If the soul could have known God without the world, The world would never have been created.

- Meister Eckhart

Careful living in a specific place is the foundation of our old folk tales; this mountain, that tree, this badger, that golden fish, Eagle, the women coming in with the baskets, the North wind, March, the stars, and on and on and wondrously on. One story holds us among the many things of the world. It does this while nurturing the Imagination, which is not a superfluous gift but a necessity for seeing with the material into the structure of our real lives. What seems both outside and inside are experienced in the same place; what seems small and hidden is an entire world.

Unlike secular stories, which happen in the common perception of time passing, sacred stories are consecrated to truth and teaching and are not attached to our usual perception of cause and effect. Rather, they are stories without time-showing us no time-so we can experience the world from within and without at the same moment. Even if the stories have a beginning, middle, and end, we understand that this form allows the communication of the enduring, the always is. Thus, we an perceive that they are stories “from that time”; we can hear the sacred story and experience the eternal. Often, these holy stories are memorized, so that nothing is out of place, for stories and words have a real place in the world. Sacred stories, seen also by their subject matter, explain, point, reveal the truth, inspire, and show reverence for the sacred world. Profane stories, that live outside the temple, rely on what happens, how and why. They give a vivid sense of our living, our passing, our mortality. Our profane stories speak extemporaneously from the moment, from personal experience and understanding, from error and mistake, from a windfall picked up after a storm. These ordinary stories are good, bad, or indifferent teachers, uncommon treasure boxes of the human mind and mirrors of its soulful life. The old folk tales especially have a sneaky logic found in poetry, metaphor, and dreams. We can be thankful that they are not given to large statements on meaning, for like the heart, to whom they constantly speak, they prefer experience to discussion, unity to separation. Everything in them has weight, even a feather blowing here and there. They live in the particular while trying to talk politely about everybody. Full of lively images, these old tales carry with them the magic of the created world. Although humble, they hold the possibility of experiencing the miracle of an ordinary day.