Scenes from Calypso’s Cave
A brief entry in a mid-nineteenth-century collection of English fairy tales tells of a Devonshire man to whom the fairies had given an inexhaustible barrel of ale. Year after year the liquor ran freely. Then one day the man, curious to know the cause of this extraordinary power, removed the cork from the bung hold and looked into the cask; it was full of cobwebs. When the spigot next was turned, the ale ceased to flow. The moral is this: the gift is lost in self-consciousness. To count, measure, reckon value, or seek the cause of a thing, is to step outside the circle, to cease being "all of a piece" with the flow of gifts and become, instead, one part of the whole reflecting upon another part. Understanding what a child offers in a classroom conversation as "their opinion" might be intended well.