“Here it is,” said Irene, guiding his fingers to where she was holding the thin, shimmering strand.
“I feel nothing!” he exclaimed.
Irene looked at him, sad and solemn. “And so you still do not believe me. But I do feel it. And aren’t you glad? I found you in that cave, and brought you out, and I couldn’t have done it without the thread.”
Sometime later, Irene led Curdie to see her great-great grandmother. But Curdie could neither see nor hear her. Sure that Irene was mocking, he stormed off home. “I’m obliged to you for getting me out of that hole, Princess. But I wish you hadn’t made a fool of me afterwards!”
“What does it all mean, Grandmother?” sobbed Irene.
“It means, my love, that Curdie is not yet able to see some things…in the meantime, you must be content to be misunderstood for awhile. We are all of us very anxious to be understood. But there is one thing much more necessary: to understand other people.”
(Retold from The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald)
Each time I heard the above lines spoken onstage, it was well-nigh impossible not to think of that famous prayer: