An uncontrollable temper

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Story File
9.5

Values

Self-control and good character

Main Lesson

When we act out of anger and rage we are easily misled. Controlling ourselves in such situations helps us to avoid big problems.

Setting

A kingdom in a fairy tale.

Characters

A prince and a writer.

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An uncontrollable temper

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Cuento para aprender a controlar los enfados

Once upon a time, there was a young prince who had a secret that even he didn’t know: as a baby, he had been bewitched by an ancient enemy of the kingdom. It was a very strange spell, for its only effect was that it made the prince lose his temper every time he heard a secret word.

However, that word was so normal - and so well chosen - that there was always someone who said it. As a result, the prince grew up with a reputation for losing his temper very easily, without anyone ever suspecting anything.

The bad thing was that, like everyone else, when he got angry he ended up messing up. He would scream or do the first thing that came into his head, which was almost always the worst possible idea. And that, in someone who commanded so much, was a very big problem. His mistakes caused so many problems that the clamour of the inhabitants of the kingdom rose with such force that… he was kicked out of his own fairy tale! A lot of small characters ended up arguing with the writer of that story.

“Who would think of giving us a prince like that? We were living so well before!”

“This is so unfair!”

“This writer has no heart. He’ll get what’s coming to him!”

“Now you will know what it is like to live with someone like that… you will live in our kingdom until you fix it!”

Amidst all the shouts and protests, the characters kidnapped the writer and dragged him into the story. There the astonished writer discovered how hard it was to put up with the prince’s shouting and hasty decisions. Because the more he was wrong, the angrier he got, and the more he was wrong again. The writer tried everything to calm him down, but the spell worked perfectly, and all he got was screams and punishments.

“What a foolish thing to do, inventing a spell just because I was angry that day. If I had written down the secret word or the way to reverse it, I could fix everything,” said the writer, “but I no longer control the story, let alone the prince’s mood…”

And, boy, did he not. That same day he was near the prince when his bad mood took over. As he looked for someone to unleash his fury on, he noticed the writer, who, scared to death, could only remember the words of an old freezing spell from one of his stories. Instantly, the prince was trapped in a huge block of ice and the writer was quickly captured by the guards. They left him there on the spot, in front of the prince, to receive his punishment after the block had melted.

But by then the prince’s anger had passed and that was the first time in years that one of his moods had not caused any problems. The prince was the first to be bothered by the silly things that he himself did when he lost his temper, and he was happy to have discovered a way to avoid them. Over the next few days he kept the writer by his side so that he could freeze the prince when his anger got to him. In a few weeks he learnt to control himself so as not to do or say anything when angry. That way, he managed to get his decisions right and the kingdom was once again a prosperous and happy place.

And what about the writer? Although he was happy to be famous in the new kingdom that the prince now governed so well, he realised that he had to fix many of the stories he had written while he was angry. He went back to his old desk, resolved to only write and do other important things when he was in a good mood.

Translated by Gemma Baily, Manchester Metropolitan University

Let's work on this story, now that is fresh on our minds!

A minute for thinking

Do you think that the prince’s case is unique case or do you think we all do things worse when we are angry? Why do you think this happens? If you had to do some work and you are in a bad mood, what do you think you should do? Are you able to control your anger? What do you do to achieve this, and how do you think you could do it better?

Let's talk!

Tell your child a funny story about a time when you acted out of anger and were totally wrong. You may have invented terrible punishments that you later had to forgive. As well as having fun with the situation, it can be a good time to explain the importance of knowing how to apologise when you are wrong, and for your child to understand how difficult it is to always get it right.

Why don't you try this?

Let's try and ‘‘get it right’’, by avoiding doing anything when we are very angry. It requires everyone’s help, so I propose keeping a few small ice cubes in the freezer ready. When someone at home gets too angry, run and get some ice and put it in their hand, and they can’t do or say anything until the ice melts. As well as being great fun, you are sure to calm things down and help everyone feels more comfortable.

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