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    The Darndest Things: The Prick of Conscience

    November 4, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    This morning during school, we read a couple selections out of Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book. As is usual during our Ambleside Time, I read the story aloud and had E. take care to listen closely. After I finished, he retold the story back to me in his own words. This process is often referred to as narration.

    E.’s retelling of the story Prince Darling was particularly impressive because it is such a long story and, unlike most fairy tales, it has more than one lesson that can be gleaned from it. I love this fairy tale, but because of its complexity, it didn’t surprise me that my son seemed to pick out one moral and tell the story through that lens.

    This moral was that of conscience. You see, in Prince Darling, the Fairy Truth gives the prince a ring that will prick him when he does wrong. We see it “put pressure on his finger” when he has a bit of a sour spirit, and actually cause his finger to run with blood when he does a great evil in kicking his own sweet dog. Each wrongdoing gets the appropriate level of pricking.

    During narration, my son declared that he wished he had a ring like that. He thought it might help!

    But it gets better.

    Later, he was harrassing A., which is something he’s been in trouble for doing lately. He told her she was naughty, which caused her to begin to cry. As I reminded him he wasn’t supposed to do such a thing, he looked at me with a big, guilty grin, held his finger, and said, “PRICK!”

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