Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church


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Prince Bertram the Bad is a story written by by Arnold Lobel.

  • The Rev. Lisa M. Zaina
  • Mar 16, 2015
  • Category: Lent
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Prince Bertram the Bad is a story written by by Arnold Lobel.

It is a wonderful tale of a little Prince who put spiders in soup, pulled up the roses in the royal garden and broke all of his toys. And, he always frowned. His parents and caretakers did all that they could to make him happy, kind, and friendly, but to no avail.

Then one day as he was shooting stones at birds, he hit a witch with a stone from his slingshot, thinking that she was a crow. Then things got really interesting.

She immediately turned him into a small dragon.

His parents couldn’t allow him to stay in the castle because they feared that his breath would set fire to the curtains.

The townspeople laughed him all the way into the depths of the forest, where even the other animals wanted nothing to do with him.

He was alone, and lonely.

After living alone for many long months through the winter, during which he tried to keep himself warm with the fire in his breath, he happened upon the Witch who had cursed him.

She was frozen stiff, upside down in the snow. He breathed fire on her, very gently, thawing her. Because of this act of kindness, she reversed the curse and he was returned to his original state as a little boy, but one who had learned, and smiled inside. And smiled as well upon all those with whom he came into contact. Prince Betram was a good boy.

Is this a story of how karma can come back to bite us? Or, is it a story of redemption? Prince Bertram did unkind things, but then, he performed an act of kindness, and he was forgiven. I believe that this is a story of redemption.

We have this same chance every single day, and often, we don’t take it. But, as we find ourselves immersed in Lent, perhaps we can be more mindful of fire that we sometimes breathe, using that power to warm, rather than burn to a crisp. Warming not only by redeeming ourselves but also forgiving others.

Lent provides us with the opportunity to reflect, contemplate, pray, love and serve in preparation for the resurrection of our Lord. And, perhaps, as we intentionally consider God in our lives, experience a resurrection of our own.

Comments (2)

Mary Marvin Walter on Mar 16, 2015 9:34pm

Reflect, contemplate, pray, love and serve.... Thank you, Lisa

Anonymous on Mar 26, 2015 9:08pm

Thank you! I plan on doing a read aloud of this book tomorrow.