This morning I went to a nearby urban public school to read a story to the kindergarten class my wife teaches.
The story was Hansel and Gretel, one of the classics of European folk culture. It was a nicely illustrated edition. A majority of the pupils in the class were Hispanic. The rest were black, with one white girl.
But the story transcends time and culture. Most of the pupils were attentive, though some were recent immigrants who still barely spoke English and didn’t seem quite “present.” I had been to the class before, so some of the little girls came up to hug me. In general it was a cheerful atmosphere.
Hansel and Gretel is quite a gruesome tale. In it, the family is starving, and the mother persuades the father to take Hansel and Gretel into the forest and leave them. They make their way to a house made of gingerbread and candy owned by a witch. The witch decides to fatten up Hansel and eat him, but Gretel tricks the old lady into getting inside a cooking stove to check the temperature. Gretel slams the door shut, the witch burns up, then, after helping themselves to the witch’s collection of jewels and gold coins, the children find their way back home. Their mother has died, but they and their father now are able to live in a degree of comfort “happily ever after.”
All the old fairy tales are symbolic, so naturally, as a monetary reformer, I view the witch with her treasures as a symbol of how the peasants of olden days regarded the money lenders who fattened themselves through usury while the people starved.
In the language of fairy tales and parables, fire symbolizes knowledge. Symbolically, then, Gretel figured out how the witch had gained the power to lord it over everyone else so that honest men like her father could not survive. Using her knowledge, Gretel gave the witch what was coming to her, so that truth and justice prevailed in the end.
Today, if enough people had the knowledge of how the bank-run debt-based monetary system ripped them off and kept all of society in bondage, while the lords of finance cavorted in their candy houses, the system would change very quickly.
If this seems like a fantasy, please read my book We Hold These Truths: the Hope of Monetary Reform, where I described Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as a monetary parable. In that particular chapter I likened the Ring of Power to compound interest. When Frodo, the little hobbit, throws the ring into the fire of Mt. Doom, the illegitimate power of the evil Sauron, who stands for the financiers, is destroyed forever. In fact Tolkien did have a strong interest in monetary reform. The symbolism of fire in Lord of the Rings is similar to that found in Hansel and Gretel.
Of course being in a kindergarten class reminded me of the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. It’s true. Taped to a cupboard door in my wife’s classroom are sayings like, “How May I Help You,” “Excuse Me,” and “Thank You.”
Maybe if the international bankers, who seem to be on an endless crusade to enslave mankind through putting everyone deeper into debt, followed such simple rules of courtesy, and really did try to help humanity have a better life, the world would be a far different place.
Richard C. Cook is a former federal analyst who writes on public policy issues. His book “We Hold These Truths: the Hope of Monetary Reform” is now available at http://www.tendrilpress.com. His website is http://www.richardccook.com.