“Enough is enough and not one stitch more.” How do you teach children about contentment? Being satisfied with what they have? Isn’t this something we all struggle with? We see something beautiful and we want it. I have a house filled with lovely things, cupboards filled with clothes, shelves filled with books and yet I still want more.
When I saw Cloth From the Clouds a few weeks ago in a local bookstore I wanted it. Seduced by the glorious cover, I wanted to buy it – so I did – pure and simple greed. Well not quite – I have a nephew turning six, so I will give it to him as a gift, but the desire to want it was strong.
I struggled teaching this to our children – I am sure because I was not too good at modelling it. Cloth From the Clouds by Michael Catchpool is a contemporary cautionary tale – or a story with a moral. It is beautifully told and the illustrations by Alison Jay are scrumptious. I just want to look at them. They work well together.
It is a story about a boy who could weave cloth from the clouds who lived at the top of the hill. He had been taught wisely by his mother – the thread was gold in the morning with the rising sun, white in the afternoon and crimson in the evening. He made enough thread to weave himself two scarves – one for his head when the sun was hot, the other a scarf to keep him warm as roasted chestnuts.
The King sees the boy’s scarf and wants one. He demands that the boy make him a long scarf. The boy is bold enough to respond “It would not be wise to have a long scarf made from this cloth. Your majesty does not need it.”
The ensuing story is about how the King gets his scarf and more with dire consequences for everyone else as the clouds are all used up with his demands. “Enough is enough and not one stitch more.” A little boy knew this truth but the King didn’t. The King had everything he needed and more and was driven by greed. The trouble with greed is that it is insatiable. I would like to think that I am satisfied with what I have but… this book certainly challenged me. The boy in this story is wise and the little princess makes a brave decision. A beautiful book.