What’s the best lesson you’ve ever learned?

I remember, a long time ago, reading Stephen King’s The Talisman.  I think at the time I had assumed it was for grown-ups, since I had King down as an adult writer, but now I’m not so sure.  Goodreads has it down as a ‘Dark Fantasy’, but it doesn’t mention if it is a novel or a Young Adult’s novel.


It’s certainly a thick enough book.  It would probably deter most younger readers (at least those already put off by the thickness of Mr Potter’s latter adventures) but I soldiered on through it and I was rewarded by one of the most memorable reads of my life.

To know what happened, aside from the main events; to know who was in it, aside from the protagonists; to know how it ends in any sort of detail, I would have to read it again.

“Then why call it memorable?”

It is a good question, and also one that is easy to answer: the lessons within it.  Those lessons have stuck with me to this day.  And chief among them?

Never harm the herd.

That is what the Book of Good Farming teaches us, and as a lesson for a young, impressionable lad (from a rural background, in fact), it definitely left its mark.  The herd refers not simply to livestock left in your charge, but anyone or anything that, through design or ill fortune, is less able than you are.

This completely turns the tables on how many people think, because now all those people to whom you thought you were superior are now actually under your protection.  They are your responsibility.  I have no doubt if I could actually live by that, I would be a better person

I do at least try.

And so to the question: what is the greatest lesson you have ever learned from a work of fiction?  Hit me with your answers in the comment section!

Emblem Black (2)


3 thoughts on “lessons

  1. Hey J.F,
    reading “The Joker” by Markus Zusak and “13 Reasons Why” made me realise that death does not mean that your existence just stops.
    It’s actually common sense one might say, but I think that many of us have no idea of the massive impact we leave on the people around us, on the world. And those will never be able to fully understand what these things mean, like we might be interpreting Nietzsche completely wrong.
    Last semester I had a seminar about how literature can empower you and as you pointed it out with your wonderful example, fictional books can teach us so many things! Every book I read has left a mark on me, I’m sure that it is happens unconsciously most of the time.
    I am really curious about your new short story and about its lesson! Can’t wait.


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