There once was a maiden trapped in a tower. There were no stairs, and there was no ladder. To jump was certain death. In short, the maiden was indeed trapped. She had no recourse but to look out the single window day after day in misery.
A saint happened by one day and the maiden began calling for help. The saint’s heart opened to her plight and he set out to help her from her confinement and miserable circumstance. The maiden was overjoyed when the saint stopped from his journey and said simply, “I will help you.”
Watching from above, the maiden saw him searching through the bushes and rummaging around. Could he help her? Would he?
As the saint came up to the tower he held a caterpillar close, and appeared to be speaking to it. With the caterpillars aid assured, he proceeded. The saint grasped onto the thin thread of silk the caterpillar was spinning, the caterpillar began to climb. For hours, the caterpillar climbed. The thread of silk got longer. The maiden got angrier!
What trick was this old fool playing? Couldn’t he see she was truly trapped? What good was a caterpillar, the devious old villain!
As the caterpillar approached the window the saint opened his traveling bag and pulled out a linen shirt. Clipping the end, he pulled loose a thread, which he then gently tied to the thin piece of silk. The saint called out. “Grab hold of the silken thread our friend has delivered to you. Gently pull it up until you hold the linen thread.”
The maiden made a choice. Mostly because she was so lonely and had nothing else to do, she humored the old fool. Frustrated and annoyed, she began to pull. She pulled and pulled until she held the linen thread in hand. It blew in the wind, strung between the saint and the maiden like a thin piece of hope; easily dashed and severed.
The saint worked again. He unwove a second shirt, this time tying three linen threads to the first. His instructions were the same. Again the maiden, angry and confused, humored the old fool. She pulled the linen thread with diligence until she held the three threads in hand.
In just this way, the saint and the maiden worked throughout the night. The thin piece of silk grew from three linen threads to a small braid. Then, a thick braid was pulled to the top. Afterwards it was a thin rope. Each step along the way the thread became thicker and stronger. It wasn’t until the next morning, after long hours or work, that the silken thread had grown into a rope strong enough to support the maiden. In the fresh sunlight of dawn, she descended to freedom on the sturdy rope they had built from a caterpillar’s thin silken thread.
Remember: There is much wisdom in creating smaller goals that run underneath and alongside our main goal.
Caution: We have all turned our back on helping hands because our limited perspective doesn’t see the opportunity presented. We all would pull on the thin rope to get the sturdy rope; it’s easy to see the result. But, would you have pulled the caterpillar’s thread?