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       The story of the
          Spirit Folk Pin



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This is one of my older designs that several customers have asked me to resurrect. The design is loosely based on and inspired by an old fairy tale, one often told by my grandmother whenever she wanted to remind me about having tolerance and patience for others.

I don't remember the story exactly, only the moral, but it went something like this:

Seems there was a group of spirit folk living happily in the meadow when one day along came a big, old, long nosed and whiskered, mangy rat. The rat thought these little spirits would make a nice dinner, but noticed that everyone was always in groups so it would be difficult to swoop in and gobble up one or two.

As he watched and contemplated his next dinner he noticed that although these folks were always in groups they were all different from each other. Some folk smiled and laughed a lot while others were more studious. Some farmed, some danced and played games, some cooked and sewed clothing, some taught the babies, some were in politics and some healed the sick. Some were dark skinned, some had red coloring and some were almost albinos. They were a varied but very homogenous group and every one got along famously.

Hmmm, thought the rat as he watched surreptitiously from the woods, if I can stir up some trouble with all these little spirits by making them aware of all their differences then, they'll stop being supportive of each other and they'll run amuck making it easy for me to catch them and have myself a fine meal!

So he thought and thought and finally figured out a way to make every one in the meadow suspect every one else who was different than themselves. The spirit folk started to argue over everything from what to eat, what music was good or what books were worthwhile. Anyone with less or more gold was under suspicion, anyone with either more or less education was distrusted, and any one who didn't believe the same things or who looked different was discredited. They didn't share anymore and didn't look out for each other's well being. They became skeptical of everything different, but the worst thing is they stopped caring what happened to their neighbor.

The mangy, old, mean spirited rat watched and waited, smirking about his ability to disrupt this warm and loving spirit community. His mouth watered in anticipation of the fine dinner he would soon have. As the community came apart, the mangy old rat saw his opportunity and jumped out and grabbed a few unsuspecting spirits, plopped them into his "dinner" bag and went back into hiding with the plan of whisking up a few more folk before dinnertime.

Fortunately, one wise old spirit who had been around a long, long time saw immediately that the mangy old rat was the instigator of all this madness and went about the community enlightening all his family and friends. As soon as everyone realized that mangy old rat was to blame for all their unhappiness and enmity, they agreed to stop their mistrusting, doubting and disreputable behavior.

The wise old spirit suggested they needed a "plan" to become a community again and above all to rescue their friends before they were eaten! So, they banded together again without thought of who might be better, smarter, richer, or prettier. They rescued their friends from the "dinner" bag and from then on they were always found in groups of three or four and friendship, tolerance and compassion returned to the spirit folk's meadow!

A most fitting end to this story is that the mean spirited, mangy old rat had to go back to eating roots, bugs and worms!


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