Friday, February 15, 2019

Meeting the Elephant

Mandy looked up from her knitting when Jolena, Charlotte and Mariah came into the room.

"Mandy, we have a question we thought you might help us with," Charlotte said. The other two dolls nodded. "We celebrate each other's special holidays. All of you celebrated Hanukkah with me, and then Mariah and I celebrated Christmas with you, Veronika, Jolena and Billy."

"Yes," Mariah said, "and we all have special holidays in April. We know we will celebrate those special days together, too."

"We know that all these special days have something to do with what we believe about God," Jolena said. "What we don't understand is, why don't all dolls believe the same thing?"

Mandy took off her glasses and put them on top of her head, so they knew she would have a lot to say.

"I can give you my opinion," Mandy said, "but this is something that no one knows for sure. If you asked a question about science (sigh-ence)," Mandy said clearly for them, "I could give you an answer that I know, or we could look it up and find out. This isn't science, though; it's something called religion." She pronounced it again carefully for them, "Ree-lih-juhn. It isn't about what we know for sure and can prove, but what we believe to be true."

Mandy thought for a minute. "I think the best way to explain what I think is to tell you a story I read once," she said.

The dolls love stories, so they settled down to listen to Mandy.

Here is the story Mandy told the other dolls:

Once upon a time, in the Land of the Dolls, there was a magical elephant. All the dolls in the land wanted to find out about the magical elephant. They came from all over the Land of the Dolls to learn what they could. They brought their sleep masks with them, because they had heard that no one was allowed to see this wonderful being.

Only one doll at a time was allowed to go into the room where the magical elephant was, so they waited patiently for their turns. (Dolls are good at being patient.) When each doll went into the room, she or he had to feel around to find the elephant.
Some of the dolls touched the elephant's side. "This feels like a wall," they would say. "The magical elephant is like a wall."

Some of the dolls touched one of the tusks of the wonderful creature. "This is very sharp, like a knife," they said. "The magical elephant is like a knife."

Other dolls found the trunk first. "Ooooo, the creature is like a snake," they would say to themselves.

Some of the other dolls found one of the legs. Those dolls decided that the elephant was like a tree.

Still more dolls found the tail. "Clearly, the magical elephant is a kind of rope," they said.

Other dolls touched the ear. "This creature must be some kind of fan," they thought.

There were even some dolls who felt around in the room and never found the elephant at all. They said, "I don't think there really is a magical elephant. I couldn't find one."

Each doll was sure she or he knew the truth and that the other dolls were wrong.

Most dolls like to discuss things, but they don't like to argue, because they know they are supposed to set a good example for the children they live with, so they decided that it was fine that they all believed different things.

This made all the dolls happy, even though they didn't know everything there was to know about the magical elephant.

"So in a way, all the dolls were right," Jolena said.

"They just didn't know all of it,"Mariah said, "so they thought the others were wrong."

"I see the point of the story," Charlotte said. "The magical elephant is like God, and dolls believe different things because they only see part of what God is like."

"Yes," Mandy said, "but that is just what I believe. We all experience God through our own religions, and some dolls don't experience God at all, but there is no way to be sure that what you know in your heart as true is really the whole story."
"Why is that?" Mariah asked.

"We can prove many things," Mandy explained. "There are things we know that help us know ahead of time what will happen," she said.

"This is where science comes in," Mandy continued. "We use science to learn about the world, and we can use what we have learned to know within a few days when it will rain, or what medicine will cure an illness, or what time the sun will rise in the morning."

"What we know in our hearts but can't prove is called belief," Mandy said. "That's what religion is. If someone believes differently from you, it doesn't make what you believe wrong, just different."

"I think things that are different are interesting," Jolena said, "but I like going to my church on Sunday."

"Yes," said Mandy, "So do I. But Mariah goes to a place called a mosque (mosk) on Friday, and Charlotte goes to a place called a synagogue (sin-a-gog) on Saturday. What I believe is that we are all learning about and worshiping the same God, whether in church, in a mosque or in a synagogue, and the familiar words and music help us with that."
"I like going to the mosque," Mariah said. "I like to pray there with others who believe the way I do."

"I like my synagogue," said Charlotte. "I learn something new every time."

"What about the dolls in the story who never found the elephant? Do some dolls not believe in God?" Jolena asked. 

"Some don't, and I think that's fine. It's something each doll has to decide alone," Mandy said. "No one can make you believe something you don't. You may change how you believe because of what happens to you in life, but your beliefs are your own. Most dolls believe in The Doll Code, though. That's the rule we have that we must be kind to each other, look after dolls in need and set a good example for the children in our lives."
"I've learned we need to set a good example for each other, too," Mariah said.
Mariah and Jolena stood up, and the three dolls got ready to go. Mandy looked around at them. "I have a wonderful doll family," she added with a sigh. "You prove it to me every day, so that's not a belief; that's a fact!"

Mandy: Götz Happy Kidz Katie 2015
Charlotte: Götz Happy Kidz Anna in Paris
Jolena: Götz Happy Kidz Lena in Aspen
Mariah: Götz Happy Kidz Mariah
Veronika: Götz Classic Kidz Vroni
Billy: Götz Happy Kidz Lily at London
Magical Elephant: Himself

Special note from the author: Mandy's story is based on the parable of the six blind men and the elephant, which originated in ancient times on the Indian subcontinent. It was popularized in the English-speaking world through a poem by John Godfrey Saxe.

Note: No dolls were harmed during production of this blog. All dolls shown are Götz Happy Kidz or Classic Kidz. If you like these stories and are willing, please make a donation of any amount to a charity that supports pediatric cancer, such as CURE Childhood Cancer or St. Baldrick's Foundation.
"The Doll's Storybook" is not affiliated with Gotz Dolls USA Inc. or Götz Puppenmanufaktur International GmbH.

Watch for the next story each Friday afternoon at 2:00 PM Pacific Time.

Copyright © 2019 by Peggy Stuart

Friday, February 8, 2019

Bounce or Splat?

Jolena and Billy both like games and other activities where they have to move their whole bodies. They like to go for hikes or play outside in the snow, but it is very cold today. They don't want their vinyl to freeze. They will have to play indoors.

They have decided to play with a ball. They have a tennis ball and a place where they are allowed to play with it.
The kitchen has a nice, hard floor, so the ball will bounce. The dolls are small, and the cabinets are very big, so the ball won't go very high unless they throw it up high, and they know not to do that. They don't want to hit something that might break or make a mess.

Fly-swatter hockey is a favorite game.

They use fly swatters for hockey sticks, and a plastic food container for the goal.

They also like to play basketball, a game where you bounce the ball on the floor and try to get close to the basket, so you can toss the ball in. The plastic container will make a good basket, but they will need to put it on something high up.

"You know," said Billy. "I've been wondering what makes the ball bounce."

"That's an interesting idea," Jolena agreed. "If you drop an egg, it goes splat and makes a mess. If you drop a glass on the floor, it usually breaks, and that's hard to clean up, too. I wonder why the ball bounces instead of breaking."

"I think that's a Mandy question," Billy suggested. 
"I think you're right. Let's go ask her," Jolena agreed.
The two dolls went to find Mandy. They found her in the living room. She was reading a book.

"Mandy, we have a question," Jolena began.

"Yes," Billy agreed. "We were playing with the ball, and we wondered why the ball bounces. Maybe it has a kangaroo inside!" Then Billy giggled, because he knew a kangaroo wouldn't fit inside the tennis ball.

Mandy smiled. She is used to Billy's silliness. The dolls think Billy's silliness is fun. Then Mandy took off her reading glasses and put them on her head.
"I think this will be a long answer," Billy told Jolena, as they climbed up on the chair to sit on each side of Mandy.

"I'm glad you brought the ball along, Billy," Mandy said. "It will help me explain. First, try to squeeze the ball between your hands. What does it feel like?"

Billy squeezed the ball as hard as he could.

"It sort of bends if you push hard," Billy said, handing the ball to Jolena.

"Yes, it squishes, but when you let go, it goes back into shape," Jolena agreed.
"When you bounce a ball, the speed of the ball puts energy into it as it heads toward the floor," Mandy explained.

"The floor stops the speed and the ball squishes out of shape where it hits the floor," Mandy continued. "Then the ball goes back into shape again. That going back into shape pushes the ball back into the air, so the ball bounces. It's like when you bend your knees before you jump."

"Then why do some things break instead of bouncing?" Jolena asked. "If you drop an egg, it doesn't bounce. It just goes splat and makes a mess."
"Ah-ha!" Mandy exclaimed. "I can drop an egg, and it won't go splat and make a mess. It won't bounce like a ball, but it but it won't go splat."

Jolena and Billy looked at each other. They didn't think this was possible.
"Let's go back into the kitchen," Mandy suggested. "I'll show you, and it will help you understand why some things break and some don't, and why some things bounce."
Mandy went to the refrigerator. She found a carton of eggs and also a little dish with some eggs in it. 

Billy and Jolena helped Mandy take all the eggs out and put them up on the counter. Mandy opened the carton. "These eggs are raw," she said. "What happens if you drop one on the floor?"

"That's easy! It will go splat and make a mess," Billy said.
"Yes, so I don't have to show you," Mandy agreed, "and that's good, because then we would have to clean it up, and the egg would be wasted." Mandy showed them the little dish with more eggs in it. "These eggs are boiled. They were cooked in their shells," she said.

Then Mandy took one of the eggs from the little dish. She stood up and dropped it. It didn't bounce, but it didn't go splat, either.

Then Mandy picked up the egg. The shell was cracked where it hit the counter. 

Mandy held the egg so that Billy and Jolena could see the cracks in the egg.

"See?" Mandy said. "It didn't bounce, but it didn't go splat, either."

Next she carefully removed the shell. "Now watch this," she said standing up. Mandy took up and dropped the egg on the counter again. It gave a tiny bounce and then stopped at her feet.

"Can you guess why the boiled egg didn't go splat?" she asked.
"Well," Billy said, "cooking the egg must have changed it."

"Yes," said Jolena, "instead of being liquid, the boiled egg is rubbery," she suggested. "The liquid egg can't keep its shape, so it goes splat, but the cooked egg is more like the ball."

"That's right," agreed Mandy. "The cooked egg mostly keeps its shape, but not enough to keep the shell from breaking. That's because the shell is brittleit's both hard and thin, so it cracks or breaks instead of bending, and the cooked egg can still be squished a little, like the ball. The boiled egg squishes when it hits the counter, but then it goes back into shape."
"The ball bounces much better, though," Jolena said. 
"Yes," Mandy agreed. "The egg is rubbery, and it's not as hard as the ball. It's softer. When it goes back into shape, it doesn't have as much energy. That energy is what makes the ball bounce."
"The ball is better to play with because it bounces nicely, too," Billy suggested. "The egg bounced to one side, not back up."
"Is that because the egg isn't round?" Jolena wanted to know.

"Very good!" Mandy said. "Yes, you can guess where a round ball will go when it bounces, but a different shape can go in different directions, depending on what part of the shape hits the floor."

Then Mandy took another cooked egg out of the dish. "I want to show you another fun thing about eggs," she said, handing the egg to Billy. "Give the cooked egg a spin, Billy," she said. Billy put the egg on the counter and twisted it quickly.

The egg spun quickly around and around on the counter, finally slowing to a stop. "It spins almost like a top," Billy said.
Then Mandy took a raw egg out of the carton and gave it to Jolena. "Now watch what the raw egg does. Give it a spin, Jolena," Mandy said.
Jolena put the egg on the counter and twisted it quickly. The egg turned very slowly. It didn't spin much at all.

"It sort of wobbles," Jolena observed.
"It doesn't spin well, does it?" Billy added.
"Why do you suppose that is?" Mandy asked the dolls. "Why does the cooked egg spin fast and the raw egg just wobble?"
"It must have something to do with why the raw egg splats if you drop it and the cooked egg doesn't splat," Billy suggested.

"Yes," Jolena agreed, "because the raw egg is sort of liquid inside, and the cooked egg is solid."

"Maybe the solid inside just keeps going when you spin the egg, but the liquid just swishes around?" suggested Billy.
"You are both right." Mandy said. "The cooked egg is solid, so doesn't move inside the shell. The uncooked egg sloshes around inside the shell, almost like water in a bottle. The sloshing keeps the egg from spinning evenly and fast. You are very smart dolls," Mandy added, "and now you know how to tell whether the eggs are cooked or not, even if the cooked eggs are in the carton and the raw eggs are in the little dish."

"One more think I want to know," said Jolena. "Why do things fall when you drop them? Why don't they go up, instead of down?"

"Yes," said Billy. "I was wondering about that, too."

"Well," Mandy said, "I think you've learned enough for one day. We'll have a chat about it later on."

With that, Mandy got down off the kitchen counter, washed off the boiled egg she had removed from its shell, and put all of the eggs back into the refrigerator, while Jolena and Billy used some cleaner to wash the counter, because they had been up there with their shoes. Then Mandy went back into the living room, put her glasses back on her nose and picked up with her reading where she had left off.

"Tomorrow, I think I need to read up on gravity," Mandy said to herself.

Jolena: Götz Happy Kidz Lena in Aspen
Billy: Götz Happy Kidz Lily of London
Mandy: Götz Happy Kidz Katie 2015

Game ideas came from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls.

Note: No dolls were harmed during production of this blog. All dolls shown are Götz Happy Kidz or Classic Kidz. If you like these stories and are willing, please make a donation of any amount to a charity that supports pediatric cancer, such as Cure Childhood Cancer or St. Baldrick's Foundation.
"The Doll's Storybook" is not affiliated with Gotz Dolls USA Inc. or Götz Puppenmanufaktur International GmbH.
Watch for the next story each Friday afternoon at 2:00 PM Pacific Time.

Copyright © 2019 by Peggy Stuart

Meeting the Elephant

Mandy looked up from her knitting when Jolena, Charlotte and Mariah came into the room. "Mandy, we have a question we thought you...