Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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A parable is usually a life lesson, revealed through a succinct story. A fable accomplishes the same task, but usually has animals as main characters.
This story has plants and animals, but they aren't the characters. So I am justified in calling this a parable.
The main thing is, we learn through stories, because we pay attention to stories and we remember them. I can picture Jesus looking into the milling crowd, shoving his lecture notes into his sleeve, and saying, "Yep. This situation calls for a parable."
Besides, "parable" has a certain dignified ring to it, and I have always wanted to write one.
A certain woman went out and made a fragrant garden on her front step, using rich soil and pots of divers sizes. She chose marjoram, basil, and oregano to make meals satisfying to the tongue. There was chamomile to soothe, and mint to refresh the spirit, and.... well, you get the idea.
Now raccoons came in the night to feast on grubs within the rich soil, and knew not the woman's ambition. And verily, with their tiny hands they scooped the tender transplants, roots and all, and scattered them upon the ground. They spilt the contents of the pots, smothering and trampling her cherished herbs until they were wilted and limp.
Now in the morning, the woman was sorely troubled and laid plans to undo this mischief. Truly, she would overcome the raccoons.
"Lay compost upon the ground," one urged her. "Cast down vegetable and leaf; sprinkle bone of chicken and of fish. Place it in a corner of the lot, as an offering delightful to them. They will eat, and trouble you not."
The woman had a vision of raccoons and bears gathering and feasting in that distant corner, then lifting up their eyes unto her front step, and skulking forward with salivating maws gaping wide.
"Fence them out," urged another.
In a fresh vision, she saw the raccoons clambering over the fence, now turning their desires to the large vegetable garden below.
The woman remembered the lesson that her father had learned in bitterness and sorrow, when she had been but a child.
(This is a parable within a parable, which might not be possible for the form, but here it is anyway.)
So the woman repotted her chamomile, and she repotted her mint, and her oregano, and her basil, and her marjoram. And she accepted that, if the raccoons returned, her meals might be less tasty, but she would not starve.
And verily, her garden flourished.
Here endeth the lesson.