Nicky's Blog

The Story of Ferdinand (El cuento de Ferdinando) | July 18, 2010


Everyone ought to read the Story of Ferdinand. Someone designated it a “children’s book”, but that was a silly thing to do. The story’s timeless motif of compassion and non-violence is one adults need pay mind to because children innately love unconditionally and, with age, “learn” otherwise.

Frankly I don’t remember when I first discovered this book or where I was because memory is funny like that. I do remember the little epiphanies that this book triggered within. I fell in love with Ferdinand as a little girl and I’ll tell you why.

Ferdinand is a bull. He lives in a pasture in Spain and prefers to sit under a particular cork tree: “He liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers.” The story unfolds by way of a bumblebee stinging poor Ferdinand, which leads him to huff and puff. One would think, upon naïve glance, that he is an angry and mad bull. But really Ferdinand is just in pain. Two bullfighters witness this sight and perceive Ferdinand as the “best” bull to compete in a fight.

The bullfighters whisk Ferdinand to the ring where he finds himself surrounded by flowers the Spanish women adorn in their hair. Ferdinand, much to the dislike of the crowd, sits in the center of the stadium breathing in the lovely floral scent. The image of a big, strong bull sniffing flowers quite joyfully is funny to me. This pacifist bull that would rather smell dandelions than fight or behave in any aggressive manner instantly became a hero to me.

The message of my hero ought to be internalized by the world at large. Ferdinand is not swayed by others to behave outside of character. No one or no external circumstances can deter Ferdinand’s gentleness. The story reminds me that the spectrum of human emotion is complex, multifaceted and can surprise us in really positive ways.

In passing, I told my mom I might tattoo my dear friend Ferdinand somewhere on my body; of course, she nearly died then and there. Someone once told me to wait a year before you ink yourself even if you are shaking with conviction that this is THE symbol. I will do this even though I believe in Ferdinand very much so…

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2 Comments »

  1. Just out of curiosity, did you ever end up getting the tattoo?

    Comment by Chris — December 6, 2011 @ 2:15 am

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the comment. As you can see, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’d like to start up again.

      To answer your question: I never did get the tattoo. I’m realizing I’m constantly evolving and tattoos don’t respect that evolution, for me. I still do love my Ferdinand though.

      Do you have any tattoos of your own or any childhood heroes?

      Comment by Nicky — December 6, 2011 @ 7:04 am


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About author

A lover of people, the arts, parks, curiosity, spontaneity, altruism, self-exploration, and story telling. I believe in living your life nakedly and on fire. I am one of triplets: I have two sisters running about in the city coping my look. If you see "me", think twice. Much of my writing is inspired by my daily happenings. Much of it is also closely connected to my years at Bates College. This blog is for anyone looking for inspiring insights and stories.

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