Simple Simon Begins
In the land of great foolishness, a simple man is akin to a wise man.
Simon is a simple man, everyone says so. His mother says so, his father says so, his cow mooes so, and the hen clucks and agrees. Everyone else in the land simply calls him Simple Simon.
Simple Simon would walk down the road to the market, and everyone who sees him would point and say, “There goes Simple Simon, a more simple man we would never meet.” And they would laugh and not bother to talk to him because they think him too simple for words.
Because Simple Simon could never talk in a clever way, and he could never give out useful information. He could only say simple things like, “The sky is blue today,” or, “I took a bath this morning”, or “Your dress is very pretty.”
The person he talks to would roll their eyes impatiently, and says “Go away, Simon, I am busy right now. Come back when you have something intelligent to say.”
A more kindly soul would chuckle and indulges him saying, “Yes indeed, Simon, the sky is blue, you know what else is blue? My lovely eyes. Aren’t they pretty?”
And Simon would nod his head eagerly in agreement, but privately in his simple mind he would think that surely the person’s eyes are very pretty, blue or not. He is looking at the eyes, after all, the color is just a nice bonus.
Everyone fancies himself or herself cleverer than Simple Simon. No one appreciates Simple Simon, but he is too simple to be offended by it. He would just smile and nods his head, all the while being friendly to everyone.
No one appreciates Simple Simon, but no one truly dislike him. After all, he is a harmless fellow. People just do not feel a need for him; they deem him useless for everything except for a laugh every now and then. And so they are not very nice to him; not that he notices, his simple mind just could not comprehend such subtle behaviour.
Simple Simon remains unoffended by everyone and everything.
However, everyone else still are convinced that there is no one more simple than Simon.
Everyone, except his old grandmother.
One day, the old woman beckons him over to her. She is really old and is hard of hearing, her eyes have grown dim. However her mind is as sharp as ever and her senses still sprightly.
She says to Simple Simon, “Simplicity is the best characteristic a man could ever have.”
Simple Simon does not understand, of course, and just smiles benignly at her. Undeterred, or perhaps she doesn’t quite notice, being half-blind, the grandmother continues, “With simplicity, you could be content with a great many things, the likes of which make other men discontent and forever toiling for a dream.”
Simple Simon continues grinning at her. Encouraged by his silence which she takes to mean that he is paying attention, grandmother says again, “Now Simon, with your simplicity, you do not want for much, and you seem happy. But maybe, you should go and teach others this happiness.”
Simple Simon says, “Okay, granna, I will go.”
See how simple it is getting Simon to go do a monumental task such as teaching other people something?
It is that simple, and he is that unprepared for the task, but he is willing and eager, so off he goes.
First, he goes to the kitchen to see his mother and tell her that he is going to become a teacher. His mother is busy in the kitchen, cooking and baking and roasting and frying up everything. She works so hard in the kitchen all day every day preparing the best food for her family, that she sometimes has no time to really sit down and properly enjoy the food herself, or take a rest from the hot kitchen.
Simple Simon comes in, smells the food, promptly forgets what he means to tell her, and says, “Mother, everything smells delicious.”
His mother says, “Go away, Simple Simon, can’t you see that I’m busy? Soon your father will come back from working in the field, and he would want his food hot.”
Simple Simon says, “Yes, mother, but I just wanted to say that your food smells nice. You should try some yourself, or maybe eat with father this time.”
And so begins Simple Simon’s first lesson, and quite coincidentally his first opinion, which he accidentally and unknowingly gives his mother.
Perhaps it is just the right and opportuned time for Simple Simon to become a teacher in simplicity, because for the first time ever, his mother pays attention. Simple Simon has already skipped out of the kitchen. His mother straighten her back from stooping so low over the boiling pot on the hot stove, and sniffs the air. She thinks, Simon was right, the food really does smell delicious. Hmmmm, perhaps I should take a rest and also eat some food. Goodness knows I more than deserve it!
So she ladles some soup into a bowl, carves herself some roast meat, piles potatoes and hotcakes into a plate, and she brings everything to the table. Sitting down, she gives a huge, drawn-out a sigh, and takes a tentative bite. The food tastes very delicious!
Wow, I can cook! She thinks in delight. Soon, Simple Simon’s mother is eating her fill in her kitchen, quite enjoying everything she has cooked.
“Why do I cook so much for everyone in the family and do not take the time to enjoy my own cooking? Who knew my food could taste this good!” She exclaims in great satisfaction. “From now on, I will eat just as much as everyone in this family, and I will enjoy it too!” She determines.
Well done, Simple Simon, a lesson well-learned, even if he hasn’t quite gone in with the intention to teach it.
Simple Simon skips all the way out into the field, when he sees his father. Simple Simon runs to meet him. His father is toiling all the day long every day in the field, tending to his farm and his many animals. He really is quite busy. He says to Simple Simon, “Go away, Simple Simon, I am busy. Better yet, come here and help me.”
“Yes, father,” says Simple Simon. Then he says simply, “The sky is blue today, father.”
“Yes, son, I know,” says his father distractedly, lifting a huge bale of hay unto his shoulder to carry over to the animals waiting in the barn. “Help me with this, would you?”
“Okay, father. Father, the sky is very blue right now,” Simple Simon says again.
“Drat that boy, what is he babbling on about now?” mutters his father.
“Look father, the sky is so bright and blue!” Simple Simon points delightedly at the sky.
His father puts down the bale of hay, straightens his back, and looks up. The sky is indeed blue. The air is fresh, the garden is tending, and the animals are contently chewing their grain and hay. Everything seems still and content, not a soul moving in a task other than the animals moving leisurely to take a bite here and there.
The father blinks. He notices that Simon has already made himself scarce. The man blinks up at the sky and thinks, “I wouldn’t mind taking a rest. Perhaps I have been working too hard and incessantly. Everything seems to be in order. I might need a short rest.”
So the father lies down right there and then in the wide open field, looks up at the blue, blue sky, and just rests. It seems that he is long overdue for a relaxing holiday. Perhaps mother would like to go somewhere with him, maybe to the seaside, for a short holiday.
He begins to make plans.
And thus Simple Simon has given his second lesson of the day, to his father no less.
Lynne S’ Note : Simple Simon’s Adventures will continue. In the meanwhile, if you are interested, you can read more of his short and funny adventures here https://myreadingpoet.com/wp/category/fiction-and-short-stories/