Once upon a time there was a man, playing a game of Snakes and Ladders. He was perfectly content with his place on the board, somewhere just below half way, and throwing twos and threes with the occasional four of the dice, meant he made slow, but steady progress. . He always played with great enthusiasm, even though he knew it was very unlikely that he would ever win.
He played the game for many years, hoping that one day he might throw a six, but unknown to him, a horrid witch called Ms. Fortune had been watching him closely, waiting to pounce. Then one day, when the man wasn’t looking, she made her move, and full of ill will, she played her sick joke, and put a spell him. Taking away his ability to throw the dice properly, making it impossible for him to ever throw a six, and that whenever he landed on a ladder, it would be a short one, but when it was a snake, it would be a long one.
She sat back laughing, and watched as he desperately struggled to make any progress on the board. Any move forward was quickly followed by a steep slide down a slippery snake. He began to fear every throw of the dice, wondering where he would end up.
The man knew that there was something seriously wrong. It was time for him to visit the wizard, who specialized in finding the reasons why players couldn’t play the game correctly. The wizard checked the man over from tip to toe and using his magic wand he even looked inside him.
After a little while, the wizard sat the man down, and gave him the bad news. “The horrid witch Ms. Fortune has put a spell on you”, he told him, and then added, “I’m sorry, but this particular spell is unbreakable. From now on you’ll have to play the game spellbound ".
The man walked slowly away with his head in his hands. Why had Ms. Fortune played such a cruel trick on him? He thought. Especially when he knew that some of the other players threw sixes every few goes, and only ever hit tiny snakes, but always lengthy ladders.
He became very frustrated and angry with the game. All he could see was a slow continuous slide down to the bottom of the board. In his darker moments, he couldn’t see any purpose to the game at all, and sometimes even wished that he had never started playing.
One day, when he was waiting to take his turn, and feeling quite depressed, the man began to remember why he was playing the game. It wasn’t because he wanted to win; he had never cared about that. The pleasure was all in the taking part. OK, he thought. I maybe spellbound, and I may hit more long snakes and short ladders, and I may go backwards on a lot of my turns, but while I’m still in the game I can still have lots of fun.
He picked up the dice and unafraid shook it with a new vigor. Wherever it led him, he would play again from there, determined to fully appreciate and enjoy each and every move until the game finally ended.
From my blog http://giny1uk.blogspot.co.uk