It was July 29, 1878, when I went a fishin’ a little south of Montana to Battle Lake, Wyo. I remember that day in particular cuz there was a total eclipse of the sun. I seen some fellers there from New Jersey what came to Battle Lake to watch the eclipse from the continental divide, and to do some fishin’ as well. One feller separated hisself from the group, looking perty glum.
I meandered over to him and innerduced myself. “Hi friend,” I said. “Name’s Buscrat”.
He looked up with sad eyes. “Oh, hi,” he said. “Name’s Tom.”
We got to talking and I nudged Tommy to tell me about what was eatin’ at him. He told about a lotta struggles he had trying to make sumpin’ work regarding the subject of electricity. He seemed perty discouraged, cuz he wanted to be the first to succeed but kept failin’ at it.
I tried to cheer him up with a story. Since he was discussin’ the subject of electricity, I told him about another feller from Pennsylvania what wanted to be prove sumpin’ about electricity back in 1750.
“There was a feller named Benny,” I said. “He was discouraged about failing, so I gave him a kite I made and encouraged him to relax and have some fun occasionally. I also gave him a key to my cabin in Montana and told him to visit me any time. Then I told him that while he was at it, mebbe he oughtta try flying the kite in a thunderstorm and hang the key from the kite string and set it in a jar.”
“Why should I try that?” Benny asked me. “What if it don’t work?”
“Problem is folks don’t try stuff out cuz they’re afraid they’re gonna fail,” I said. “I say ‘try to fail’. Worst thing can happen is ya figger a way it won’t work, but ya gots a better chance a succeedin’ if ya try. So try to fail, and just mebbe you’ll just succeed a time er two.”
“I remember the story of Benjamin Franklin,” Tommy said. “Try to fail, huh?”
“Yessir,” I said. “Ain’t nobody been real successful by not tryin’ and failin’ a buncha times first. The road to success is paved with failure.”
“I have tried and failed many times trying to make a light bulb stay lit for longer than a few minutes,” Tommy said.
“I’ve used cotton and linen thread, wood splints, papers coiled in various ways, all kinds of stuff, but nothing works very long. I don’t want people to remember me as a failure that tried stupid things all the time.”
Then I gave Tommy my bamboo fishin’ pole. “I want ya to have this fishin’ pole and remember what we talked about,” I said. “Try to fail. Don’t stop at nuthin til ya’ve failed at it first. Folks will remember ya as a foolish failure only if ya quit. But I gots a feelin’ you won’t be remembered as a failure.”
Well, a year later I read in the newspaper that Thomas Edison invented a light bulb that would last over 1,200 hours. It was made of a carbonized bamboo filament.
Yep, some folks are remembered by their successes, but I also like to remember ‘em and admire ‘em fer their many failures that led to their success.
Buscrat’s Fables are simple stories that teach a moral. Buscrat welcomes you to visit buscratsfables.com for more fables, and welcomes your comments, suggestions and requests.