Mirror Mirror – Do You Dare to Look?

As you may know, I was in beautiful Barcelona last week, enjoying the people, food and scenery!  What a city!
During my talk at the ICF Spain Conference, I told a story that is new to me.  It’s a story called ‘The Magic Mirror’.

This story really captured my imagination and my heart.  I think you’ll love it!  I found it on the webiste storiestogrowby.com and is retold by Elaine Lindy.  I want to share it with you here.

The Magic Mirror 

IT WAS PROCLAIMED throughout the kingdom of
Granada that the king had decided to marry. First,
the news was first told to the court barber, then
to the night watchmen, and then to the oldest
women in the city.

The barber told all his customers,
who again told all their friends. The night
watchmen, in crying the hour, proclaimed the news
in a loud voice, so that all the maidens were kept
awake by thinking of the news. By day, the old
women constantly reminded the young that the king
had decided to marry.

The question was posed, “How will the
king choose a wife?” To which the barber replied:
“To find a worthy woman, I am afraid I shall have
great trouble.”

“What, you?” exclaimed all of them.
“What have you got to do with providing the king
with a wife?”

“I am the only man permitted to rub
the royal features,” said he. “And what’s more, I
have a magic mirror. If any woman who is not
thoroughly good looks into the mirror, the
blemishes on her character will appear as so many
spots on its glossy surface.”

“Is this one of the conditions?”
asked all.

“That is the only condition,” replied
the barber, placing his thumbs in the armholds of
his waistcoat and looking very wise.

“Is there no limit as to age?” they
again inquired.

“Any woman from eighteen years
upwards is eligible,” said the possessor of the

“Then you will have every woman in
Granada claiming the right to be queen!” all

“But they will have to justify their
claim,” said he. “Each woman will have to gaze
into the mirror with me by her side.”

The one condition imposed on those
who wanted to become Queen of Granada was made
known. Many laughed, as may naturally be supposed,
but strange to say, no woman came forward to the
barber to have a look into the mirror.

Days and weeks went by, and the king
was no closer to getting a wife. Some ladies would
try to convince their lady friends to go before
the mirror, but none seemed willing to take the

The king, you should know, was a very
handsome man, and was beloved by all his subjects
for his many virtues. Therefore it was surprising
that none of the lovely ladies who attended court
should try to become his wife.

Many excuses and explanations were
given. Some were already engaged to be married.
Others claimed to be too proud to enter the
barber’s shop. Still others assured their friends
that they had decided it would be better to stay

It was soon noticed that no man in
Granada would marry, since until the king was
married, it would not be at all appropriate for
them think of marrying, though the real problem
was that no ladies were coming forward to look
into the mirror.

The fathers of families were much
annoyed at the apparent lack of ambition in their
daughters, while the mothers were strangely silent
on the matter.

Every morning the king would ask the
barber if any young lady had come forward to look
into the mirror, but the answer was always the
same – that many watched his shop to see if others
went inside, but none had ventured in herself.

“Ah, Granada, Granada!” exclaimed the
king. “Is there no maiden in this land willing to
offer herself to be the bride of the king? Kings I
know in other lands have no trouble getting
married. Why is this happening to me?

“Barber!” shouted the king, “you
shall get me a wife as bright as the day, as pure
as dew, and as good as gold – one who shall not be
afraid to look into your magic mirror!”

“Your Majesty,” replied the barber,
“There is one possibility. The shepherdess on the
mountainside may brave the magic power of the
mirror, but would you marry such a lowly one?”

“Bid her to come” answered the king.
“In the presence of my assembled court, let the
gentle shepherdess look into the mirror, after you
have told her of the risk of so doing.”

Soon the barber had brought the
shepherdess to court. It was proclaimed throughout
the city that a trial was going to be made, and so
the royal hall was soon filled with all the grand
ladies and knights of the king’s household.

When the sheperdess entered the royal
presence, she felt very shy at being surrounded by
so much grandeur. The king was very pleased with
her appearance, and received her kindly, telling
her that if she desired to be his wife she would
have to gaze into the magic mirror. If she had
done anything which was not consistent with a good
and virtuous character, the mirror would show as
many stains on its surface as there might be
blemishes in her past.

“Sir,” replied the maiden, “everyone
makes mistakes and I am no different. I’ve made
mistakes with my flock but I think they must
forgive me because every day they let me take care
of them and if they sense danger, they come to me
for protection. I love my sheep and do my best for
them. Truly I have no ambition to become queen,
but I’m not afraid to look into that magic

Saying this, she walked up to the
mirror and gazed into it, blushing slightly,
perhaps at the sight of her own reflection.

The court ladies surrounded her. When
they saw that the magic mirror showed no stains on
its surface, they snatched it from her, passing
the mirror from one to another. They exlaimed,
“Look! There is no magic in this mirror – a trick
has been put on us!”

But the king said, “No ladies, you
have only yourselves to thank. For had you been as
confident as this shepherdess, who is going to be
my queen, you would not have dreaded to look into
the mirror.”

This story reminds me of the ‘Dare to Tell Story Movement’ (have you joined yet?  LIKE here http://facebook.com/storycoachinc) because of how all the women didn’t dare to look in the mirror.  It seems to me that there are so many things that we don’t dare to do in life…that is, until we do!  What do you dare to do right now?  Please share your story below.

Best wishes and best stories


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10 comments on “Mirror Mirror – Do You Dare to Look?

  1. Hi Lisa,

    Loved the story! And the one that came up immediately was ‘The Emperors new clothes’ by H. C. Andersen. Daring to say the truth or be true to your self requires the same confidence and… innocence. Somehow we seem to lose that along the way…
    I say that because last week I meet Raphael Rodan (you might know him) at an expert meeting (Storytelling and Empowerment). He has this intruiging exercise which he sometimes uses in working with clients or in workshops: “When did you loose your innocence?”
    I heard that Eva Snijders and you have met in Barcelona. Nice! I’ll meet her sunday for some projects we’re in together.
    Kind regards,

    • Hi Peter, yes now that you mention it, it is a bit like the Emperor’s New Clothes! Yes, Rapha and I met a few years ago here in Israel and recently I worked with him and the wonderful Ashley Ramsden (amazing experience!). And yes, Eva and I had a lovely evening in Barcelona and talked about how fond we are of you!!!! thanks for your comments!

  2. The confidence to be vulnerable is amazingly powerful and rewarding. That's what I see in this story. To say, "This is me" and I'm doing my best." And to remember that we're worthy regardless of the critical.
    voices so loudly chattering in our minds. Thanks for sharing the story Lisa Bloom.

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