A simple fairy tale meant to deliver a lesson on kindness to some first graders received such an overwhelming response that it got published as a book and made into a musical performance.
Talking to The Epoch Times, author Lyudmila Orel—a speech therapist who lives in Ukraine—shares why her “Lotus Fairy Tale,” which was initially written for children, could even resonate with adults and inspire people of all ages.
The fairy tale focuses on the life journey of a little lotus seed buried deep below the waters of a mysterious Magic Lake. The seed’s hardship-laden path entails winning over strange creatures to enable itself to emerge from the murky waters as a magnificent lotus flower. However, this remarkable transformation is possible only through bearing in mind what the Great White Lotus Flower had taught: the “Three Treasures” of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
Orel said the reason why her simple fairy tale touched hearts across the world is a “powerful energy message of the eternal laws of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.”
“These ‘Three Treasures’ find a response in the souls of people of any age. Everyone needs them. Everyone should have hope to correct what’s going wrong,” said Orel. “In our life, like in a fairy tale, the Great Lotus is waiting for everyone and hopes that we will be able to improve ourselves throughout our lives.”
Orel, 47, who has worked in the medical field for 12 years, said she received promising positive feedback on the Lotus Fairy Tale, which was first released in the Russian language in 2013 with 10,000 copies and is currently available online in 34 languages, with three languages in the final stage of translation.
She recalled that one reader from Odessa, a city in Ukraine, told her that this fairy tale is about the “most important thing” in life. “This is not a children’s story. This is a story for adults. It is important for all adults to read it,” the reader said.
While a man from Armenia said “This is a story about me!”
The ‘Three Treasures’
Talking more about the “Three Treasures” mentioned in her fairy tale, Orel shared that this moral compass is actually rooted in the Falun Dafa ancient spiritual discipline, which she has been practicing since 2001.
Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, is a self-improvement practice that consists of five sets of meditative exercises, and moral teachings based on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. The practice earned huge popularity in the late 1990s and was recognized for its immense health benefits, eventually spreading to over 100 countries; currently, more than 100 million people from all walks of life practice this peaceful meditative system.
Orel used to suffer from severe spinal pain due to intervertebral hernias and was also diagnosed with chronic tonsillitis. Due to her financial constraints, Orel didn’t have many treatment options to choose from. She decided to go for physiotherapy exercises, which led to her finding Falun Dafa.
During a physiotherapy session, her instructor told her that one of the movements she was doing was a “qigong pose” and encouraged her to look for a qigong practice if it gives her some relief. Three months later, Orel saw an announcement on the street about a free qigong practice called Falun Dafa.
Orel said that through practicing the exercises, she gradually regained her health. She also learned to look at things differently, in a positive light, while encountering problems.
“We should not look for someone to blame for our problems and should try to remember that there are almost no chances to change others,” Orel said. “But by changing ourselves, we naturally change our environment to a certain degree.”
A Concrete Plan for Self-Improvement
Orel decided to choose the lotus flower as the main character of her story when her friend who teaches in a school asked her if she could plan a moral lesson for children. She explained that the lotus not only symbolizes purity and mercy in the East but is also a symbol of self-improvement. She hopes that this fairy tale encourages discussions between parents, educators, and children on how a strong moral foundation can help anyone when faced with difficult situations.
“I believe that when a person has a solid foundation of moral values since childhood, they have a tool to distinguish between good and evil, get an opportunity to live a worthy life, not to lose oneself, and to resist temptations,” Orel said.
Irina Vetryak, the director of the Odessa Children’s Theater, staged a musical performance in 2013 based on the Lotus Fairy Tale and invited Orel to interact with some children actors, aged 5 to 7 years old, over a surprise tea party.
“We drank tea, talked, and then made origami lotuses,” Orel said. “And at the end of the meeting, the children themselves turned into small lotuses for a while—they sat in a lotus position and tried to calm their minds, to feel the peace inside.”
Vetryak told Orel how the children underwent a change in behavior and school performance.
There was one interesting story that stood out from the rest: A 16-year-old actor who commented after the performance, “Have you noticed that I stopped stuttering?”
As the moral principles portrayed in the fairy tale are also applicable to real-life situations, some parents have even created their own versions of the story.
Orel recalled how one mother shared that her daughter’s behavior was turning slightly cunning. To correct the daughter’s behavior, the mother told her child, “Where is such a behavior accepted? In the murky world! This is the tip of the cunning Toad!”
In daily life, Orel often tells parents who are complaining about their children’s behavior to make a list and stick it to a refrigerator. Orel believes that children reflect their parents’ behavior; thus, her aim to list out unacceptable habits is first for the parents to work on making changes in themselves before dealing with their children’s behavior.
“At first, the parents often freeze, then they laugh. Those who try to follow that, the list becomes a concrete plan for self-improvement,” she said. “It really works.”
Apart from the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, Orel suggests there are many other important values within each family that have been passed down from the older generations, such as “sincerity, openness, selflessness, willingness to help, respect, hard work.” The list goes on.
For instance, Orel said her parents believed in living a life of honesty and with a heart that was not jealous of others. Her dad taught her, “Live honestly and you will sleep peacefully.”
“It is very important to pass these values on to the children,” she said. “I am very grateful to my parents that I grew up in such an environment.”
Orel hopes that her fairy tale and the “Three Treasures” mentioned in her story will help everyone in their lives.
“We, our loved ones, and this world need these invaluable qualities very much,” Orel said.