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  • Writer's pictureAntony Tse

The Three Girls' Veils

I love stories. I believe many people do, as children or as grown-ups.

Hearing stories create changes in your mind. Story metaphors work magically in your brain, as our brain is a pattern matching organ. In fact, any story produces some kind of a change in the people who hear, tell or make it.

The Three Girls’ Veils*

Three girls stitched and designed their own wedding veils, as was the custom in the villages and the lands in which they lived.

The first, impatient for the wedding itself, worked hastily and without care, thinking it much less important than what was to come. When she married, the veil was a mix of unmatched colours. People made comment on it, but she didn’t care. After all, she had got what she wanted. Yet that veil also somehow foretold and typified the years of the marriage that followed. Not exactly happy or contended years.

The second girl was a fine needlewoman, the best in the village. She prepared herself for the task very carefully. But as soon as she began to stitch, she felt critical of her design and started again. Very soon she was unhappy with the second attempt- the third and the fourth. This had to be perfect – and indeed it was, when she finally finished it. But by that time the husband-to-be had long since married someone else and she was 93.

As for the third, well she set to work and she attended to it but very soon she made a mistake. However, she realized she could rescue it and stitched around and altered her plan just a little. She did not unpick the stitches and she went on – until she made another mistake. Again she adapted the design and worked around the error…and again and again. When she was married, everyone said what a beautiful veil it was that she was wearing. She never tired of telling people what it was made from: mistakes. Her marriage was a good one too. Whenever something was not going smoothly, she and her husband found ways to adapt and to work around the issues together.

I find this story inspiring. Stories work in different people through different ways. My hope is that - through understanding the stories that you have been telling yourselves - it helps you to move towards more effective and positive ways of being.

Which one of the three girls above resonate in your life?

*Parkinson, Rob. (2009) “Transforming Tales – How Stories Can Change People”. JKP.

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