Collection 1

November 23, 2014

The Rule of Thumb

Once there were four fingers on a hand. One was tall, two were medium-sized, and one was a small fellow. But aside from this they were all much alike. They faced the same way and stood in a nice row. In a word, they were "normal”.

On the other hand -- no -- on the some hand -- was a thumb. But how different he was! The fingers that were normal" would get terribly upset at him. “You’re not a real finger! Why can’t you be a normal everyday finger like us?"

They would complain: "We face and move this way but you face and move that way.”

“But I can’t help it,” whined Thumb. "I was made this way; I grew out of the side of the hand and not out of the end like you.”

“Well, ok,” they cut in, "but we all have three joints and you only have two.”

"Now, not quite so fast,” said Thumb. "I hove only two that you can see, but inside the hand is a third big joint covered with a large muscle that makes me strong. If it were not for this I wouldn't be able to move like this… and this… and even get close to you like this…”

"Oo… ooh! Go back to your place. It’s clear now that we are superior and you are inferior; we are high and you are low. We were created apart. Our ways are different than yours. You are strange and different. Now let us stay apart.”

Poor Thumb felt so lonely and left out. He cried and cried. “Why am I so different? Why must I always be left out? Surely, since I was created, I must be good for something.”

But the four fingers just left him out. The fingers worked in a group to up pieces of paper and other small things that were not too heavy, but when it came to writing with a pencil or lifting something heavy, or opening a jar-lid, or other more difficult work, they were having no success at all.

And down below, poor lonely Thumb just couldn't do anything at all by himself.

One day the four fingers had to pick up a heavy book. No matter how hard they tried they couldn't do it. After a long time talking among themselves they finally let their pride die a little bit. They looked sheepishly over at Thumb. “Thumb! ... uh…could you … give us a hand – we mean a finger – or a thumb?”

“Sure!” shouted Thumb with glee. Up he jumped and put himself against one side of the book while the four fingers held to the other side. All five fingers now easily lifted the book. The “normal” fingers realized now that he was as strong as the four of them put together.

Thumb began to be accepted by the four fingers. Together they opened and closed things, wound up things, rolled up things, twisted and turned things, held onto things, lifted things and wrote things.

“Well,” said the four fingers, “we guess the thumb is a real finger after all. We really can’t live without him!” 
(Glory Baha’i Youth Magazine, vol. 12, no. 1, 1985)