In the Beginning

Although Kurt has been actively involved in puppetry since he was in junior high school, his first work with puppet ministry came in college, while he was an intern for the chaplain at Nebraska Wesleyan University.  For one of their regular Wednesday morning chapel services, Kurt created “The Parable of the Hands.”  Kurt’s two uncostumed hands were the puppets presented over a simple backdrop as Kurt narrated the story.  He was later invited to present the parable at other area churches.


© 1984 Kurt Hunter

(Begin by reading 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.)

Once upon a time, in a land not so far from our own, there lived two hands. There was a right hand and there was a left hand. Like most hands, they were very much alike. The right hand had a thumb and the left hand had a thumb. The left hand had four fingers and the right hand had four fingers. Both hands were also very useful and both hands were rather nice when you got to know them. The hands, however, believed themselves to be vastly different. Both hands thought they were completely opposite. The left hand thought the right hand’s fingers were on in the wrong order, because they weren’t on in the same order as his, but the right hand thought it was the left hand whose fingers were on in the wrong order. The hands were so preoccupied with how different they were that they didn’t even notice how much more similar they were.

Another problem that the hands had was that each hand thought that the other hand thought he was best. The left hand noticed how the right hand signed important papers and shook hands with important people and the left hand thought that the right hand did this just to show that he was best. The right hand, however, saw how the left hand rushed to hold down a document if he was about to sign it or how the left hand had to help if there was a button to be buttoned or a shoe to be tied. The right hand thought the left hand was doing all this because he thought the right hand couldn’t do anything by himself. The truth is that each hand was just doing what he thought he was supposed to do.

The real trouble between them, however, developed one day when they were driving some nails into a board. Everything was going along fine, when the hammer slipped, hitting the left hand’s thumb. The left hand naturally got mad and was convinced that the right hand had done it on purpose. The right hand of course tried to convince the left hand that it had been an accident, but the left hand refused to believe him. So the left hand was mad at the right hand and the right hand got mad at the left hand and each hand became very suspicious of the other. In fact, each hand worried so much about the other hand that they began to fear each other. They tried to avoid each other, but since they were part of the same body they couldn’t avoid each other completely. They still had to work together to tie shoes and a few other things, but this was about the only time they had contact with each other anymore.

They decided to try to do things by themselves. Each learned how to button a button alone and how to snap a snap and one day the right hand decided to learn how to drive a nail alone, so he got some nails and a hammer and started pounding away. The left hand was a little startled to see the right hand with a hammer, for you’ll remember that they were both quite scared of the other. So the left hand went and got himself a hammer and some nails, and began pounding away as well. This, of course, startled the right hand. It startled him so much that he stopped hammering and just stood there holding his hammer for protection. Well, seeing the right hand standing there holding his hammer frightened the left hand and so he stopped hammering too and just held on to his hammer all the tighter.

Now neither hand dared put down his hammer, because he was sure that if he did the other hand would attack and so both hands spent all their time holding their hammers. Of course, this wasn’t very good for the body. It was very difficult to eat with a hammer in each hand or get dressed or work or anything, so the body began to get weak from all the neglect. Since each hand was trying to keep an eye on the other hand, neither hand managed to get much sleep and both hands got very tired.

One day the right hand accidentally fell asleep, still holding on to his hammer of course, and while the left hand was watching the right hand, he accidentally fell asleep too and dropped his hammer on the right hand. The right hand woke up with pain shooting through his fingers, believed he’d been attacked, and began beating the left hand with his hammer ….. until ….. the left hand didn’t move anymore, and the right hand wished he hadn’t done it, but he’d been attacked and he wanted to help the left hand and he tried to, but the body had continued to get weaker, and now the body was very weak and the hands began to get very weak. because the body was dying.

This is where the story stops. Maybe there was enough strength left in the body that the body recovered or maybe the body died because of the foolishness of the two hands. I don’t know the answer, but it’s something we can all decide.