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'Folasi's Protection Box: A Political Fairy Tale' from Fierro Consulting: Inspiring People. Growing Organizations. Strengthening Communities.'s Blog

Folasi's Protection Box: A Political Fairy Tale

Dec 21, 2015
Category: Group dynamics 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

There once was a little girl named Folasi; she was lively and loved to sing, dance, run and breathe. She built a home for herself in the forest. It was a cardboard box with cut-out windows decorated with colorful paint and leaves. To her, it was a mansion. On the days in which a soft breeze would come through, she could sit in her home and feel protected.


Folasi invited her friends one by one, to see her home in the forest.

When Sata came, they sang magical melodies that imitated the birds. The birds gathered around them to teach them new melodies.

When Dan came, they danced to imitate the leaves and the tall trees began to sway with them.

When Peta came, they painted from morning to nightfall. The colors of the forest became vivid: the misty brown of the ground, and the deep dark brown of the tree trunks, the yellow-green of new leaves and deeper green of older ones, the light blue of the afternoon sky and the yellow, red, and purple shades of the sunset.

When Rara came, they ran from one edge of the forest to the other and squirrels and rabbits would follow them. Rara ran fast ahead of Folasi and it was hard for her to keep up. They would lie in the grass and explode in laughter as their chests rose and fell, out of precious breath.

When Bibi came, they sat still in the middle of a circle of trees and breathed in deeply the clean air. They would turn one at a time in the direction of each tree to see and feel the uniqueness of each one. In the silence, the trees whispered in their ears. “Come play when it rains,” Mr. Maple would say. “Never stop playing,” Mrs. Sequoia would say.

After all her friends had visited, Folasi decided to go back to her home in the forest alone to plan a way to keep her happiness forever. She went back to the forest for five days.

On the first day, she fell asleep and had a dream. A huge brown goat came and wiped out her home in the forest. She woke up crying and relieved; it was just a dream. Then Folasi realized that Sata’s skin was brown like the goat and she decided it must have been a sign. Sata was no longer welcome to her home in the forest.

On the second day, Folasi was scared to have another bad dream, but she was bored with no one to sing, dance, play, run, or breathe with. So she closed all the windows and doors to feel safe and fell fast asleep. This time she dreamt that a strong wind swirled in circles and lifted up the home in the direction of the setting sun. She chased the home trying to catch it, but it flew faster than she could run and the sun was blinding her. Folasi woke up frightened, but relieved that her home was still safe. However, she then realized that the wind in her dream blew her house in the same direction that Rara ran the day they played and she could not keep up. It must be a sign. Rara would not be welcomed back.

And so it was the following three days as well. Day after day, Folasi had a bad dream about her home being destroyed. She saw similarities between each threat and each friend and one by one, she decided she would not let them come back.

On the seventh day, Folasi came back to the forest. She was confident with her plan to protect her happiness. She was satisfied and thanked the trees for their guidance. She slept again.

Now that she felt safe, Folasi had beautiful dreams. She dreamt of long days singing in her home and fun days painting. She dreamt of dancing with the trees and breathing in their love. She slept several days and nights.

Then she woke to a cold shiver. She reached for a blanket, but there was none.

She groggily opened her eyes and was terrified by what she saw. The colors of the forest were all gone. The leaves had disappeared and the branches were bare. A cold freezing breeze came through. A layer of snow covered the ground. Suddenly she was cold, frightened, and alone. She couldn’t run because the strong wind would blow her home away, and she was too sad to dance. Her paints had dried up and her voice was hoarse.

 Folasi Winter 

All she could do, Folasi decided, was to sit and breathe.

“Maybe Mr. Maple can tell me what is going on,” she thought.

It was hard to sit and breathe. The wind was cold, bitterness in her nostrils. Breathing was all she could do. Determined, Folasi sat. She took three breaths and asked Mr. Maple for guidance.

“Mr. Maple! Mr. Maple! Can you help me? I had all these signs and I followed them to protect my home. But then I woke up and all the leaves are gone. And one small breath of this strong cold wind will destroy my home. What shall I do?”

Mr. Maple did not reply.

She breathed ten more breaths. Deeper, deeper still, ten more, twenty more.

Finally Mr. Maple began to talk as if awoken from a deep dream.

“My-ch-ild. It is not time for questions. It is time for sleep. Go to your home outside of the forest until the season of the winds ceases.”

Folasi cried, and cried, and cried. She thought her happiness in the forest was gone forever.

She started walking in the snow towards her brick home, shivering and crying. It began to snow and she got colder and colder. She decided to seek refuge in Mrs. Sequoia’s hollow trunk.

“Hello Mrs. Sequoia! Can I come inside of your trunk? It’s cold!” she asked.

She heard no answer, but stepped inside anyway.

Slowly, the shelter helped. The trunk was wide enough for her to sit. The sides of the trunk hugged her softly. She decided to breathe deeper. The snow outside blew stronger as a storm rose. She felt warmer and safe.

At a strong gust of wind, the trunk swayed gently. Folasi heard a loud yawn.

“Ahhhhh! Hello little one! What are you doing here?” said Mrs. Sequoia. Her voice was groggy, but soft, strong, and tender.

“Hello Mrs. Sequoia! I came inside because it’s too cold. Can I stay please?”

“What happened to you little one?” said Mrs. Sequoia.

Folasi told Mrs. Sequoia about her box and her futile attempts of protecting it. The unexpected cold winds came and sabotaged her home anyway. She explained how Mr. Maple told her to leave. Folasi thought her fun times in the forest were lost forever.

“Oh! That cranky old buzzard!” said Mrs. Sequoia. “He certainly could have explained some things to you! When he is sleeping he cares about no one but himself! Of course you can stay, my child, and there is no need to cry. The cold, the ‘season of the winds,’ as Mr. Maple called it, only lasts a few months. Then, you see, the spring will come again, and before you know it, all the things you loved about the forest will be back. The birds, the warm sun, the leaves, the heat of the ground, it will all be back in no time! Nothing is lost; it is simply hidden to the eye.”

Folasi perked her head for the first time in hours. “You mean I will be able to play in the forest again?”

“Of course my sweetie!” Mrs. Sequoia laughed a deep belly laugh. The whole tree swayed with the contagious chuckle. Folasi laughed too.

“Well, what shall I do now?” Folasi asked.

“As soon as the storm settles, go to your home outside the forest,” said Mrs. Sequoia, “and go back to your friends. They are not enemies. If you had kept your friends, you would have been safer in the forest. Instead, by pushing them away, you are now caught in the storm...alone. You see my dear, with friends and loved ones near, you can weather any storm: the storms you expect and the ones that surprise you in the night. Love is the greatest gift of life. It keeps you safe.”

“But don’t I have to protect the things I love?”

“Awwww….many make this mistake, you see, my dear, protection is like the river’s water. Water must flow freely to keep its quality. If you trap it, it becomes stagnant. When water doesn’t flow, it becomes a swamp and breeds disease…with those nasty mosquitoes that bite you! Love must flow freely. It is the paradox of life: you lost your home when you tried to protect it!

Love and stay open through the storms and you will always be protected. When you love, you may be hurt, but no real harm can come to you. One may betray you, but ten more will honor you. As the flow of the river that changes course, some drops stay in the original path, while others join the new adventure.

For now, rest my child. I will wake you when it is safe for you to walk home.”

Folasi slept a warm sleep, protected by her friend, Mrs. Sequoia. The following spring, she and her friends came back to the forest and built a home of sticks and logs to prepare for the winter. That year, they played in the forest even in the snow.

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