In which I share a story gift: "Pulling the Rope" : a tale for couples

Jim and I are often invited to tell this story as part of wedding ceremonies. It's adapted from a traditional American story collected by Pleasant de Spain in his book Sweet Land of Story.

Pulling the Rope : a traditional American story (retold)

Once upon a time, and it wasn’t so long ago, either, either, there was a girl.

You would never hear this girl say things like, “Oh, I could never lift that heavy thing.”

She would never say things like, “I’m just not sure what to do.”

And she would NEVER say things like, “Whatever you want is fine with me.”

No.

This girl would rather say things like, “Let me give you a hand with that.”

Or she would say things like, “I’m sure I can handle it.”

And she would often say things like, “You have my word on it.”

So that was okay.


There was also a boy.

You would never hear this boy say things like, “Why don’t we wait and find out?”

He would never say things like, “I think it would be too difficult.”

And he would NEVER say things like, “I don’t have time to help.”

No.

This boy would rather say things like, “This is my opinion.”

Or he would say things like, “I’m sure we can finish this by dinnertime.”

And he would often say things like, “You have my word on it.”

So that was okay.


As you might expect, the girl loved the boy. And the boy loved the girl.

And when they got old enough to marry each other, that’s what they did.

They took his wagon into town, hired the hall and the preacher, and a fiddler. They invited their friends, and their family. And they got married.

So that was okay.

On the way home, when they were driving home together in the wagon, the girl said to the boy, “I hope you realize that I intend to be in charge of our household. I’m as smart as you. I’m as strong as you. I will give the orders, and I expect you to do what I say.”

But they boy said, “Now, that’s not right. I’m as smart as you. I’m as strong as you. I should be the one in charge of the household.”

And that might have been their very first argument, right there, but the boy had a better idea.

“Let’s have a contest,” he suggested. “The winner of the contest will be in charge of our household.”

And the girl agreed.

So that was okay.

When they got home, the boy got a long, long rope out of the barn. He held on to one end of the rope, and threw the other end of the rope over the roof of the house. Then he showed the rope to his new wife.

“You take hold of one end of the rope, and pull. I will pull the other end of the rope. Whichever of us pulls the entire rope over the roof of the house will be the one to be in charge of our household.

And the girl agreed.

So that was okay.

She took hold of her end of the rope and pulled.

He took hold of his end of the rope and pulled.

She pulled strong and hard. So did he. They stayed there, pulling, for nearly an hour. They got very tired, but neither of them could pull the rope over the house.

Then the boy had another idea.

“I will stop pulling, and you will stop pulling. Then you can come to my side of the house, and I will show you something.”

So they stopped pulling, and she came over to his side of the house.

He handed her the rope.

“Take hold of the rope. And I will take hold of the rope also, right next to you. And then we will pull the rope…


…together.”

They did. The rope came sailing over the roof of the house and landed at their feet, with hardly any work at all.

“So,” said the boy, “this is what I propose: that we run our household the same way that we pulled the rope.”

“Together?” she asked.

“Together,” he said.

And that is what they did. They did the work, they cooked the meals, and they raised their family together.

And they are still doing things together, to this very day.

And that is okay!


Comments

  1. good one. i just read it to my man. he smiled really big at the end.

    ~lytha

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great stories. I really enjoyed them and I am looking forward to reading some more. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Desiree

    ReplyDelete

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