The story of the Three Little Pigs is a timeless tale of how important good planning and doing things right is. Also, it serves to remind us that good architecture and engineering is key to one’s survival. A key aspect of the story is how the wolf “huffs and puffs” to blow the straw house and the stick house away. However, he cannot blow the brick house away as it is too well-built. Out of scientific curiosity, how hard does the wolf have to blow to destroy the Little Pigs’ three houses?
An experiment was performed to scientifically test this tale. The researchers built a house out of straw, a house out of sticks and a house out of bricks, then set up a fan to test at what wind speed the house was destroyed. The straw house blew away when the wind speed was 11m/s. The stick house lasted a little longer, up to a wind speed of 21m/s. Then what about the brick house? The brick house withstood winds of 35m/s, whereupon the researchers had to stop as the strong wind nearly blew the people away.
Once upon a time, a donkey who had worked hard for his master all his life on a farm was about to be sold off simply because he was old. The donkey fled to Bremen where he hoped to be a travelling musician. On his way to Bremen, he met a cat, a dog and a rooster who were all placed in a similar predicament. The four animals decide to form a band of animal musicians. While travelling together, they came across a house full of delicious food and a warm fire.
However, they soon found out the house was inhabited by robbers. The animals decided they should somehow chase away the robbers and ultimately came up with the plan of the rooster jumping on the cat’s back, who was on the dog’s back who was on the donkey’s back. The quartet began singing at the top of their voice. The robbers were startled by the strange sound and terrifying figure and ran for their lives, thinking the house was haunted. The musicians then feast on the food and spend a warm night in the house.
Later that night, the robbers returned and sent one of their members to scout the house. In the dimly lit room, he sees the cat’s eyes but believes it to be candlelight. At that moment, the cat scratched his face, the dog bit his leg, the donkey kicked the robber and the rooster chased him out the door. The robber then told his companions about how he was scratched by the long nails of a witch (cat), stabbed by an ogre’s blade (dog), hit by the club of a giant (donkey) and worst of all, chased away by the shrieks of a dragon (rooster). The robbers gave up on the house and the animals spent the rest of their lives in that house happily ever after.
The moral of this story is that even after being thrown away, if you stay optimistic and work through the troubles you can still live a happy life. A similar lesson is found in a quote by General Douglas MacArthur: “Old soldiers never die. They just fade away.”. If you have passion, dreams and a friend who has the same mindset, nothing is impossible.
Hwang Hee was one of the greatest scholars in Chosun (modern day Korea) and served as a minister for 18 years. There is one famous tale that shows his wisdom and character.
One day, two of Hwang Hee’s servants we’re fighting over who was right. They came to Hwang and asked him to judge who was right.
When one child stated his opinion, Hwang said: “You are right”.
Then, the other child retorted in a heated manner and Hwang said again: “You are right”.
His cousin who was observing this asked: “Surely one was wrong for the argument to have started. Why do you say that both are right?”.
Hwang smiled and replied to him: “You are right also”.
There is much to be learnt from Minister Hwang Hee’s broad-mindedness, benevolence and wisdom even now, over 500 years since his time. Arguments are destructive acts with no gain. Instead of debating the right and wrong of every little thing, it is far more effective to seek relative and absolute knowledge.
Once upon a time, there lived an ant and a grasshopper in the forest.
In the hot summer, the ant worked hard under the burning sunlight.
But the grasshopper spent all of his time playing on his instrument and having fun instead of working.
The ant was envious of the grasshopper, but on the other hand he pitied him.
One day, the grasshopper asked the ant: “You should rest a bit. It is important to work hard, but you should also think of your health.”
The ant, in a fit of rage, said: “You have no right to say that. The summer will not last forever and there is a finite supply of food in the forest. If you do not work hard now to gather food, everyone else will take it and you will die in the winter. To be happy in the future you must endure the pain of the present. I worry for your future.”
“If you have to live a hard present for a happy future, what meaning does your life have? Food does not define happiness.”
“That is just wishful thinking of the poor. A day will come when you will pay dearly for your lack of reality.”
And time passed until winter came. The winter brought a merciless cold snap and the forest quickly froze over.
The ant was right. The grasshopper – with no food or shelter – could not fight the cold and soon froze to death. As his body became more and more rigid, he thought to himself: “Well, I enjoyed my youth and had a happy time, so I have no regrets at least.”
The ant had enough food stored up and so he could live in his burrow without starving to death.
In his cold, damp, dark burrow he spent a lonely time, extending his miserable life just a little bit longer.
After a month of enduring it, he could not bear the continuous cold and eventually froze to death.
All is vain in the face of nature. Instead of just worrying about the future, one must also invest in the past and present to lead a complete life of happiness.
The unicorn is pictured as a white stallion with a single, prominent horn on its forehead. It is still loved and is one of the most well-known mythical creatures. As with any mythical beasts, there are interesting stories related to the unicorn.
The horn is the source of the unicorn’s strength – the infinite fountain of magical power that grants the unicorn unmatched strength and speed. If it meets an enemy it either sprints and disappears, or uses its large weapon to impale even the hardest armour. This makes it extremely hard to capture.
Medieval people believed the horn of the unicorn to be a highly valuable magic ingredient, with extremely potent cleansing properties that could purify even lakes and seas. But as the only way to attain the horn is to capture a unicorn, it was an extremely rare commodity.
To catch a unicorn, one must know its most important (yet not well-known in the modern age) trait. Although they are wild beasts with a savage temper, they calm down like lamb in front of one group of people – virgin maidens. If it detects even the faintest scent of a virgin, it rushes towards her and places its head on her lap, soundly falling asleep. Due to this characteristic, it is often portrayed as a symbol of purity and chastity, and also Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
According to notes written by Leonardo Da Vinci himself, hunters used this trick to capture unicorns that would fall asleep on a virgin’s lap (whom they brought with them to aide in the hunt). Even a mighty beast has a weakness that can be exploited.
On a side note, it is also written that if the unicorn senses that the maiden is not a virgin, it would instantly use its large weapon to impale her until death.