The Shiny Gold Statue:
a Cautionary Tale
Awards are good, because they can amplify big ideas with the power to change lives. But they’re only good if your goal is doing good, not just floating your ego, putting yourself on a pedestal, or taking a short-cut to glory. Awards also reward the unexpected. So instead of an article, here’s a children’s story.
The Shiny Gold Statue: a Cautionary Tale
Words by Josh Bryer, freelance creative.
Illustration by Luci Everett from the Jacky Winter Group.
Once there were two smart kids who lived in a very small town called Blank Page. Sometimes it scared them, but mostly they were used to it. And almost always, they were desperate to find some gold.
One could draw, and the other could write. So one day, they put their pens together and made a treasure map. First, they drew the obstacles they’d have to overcome. A sea of doubt. A mountain of resistance. And a valley of hopelessness. Then right at the end, they drew their prize: a shiny gold statue.
Soon after, they set off to swim the sea of doubt. It was big and cold and full of niggly little bottom feeders who snapped at them, and made them wonder why they were even doing it in the first place. All they could think about was their shiny gold statue. But whenever they did, they swam in circles and their arms and legs grew tired.
‘I’ve got an idea,’ said the kid who could draw. ‘Let’s picture getting to the shore first, then worry about the shiny gold statue later.’
The other kid agreed, so they just swam as hard as they could, and soon they made it across the sea of doubt to a nice little sandy beach. Here, they found themselves looking up at the mountain of resistance. It was big and stony, and so high that wispy clouds covered the top of it. But they knew they had to get going, so they started to climb.
The going was tough. The higher they climbed, the more the forces above them tried to beat them down, and what seemed like a clear pathway became a wall of sheer rock.
It wasn’t long before their minds wandered back to their shiny gold statue. But whenever they thought about it, the way up got even steeper. ‘I’ve got an idea,’ said the kid who could write. ‘Instead of worrying about the statue being out of our reach, let’s talk about the good we can do with it.’
The other kid agreed. So they chatted about how their statue could shine a golden light on all their pictures and words until the whole world could see them. And the next thing they knew, they were standing on the summit of the peak.
They smiled, but not for long: stretching before them, was the valley of hopelessness,a vast canyon littered with white bones clutching long-rusted statues.
‘I don’t know if I can go on,’ said the kid that could draw.
‘Me neither,’ said the kid that could write.
And with that, they both slumped to the ground, exhausted—and closed their eyes. Just as they were about to nod off, a big SCREEEEECH awoke them. Up in the sky, was an eagle. And in its claws, glinting in the sun, was their shiny gold statue.
‘This is it!’ they cried, ‘We don’t even need to cross the valley now!’
Then they picked up some rocks and started throwing them at the eagle. Eventually, one of them hit—and with a SCREEEECH, the eagle dropped their shiny gold statue, which landed with a THUNK! on the head of the kid who could draw, who stumbled backwards into the kid who could write, and sent both of them tumbling backwards down the mountain of resistance, where – battered and bruised (but mostly inside) – they were swept up by the high tide and carried back across the sea of doubt, then dumped right back where they started again: at Blank Page.
‘Wow,’ said the kid that could write.
‘Ow,’ said the kid that could draw, ‘Um, this time, instead of a treasure map, how about we just make something good, with the power to change lives?’
The other kid agreed, and two years later – when the project was done – they were walking down the beach in Blank Page, when their shiny gold statue washed up at their feet.
Josh Bryer is a Sydney based CD and writer who is available for freelance.
You can see more of Luci's illustrations at jackywinter.com/artists/luci-everett