiction. It makes me wonder if we are not becoming addicted to story as a safe place to experience emotion while withdrawing emotionally from the reality of life.

  • tODD

    Kempin (@35), what about that makes it “contemporary”? Did people who lived hard lives in the distant past not enjoy listening to stories?

  • Grace

    I liked what you wrote Kempin @ 35.

    “Yet no one seems interested in pursuing emotion in the reality of loss and grief. Instead we pursue it in the controlled environment of story–be it fact or fiction. It makes me wonder if we are not becoming addicted to story as a safe place to experience emotion while withdrawing emotionally from the reality of life.”

    I was moved deeply by the bombing in Boston. However, I know that there are those who aren’t moved to tears, no matter how gruesome the crime, or the number of those who have been inflicted with pain.

    I’ve never been drawn to fiction, although I have read lots of it. I have lived my entire life within the realm of reality. As a pastors daughter (eldest) I saw, and heard the raw truth of many peoples lives, their loss, my parents love for them, attention, and prayers made an impact on my life, that has never left me. So when I hear of yet another painful time, such as Monday in Boston, my heart cries, my eyes cry. I think about how it must feel to have such a great loss -

  • Abby

    Yes, all, I fully know that I could probably not get a passing grade in one of Dr. Veith’s classes. I agree I make mistakes in how and what I may think. But, I was not tying together Jesus’ death to the quote “No good deed goes unpunished.” Maybe because the words were too close in proximity to one another.

  • kempin04

    tODD, #36,

    The point is not that people from the distant past didn’t like stories. It just doesn’t seem likely that they would evaluate a story based on how it made them feel or failed to make them feel.

  • Grace

    Abby @ 38 regarding my post @27

    “But, I was not tying together Jesus’ death to the quote “No good deed goes unpunished.” Maybe because the words were too close in proximity to one another.”

    Then why did you post :

    Abby @ 13 “Even all of Jesus’ good words, pure sinless life, and compassion could not prevent His death. In fact, these things *caused* His death. Brutal, jealous, sinful people that we are.”

    What were you tying Jesus death to? – what was your point?

  • trotk

    kempin04 -

    Don’t forget that the ancient Greeks did use the genre of tragedy to evoke emotion that needed to be brought out of the person watching, hence Aristotle’s use of the word catharsis. It isn’t just a modern tendency to be unmoved by real events and thus to need stories to cause us to respond in emotionally appropriate ways.

    Why we act this way is a weird and difficult question that I don’t pretend to have an answer to.

  • Helen K.

    I’m with Bob H. @ 34. Simple person that I am, I love any story like that and I haven’t researched any of it yet. I could go on about the wolf being hungry and doing a wolfish thing (meaning no malice to the baby) and the loyalty and protective instinct of Gelert who I’m sure loved his master and the baby (as dogs love) and the angry and quick action of the Prince. Somewhere enons ago, I’ve heard this story with maybe a slight variation. I will usually have a tear about anything concerning a dog or any animal.
    Dr. Veith – thank your for the post. I personally loved it and you other guys, cut our host a little slack.

    All dogs and animals to to Heaven, but you knew that already. Right?

  • Grace

    Helen K. @ 42

    ” I personally loved it and you other guys, cut our host a little slack.”

    It’s not a matter of “slack” – I don’t agree.

    “All dogs and animals to to Heaven, but you knew that already. Right?”

    I don’t know that All dogs and animals to to Heaven” The Word of God doesn’t make mention of our pets going to Heaven. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, but that it isn’t stated in the Bible. Christ died for our sins, for those who Believed in HIM, those who are human. If you want to include those who aren’t, then you would have to grapple with Baptism, and Communion. Are you willing to go that far? – I sure won’t step near it. This is a subject that has often been discussed and debated, but it doesn’t have an answer in the Bible. Why is that?

  • tODD

    Kempin (@39), you said:

    It just doesn’t seem likely that they would evaluate a story based on how it made them feel or failed to make them feel.

    I just don’t see how that’s possible, nor are you doing much to convince me of your claim.

    I mean, all I have to go off here is the few stories from the distant past that have survived to the present. But they do seem like they’re, you know, mostly epic stories (in all senses), well-told, with strong take-home messages and powerful tales of loss, love, honor, etc. We don’t seem to have a lot of ancient tales of drudgery, nor can I recall any short, facts-only renditions of heroism.

    So … basically, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Help me out here.

  • kempin04

    tODD,

    My reflection is not on the story nor on the emotion, but on the way we are approaching it. Rather than say, “listen to this story,” followed by an emotional response, we are saying, “I bet this story will make you cry,” and then discussing whether it did or not and why. So the focus is not on the story, but on its capacity to emote.

    Not that there is anything wrong with such a discussion or reflection, it jest seemed to me (very belatedly, I might add,) that we slipped in to that conversation quite naturally. It seems to be the sort of thing our culture talks about. No one asked if the prince acted rightly or wrongly. (Rightly, in my opinion.) No discussion was spurred about the ethics of putting an animal down. We didn’t even consider whether it is appropriate to emote for animals at an equal or greater level than we do for humans. It’s just, “does this story make me feel.” That seems to have an overtone of addiction, and I wonder if there might not be a germ of truth in it.

  • Tom Hering

    This is a subject that has often been discussed and debated, but it doesn’t have an answer in the Bible. (@ 43)

    Sure it does, though the Bible never makes a plain statement like “the animals will be resurrected.” A careful study of the Bible convinces us of a number of things it never states plainly, like the Trinity, abortion is wrong, etc. I’m guessing, though, that even if the Bible did make a plain statement about the resurrection of the animals – as plain as, say, “baptism now saves you” – you’d still prefer whatever personal interpretation suits you. :-D

  • trotk

    kempin -

    Again, the ancients did approach stories according to how they made them feel (see my post at 41, which seems to have been missed). Not always, but then again, neither do we. It wasn’t the sole criteria used to evaluate a story, but then again, neither is it ours, as evidenced by this whole discussion. We honestly aren’t that different from many ancient cultures in our use of story. The major changes have been technological, but we still approach stories for the same reasons – escapism, humor, catharsis, p0litical satire, historical interest, etc.

  • kempin04

    trotk,

    I didn’t mean to ignore your post. You’re right about the Greeks, of course. There is nothing new under the sun and I am not suggesting that this is novel. I am commenting about its prominence in our culture at the moment. It seems that there might be an insight in the way we so consciously and deliberately emote in story, while in many other ways our emotion is seared.

    But then again, what do I know. . .

  • Grace

    Tom @ 46

    ” A careful study of the Bible convinces us of a number of things it never states plainly, like the Trinity, abortion is wrong, etc.

     ‏

     ‏  ‏ “make man in our image”

     ‏  ‏ “OUR image – OUR likeness

     ‏  ‏ Who was “us” in Genesis 1:26

     ‏  ‏ SPIRIT of God and “us” in Genesis

    1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    2. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    (Lets look at verse 26 and 27 of Genesis 1)

    26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    27 So God created man in His own image, in the created He him; male and female created HE them. Genesis 1

    Look at the Spirit of God in verse 2.

    Look at who the “let us” is in verse 26. Who was the “us”? God was speaking to, His Son? The next interesting fact is “in our image, after our likeness” – this would clearly mean that Christ knew and saw what His Father looked like. God does have an image, but no one has ever seen God the Father, however they have seen His Son, Christ Jesus.

    Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
    John 6:46

    Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
    John 14:9

    Reading the two passages above both from the Gospel of John, the answers are clear. Jesus, God the Son knew and had viewed His Father – when Jesus said to Philip, “he that hath seen me had seen the Father” it is clear that they both must look alike – the first person of the Trinity being God the Father, the second being Christ Jesus, God the Son and the third, the Holy Spirit, God the Holy Spirit.

  • Grace

    Tom @ 46

    ” A careful study of the Bible convinces us of a number of things it never states plainly, like the Trinity, abortion is wrong, etc.“

    WRONG Tom –

    16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

    17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
    1 Corinthians 3

    Our bodies belong to the LORD, we as Believers should know this – they are not for us to destroy or kill, as in suicide – they we are NOT to abort / murder / kill a little infant growing within the mothers womb. We as Believers, if we study Scripture know better. For those who don’t understand, I highly recommend studying the Word of God.

  • trotk

    kempin -
    What you are describing is nothing other than the disordered soul. Basically, all this means is that we feel inappropriately when confronted with a particular situation. The aim of education for Plato, Augustine, and CS Lewis, not to mention countless people in between, was to properly order the affections of the soul so that the human would feel (love, hate, weep, etc) rightly. CS Lewis’ “The Abolition of Man” is a great treatise on this.

    Two points, though:
    1. The fact that the ancients addressed this is an indication that it was just as much an issue then as now.
    2. This is probably a product of the “knowledge” of good and evil gained in the fall. Don’t interpret this as saying that education fixes the results of the fall ultimately, but it does seek to in a limited manner, and it indeed can in some worldly sense, just as medicine and technology can fix the results of the fall in some limited and earthly sense, but not in a heavenly and ultimate way.

  • Steven Henderson

    I remember hearing this touching story when I was just a “wee lad” in Georgia. It moved me so much that later I wrote a poem which won my high school’s literary contest. Here is the poem:

    The Dog Gelert
    by Steven R. Henderson

    In the mountains of Wales, there lived a king,
    Who owned fine castles and everything.
    He kept a dog to keep his son safe and sound.
    Gelert was a large and powerful hound.

    One day the king returned from hunting in the South.
    Gelert came bounding with blood covering his mouth.
    “Oh faithless hound,” yelled the king to his own accord.
    He took and slew the hound with his great broadsword.

    The king ran to his beloved son’s own room.
    The bed was empty, oh what certain doom!
    But from the other side he heard a child’s gleeful shout.
    His young son was pulling the shaggy wolf’s fur out.

    Oh happy father to have his son back again;
    Oh unhappy king to have slain his faithful guardian.
    There was nothing that the king could do or say,
    Except to build a monument that still stands today.

  • Gene Veith

    You, Steven, are a noble person!


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