There is a Persian poem that tells the story of a powerful king who ruled the Persian Empire. One day, he assembled a group of wise men and charged them with a task: make a ring that will make him happy when he is sad and make him sad when he is happy. The wise men were puzzled – was the king asking for some magic ring capable of changing his mood? After much pondering and deliberation, they came up with a solution. The wise men presented the king with a simple ring, with its only remarkable feature being words etched on the outside. Words that the king could read whenever he was tearful or joyful. The king read the words and was pleased. It said: “This too shall pass”.
(Image source: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Time-will-pass-212796344)
Let’s imagine that you are walking outside, when rain clouds catch you by surprise and suddenly pour down on you. Assuming that you have no umbrella or anything to cover yourself with, is it best to run back home or walk back? Or to elaborate, should you walk and spend more time in the rain, or should you run, which means you will run into rain sideways?
There are two ways you can get wet in the rain: it will either fall on top of your head, or you will run into it from the side. The amount of rain that falls on your head is constant whether you are walking or raining, as the entire field you are travelling through is full of raindrops. Therefore, one would naturally think that running would not add much benefit as you run into more rain by moving faster, as you essentially hit a wall of raindrops.
But this is not true. No matter how fast you travel, the amount of rain you hit sideways is constant. The only variable that affects the amount of rain you hit sideways is the distance you travel. This is because the amount of raindrops in the space between you and your destination is constant.
Summarising this, the wetness from rain you receive is:
(wetness falling on your head per second x time spent in rain) + (wetness you run into per meter x distance travelled).
Since you cannot really change how far you are from your destination, the best way to minimise getting wet is to run as fast as you can to minimise the time you spend in the rain.
Then again, this is only the most practical option to keep you dry. If you are feeling particularly romantic or blue, then feel free to stroll through the rain, savouring the cold drops on your face (or wallow in the sadness that is your life).
(Here’s a very good video explaining the maths/science of it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MqYE2UuN24)
One still autumn night, a student woke up in tears. A teacher who found this peculiar asked the student:
“Did you dream a scary dream?”
“Did you dream a sad dream?”
“No sir. I dreamed a sweet dream.”
“Then why are you crying so?”
As she wiped away her tears, the student said:
“Because that dream will never come true.”
(from Bittersweet Life)
A short story of very small word count is known as a flash fiction. However, most flash fictions are between 300 and 1000 words. There are shorter examples such as nanofictions, which are flash fictions exactly 55 words long. But due to the criteria that a story must have a beginning, middle, ending, protagonist etcetera, it is quite difficult to write a story any shorter than that.
Ernest Hemingway once made a bet with a friend that he could write a short story which would have just six words. Of course, Hemingway being Hemingway, he easily completed the challenge. Like any other story, Hemingway’s short story had a beginning, middle and an end. It had a protagonist, a conflict and a resolution. Even within such a small word count, he filled the story with a variety of themes such as hope, joy, tragedy and agony. However, as so much content has been compressed to the extreme, the story may take a few reads to completely understand it. Hemingway’s story is as follows:
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”