The story: God is trying to hide happiness in a place where the devil can’t get to it. God tries hiding it in the highest mountain on Earth. The Devil finds it. God then tries burying it in the deepest ocean trench. The Devil still finds it. Finally, God hides happiness the only place he can think to hide it: The human heart. The devil has since been unable to touch it. The key to happiness is within.
Informant was a 19 year old male student who I chatted with during our Russian Modern Art class. He’s a Film and Television Production Major.
Collector: Who told this story to you?
Informant: My Dad, and his grandmother told it to him.
Collector: What was the occasion? Just general good advice?
Informant: It was during a time in my life when I was somewhat melancholy, my Dad told me this to ease my mind. At the time, I was trying to find happiness through external means: Other people, excessive academic performance, and material things like fancy clothes and so on. I was looking for happiness everywhere except within.
Collector: I’m guessing this story meant a lot to you, correct?
Informant: Yea, well, the thought that the key to one’s contentment lies within is an interesting one, and very uplifting. It means that one does not necessarily need to rely on other people, objects, or institutions to find happiness in one’s life. All too often, a reason a person says they aren’t happy is because they feel like external influences on their life reject them. This philosophy stresses the opposite–the need to reject external influences before they reject you. Not only is it a simple piece of wisdom, therefore, but one that goes against traditional expectations.
I thought this story was very inspirational, and whether or not the grandmother heard it from someone else or just made it up, it still has a great message to be passed on to future generations. Advice is usually given down in form of a story, which I believe is because people are more likely to sit down and listen to a narrative than a lecture. It’s an indirect way of telling people how they should approach their problems without being pushy.