Once upon a time, some animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of “a new world.” So they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all of the subjects.
The duck was excellent in swimming, in fact far better than his instructor, but he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also to drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he became only average in swimming.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming.
The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and a D in running.
The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there.
At the end of the year, an abnormal snake that could swim exceedingly well, and also run, climb and fly a little, had the highest average and was named valedictorian.
The ferrets stayed out of school in protest because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a mole and later joined the anteaters and the armadillos to start a successful private school.
Does this fable have a moral?
The word cliffhanger comes from cliffs. Duh. Cliffs are vertical, or nearly vertical, rocks that have been formed by erosion and weathering. There are lots of famous cliffs, but the first ones that come to my mind are the White Cliffs of Dover, probably because there was a popular World War II song about them that was part of my childhood, and also because they are on the historical English coastline.
When one thinks of cliffhangers, England and its gothic novels always come to mind. Cliffhangers are the kind of story, book or movie that uses suspense either at the end of an episode or a scene. A good example was the way the final episode of Game of Thrones, season 5, was done. Jon Snow was dead. Or was he? Those of us who sweated it out until season 6 was aired were never really sure. The writers used old-fashioned melodrama, suspense and uncertainty, and the audience was left as if hanging from a cliff in a state of tension and apprehension. And that’s a true cliffhanger.
This part of the blog will not be able to offer any nail-biting cliffhangers, but it will have classes in series, and I hope they will be interesting enough that you will want to come back and read what happens next, even if you don’t lose sleep anticipating the next chapter. Enjoy.