Toby’s tent

1. Making friends

A. Marcus J. Robbins



Toby’s dream team

Toby’s Toby s progress through his tent


This story is an educational allegory of how we function, physically and spiritually. Toby – who is nearly a teenager – wonders why he doesn’t have many friends. In a dream, he meets a colourful team of people who live in a tent. They explain how they help to make him who he is. Unfortunately, they don’t always work as a team, and forget who their leader is. By the end of the dream, Toby has a much better idea of how he works and what it means to be a friend. Most importantly, he discovers who can be his best friend, and how to lead his team. Toby will get answers to more of his many questions about life and the universe in subsequent stories. Note for Parents and Teachers: Toby’s dream team members are not just from my imagination. They are based on many existing and wellused ideas about how people behave and what they believe. Each one of the team corresponds to a faculty of the Octaikon educational model of body and soul that I have been developing (see back cover). The model forms the basis for educational resources that can support a process of life-long learning. Most of the resources are explained and can be accessed at the project website. Marcus Robbins Easter 2011 WEBSITE: E-MAIL: 119 Harefields, Oxford, OX2 8NR
© A. Marcus J. Robbins 2011


0 A beginning 1 Usher In…observes and consumes 2 Doctor Wot… checks and identifies 3 Professor Hmm…thinks and analyses 4 Officer Not…decides and judges 5 Singer Om…reflects and prays 6 Genie Yes…creates and invents 7 President Hey…expresses and speaks 8 Director How…guides and helps 9 Leader Out… acts and builds 10 Master Am…relates and loves ∞ Never ending


A beginning
Sometimes, exciting things happen unexpectedly. But not today, it seemed. It had been a grey day, with grey clouds and grey rain, and now Toby was in bed staring up at a grey ceiling, as the last light of day faded away. As you do on grey, rainy days, he had spent most of the time indoors. It had not been too boring though, because he had been given a book called “How Things Work”, and spent most of the day looking at it. But although the book told him how things like aeroplanes flew and oak trees grew, it did not tell him how he worked, and as he lay in bed, he felt bothered because he wanted to find out more about himself. It wasn’t that he wanted to know how he breathed, or his blood flowed, or what happened to the food he ate (he had heard quite a lot of that from school), but rather – he wanted to know how he saw the world around him, how he thought, and how he made friends. Sadly, he didn’t have many friends, and he didn’t know why. “I wish I could understand me,” he said to himself. He then stretched out underneath the bedclothes, yawned, and very soon fell asleep. Almost immediately – and unexpectedly – exciting things did start to happen! Toby found himself flying


through blue sky high above the earth, looking down on what seemed to be a vast expanse of yellow desert. He was not scared. He often had dreams of flying like this, and loved twisting and turning and looking all around himself, going wherever he wanted to, and as fast as possible. As Toby looked, he could see some mountains in the far distance, and just a few clouds in the sky, but not much else. Whenever he flew in his dreams, he had very good eyesight, and on this flight, the ground beneath him seemed featureless. But after a time, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something small and round. He had to investigate! So he made a beeline towards it, diving out of the blue sky at an exhilarating speed, like a kestrel doing a stoop. Soon Toby could see that the object was colourful and round. At first he thought it was something like a flying saucer that had landed – an unidentified flying object – a UFO! He had recently watched a TV programme about those. But as he got closer, he saw that it really seemed like a sort of tent. It had walls and a conical roof, and there were what looked like doors and windows. He swooped down and landed with a bump in front of it – and promptly fell over. “Ow!” he winced, picking himself up off the sand, and dusting himself down. “I’ve got to practice my landings.”


Toby peered at the thing. “Yes, it is like a tent,” he thought to himself, “and it’s also like a house.” It wasn’t perfectly round, but had short straight walls all the way around it, and the roof was somewhat like an umbrella, but the ridges were straight. Toby remembered seeing pictures of houses like this in class at school, and the teacher called them yurts, found in places like Mongolia. So maybe he was now in that country, although the weather wasn’t really cold, and if he remembered well, Mongolia could be freezing. He walked around the yurt-like tent, and saw that the walls were all colours of the rainbow. Each wall had a different symbol on it, and some had windows in them. He eventually came back to where he’d started, and looked at what appeared to be a green front door. It was in the shape on an oval – a sort of porthole. And above it was a sign that said: Toby’s Tent. Toby looked at the sign in great surprise. So – it was a tent, and not a UFO! But then, with even more surprise, he noticed that there was a little green person peering out from behind the opening, looking like a cross between a Martian, a leprechaun and goblin. “Is this a UFO or what?” Toby thought in consternation. “Hello,” said the little green person, in quite a high, friendly sort of voice “I was expecting you – you must be Mister Toby.” Toby was taken aback. “How did you know who I am? – and where am I? Who are you? And why is my name on this tent?” he exclaimed.


“It’s OK, OK, I’m a friend, don’t worry!” said the green person, “You wished you knew how you worked, and how to make real friends – and we’re here to answer your wish! Please – step in and we’ll tell you. And by the way, this is not a UFO, it’s a yurt, like a tent.” “I knew that – I can read,” said Toby, rather rudely, “so who’s we, and…?” “Ah,” interrupted the little green person, “all of us who live in this tent. We are your dream team! You are asking a lot of questions, aren’t you? Come on in – sit down, and we’ll explain, all in good time. Welcome to your tent of many colours!” So Toby stepped in through the opening, somewhat reluctantly and apprehensively, and sat down on a stool just inside. “Was this going to be like school?” he thought. And then the explanations began!


1 Usher In
…observes and consumes…
“First of all, let me introduce myself,” said the little green person. “My name is Usher In.” “Russia in? …” repeated Toby, hesitantly, thinking of Mongolia, which he knew was near to Russia. “No, no – not Russia – Usher, without an R. You can call me In for short. Do you know what an usher is?” asked In. “Er – yes, of course,” said Toby, “like the people who ush at weddings, and rush around welcoming people in, and then tell them to hush when the wedding starts?” “That’s sort of right,” laughed the Usher, “but they shouldn’t rush and hush, and we don’t say “ush”. Ushers watch out for the guests, and calmly help them come in and sit down in the right places.” “Now – that’s what I do,” the Usher continued, “but the guests I usher in are all those things you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell – and everything you eat and breathe, read, listen to, and...” The Usher stopped. “But I’m getting ahead of myself. I should explain something about this tent. It’s really your house – it is you in fact. And my friends and I help you to keep your house working and in order – so


welcome again to your house, or tent, or yurt, or UFO – whatever you like to call it!” Toby looked perplexed, and stared curiously at the Usher, who really did look a bit funny. She, he or it had very big eyes, ears, nose and mouth, very big hands and two things like aerials sticking out of its head. From its voice it sounded like a girl – so maybe it was female, an usherette? “Yes, I’m quite feminine, and I am rather odd-looking,” said the Usher, noticing Toby’s rather rude stare, and reading his thoughts. “But that’s because I’m in charge of all your senses, and what you eat and drink and breathe. That’s why my space here has a big opening to the outside – to let everything in.” Toby looked around the room – it was green, like the Usher. And there were all sorts of interesting stuff in it. He looked back at the Usher. “What are those wiggly things on top of your head for?” he asked, “I don’t have things like that! And I’m a boy, so why are you a girl?” “Ah!” said the Usher, ignoring the last question. ”You think you have just got five senses – but you’ve probably got a sixth sense or more, like lots of animals. Pigeons, for example, seem to have a built-in satnav. So I use my antennae – that’s what they’re called – for those other senses. “But I’m not an animal!” exclaimed Toby. “Oh yes you are, but a very special one. And don’t forget, some animals have much better senses than you


have – like eagles for example – they have amazing sight. Anyway, enough of that,” said Usher In. In went on. “Another thing I should tell you about your tent. Although all my friends, that is, your friends, live in what look like separate rooms inside this tent, there aren’t any ceilings. So we hear what everyone else is saying – or rather, we should hear. If we stop talking and listening to each other, then we all get in a mess. And if we don’t listen to the Master, things go really wrong….” “Hold on,” said Toby impatiently, “you’re muddling me. How many friends do you have, how many rooms are there in my tent, and who is the Master?” “More good questions,” said In, beaming. “Don’t worry, we’ll introduce ourselves one by one. But to start answering your questions, let’s see – there are eight rooms or spaces on the outside, and one in the middle. And there is one person looking after each room. But in the centre space, there are two, or maybe three. So that makes nine, or ten, or even eleven people. “And about the Master,” continued the Usher, gesturing with a very big hand, “that’s really you, Mister Toby. But on the other hand, it’s not you, but ….” Toby jumped as he suddenly heard a shout from nearby. “Aw, shut up, In, and stop confusing him – let him in!” it said. “Alright, alright – I’ve let him in, calm down!” said the Usher. “I just want to tell him some more about my job, then I’ll bring him in to you.”


“Bring him in to me, did you say?” said the voice, impatiently. “That’s my job. I might want to boot him out! Just you finish your explanation, and when you’re ready, wait outside my space.” “Right, Doctor,” said the Usher deferentially, raising long eyebrows at Toby, “Just a moment and we’ll be ready.” Toby was now very apprehensive, listening to all this. What were they on about? Who was the Doctor? And who were all those other people, he was thinking. “Don’t worry,” said the Usher again, noticing Toby’s frown. “I’ll tell you more about my space and then I’ll introduce you next door. The Doctor’s quite friendly, really. Just needs to be humoured.” The Usher went on. “You see that opening you came through – like a front door and a window? Well, I have to keep that open all the time, except when I’m told to close the blinds or draw the curtains. As long as they are open, all your senses work properly. It’s quite a job, because they tend to close by themselves, the openings get messed up with sand and dirt, the zips get stuck and I need to clean them. Of course, when you go to sleep, I have to close them. Does that make sense?” Toby was listening carefully, trying to understand what on earth the usherette was saying. “Yes, I think so,” he said. “But if this is my tent, and I’m having a dream, why was the front door wide open when I arrived?” “Ooo – you are a clever clogs!” said the Usher, but quickly added, “Well, I knew that anyway. As I said,


just you wait until we’ve finished all the introductions, then you might understand.” “But before I forget, here’s a quick tip about making friends, since you what to know about that. It’s this – pay attention and always take time to really listen to people. That’s why you have two ears too listen, and one mouth to speak. Ok, not really, but you see what I mean?” said the Usher. “OK,” said Toby quickly, “but what are those things?” pointing to some instruments on the table, unfortunately only listening with half an ear. “Just a moment,” said the Usher, scowling at Toby. “Another important thing I must tell you – now really listen please – both ears! I am very, very sensitive, and you must look after me – as you must with all my friends. What bothers me is very bright lights, loud noises, nasty smells, very hot things, poisonous stuff, and….” “Why’s that?” interrupted Toby. He liked loud noises. “Well, you see,” answered the Usher, “it’s because all that stuff can break the blinds, tear the curtains or warp the tent frames, so I can’t open up properly. In fact, things can sometimes get so messed up, that I can’t open up at all, and my friends can’t do their jobs either.” “I see - I’ll try to remember that,” said Toby, nodding, and pretending to really listen and understand. “Good – now, you asked about these,” hurried on the Usher, pointing to the pile of stuff on a low table.


“These are all the things that people make to help you see further, hear better…in fact, anything that helps make your senses more sensitive!” “Take this, for example,” In went on, pointing to a long tubular object. “This is a telescope. Things like this can help you see galaxies billions of miles away, right to the edge of the universe. It’s amazing.” “I’ve always wanted one of those!” said Toby, suddenly and enthusiastically. “All in good time,” said the Usher, holding up a large hand. “But listen, I don’t have time to show you more. As you heard, the next member of your dream team is waiting and needs to check you out.” “Yep”, said the voice next door, “time indeed it is”. And to Toby’s surprise, another person materialized in the opening leading to the next space. “Come on in,” said the new person in a pinched, precise sort of voice, looking Toby up and down. “Yes, you definitely are Mister Toby. You can stay. My name is Doctor Wot. You can call me Wot for short.” “Sorry - who?” said Toby, not listening properly again. “No, no, no, silly boy… not Doctor Who, Doctor Wot! Now, come on in and sit down,” said the Doctor, laughing slightly impatiently. “Thanks, In,” said Doctor Wot to Usher In, who gave a little curtsey, and left to look after all the things coming very fast into the green space from the outside.


2 Doctor Wot
…checks and identifies…
Toby looked around himself. He was now in a space next to the wall of the tent that was a different green from Usher In’s one – it was bluer. He tried to think of the name of the colour. “It’s like, er, turkey toys…” he thought, and then remembered, “oh yes, it’s turquoise.” Instead of being square, this space was triangular. There were two small round openings to the outside, and lots of piles of books, CDs, and DVDs on the floor. There was also a low table, like Usher In had, but the things on it were different. He stared at them. “I see you’re curious,” commented the Doctor. “That’s a good thing to be if you’re doing my job.” Toby looked at the Doctor, who really was very different from the Usher. The Doctor was quite tall and thin, had legs and arms that were very spindly, and clothes that had measurements all over them, in feet and inches and millimeters. Wot’s hands were very spiky too, with fingers that looked like dividers – the things in geometry sets used to measure distances with. Wot wore thick glasses, and looked very short-sighted. And around a thin neck there hung a huge magnifying glass. It was impossible to tell from Wot’s voice and clothes if he was a he or she was a she.


“And what is your job, then?” asked Toby. “Are you a real doctor?” He decided not to ask what gender – maybe it was neither or both. “Well”, said the Doctor “I’m not like the one you go to see when you are ill, but I do look after you. My job is to check out all those things the Usher lets in, and make sure you know what they are. Sometimes very bad things come in – enemies! – and I chuck them out quickly. At other times, maybe things are missing, and I tell the Usher to go and find them. Sometimes, too many things come in all at the same time, and I tell the Usher to close down for a bit.” The Doctor went on, “You can imagine my job as being like a filter, getting rid of unwanted stuff, or like the firewall on your computer that stops viruses coming in. You can call it quality control.” “That sounds boring,” said Toby, “but I guess it is important,” he quickly added. “You’re right, it is important, but it’s not boring,” said the Doctor, looking put out. “I have to pull everything apart, and make sure I can identify it properly. If it’s not useful or needed, then out it goes through one of those two little windows. But if it is useful, then I name it and keep it, and send it on to the next space.” “That’s right,” came a voice from next door – it was not the Usher’s, and came from the other side. “And don’t you forget to chuck things out, Usher – I’ve been having too many things to cope with lately.” “Who was that?” asked Toby.


“Oh, he’s the next person you’ll meet,” said the Doctor, “don’t bother about him at the moment. I think he was having a complaint. You see, I know that before you went to sleep, you were reading a book about “How Things Work”, that you read for too long, and that I should have stopped you. You were trying to find out how you work, but your book didn’t tell you – and so you got bothered. Right? Toby nodded. “Yeah, that’s right – how did you know?” The doctor grinned, “We’re all you, remember?” Toby frowned, and scratched his head. He still didn’t really understand but nodded. His face suddenly lit up – he was looking at the pile of books. “Oh – I’ve got some of those,” he exclaimed. There were books about spotting aircraft, naming colors, about numbers, dinosaurs, dictionaries, and lots more besides. “You have indeed,” said the doctor. “These are all the books you’ve been taught from since you were very little, and a few you’ve read yourself. They are the ones all about identifying things, giving things names, knowing why one thing is different from another. I use all that information to work out what it is that the Usher lets in. And if it’s not in those books, I get you, your parents or friends to go and find out. Wot went on, “And do you see these notes I’ve written? We all keep notes like this. They’re about what we have done for you, so when you want to remember things we can find out where it is in our books and remind you.


The only problem is, as you can see, our piles of books do tend to get in a mess, and it’s difficult to find things.” The Doctor looked at Toby. “Interesting, isn’t it? Not at all boring. I love my work classifying and naming and identifying things, and helping you to remember them.” “I suppose it is,” said Toby, “I do like watching and identifying airplanes. I can remember the names of all the Airbus and Boeing passenger planes.” “And don’t forget me!” It was the Usher speaking from next door. “I have to do the watching and remembering, too, before the Doctor can do the identifying,” In said. “OK, OK,” said the Doctor, “I know we’re all in this together.” “And me,” came a voice from yet another room. “Yes, yes indeed,” said the Doctor, getting exasperated, “now stop interrupting and let me get on with my explanations.” He looked at Toby, who was looking at the books and stuff again. “Seen any others you recognise?” asked the Doctor. “Yes – that big black book – I think I’ve seen one of those before” “You have – it’s a sacred book, and maybe you’ll remember some stories from it. Many of the stories from books like that tell you about what is good and bad. I refer to such books all the time so as to know if


you really should be watching, or reading, or playing some things. And if they are nasty, then I’ll I try to stop you before you get started.” Toby looked sceptical. The Usher piped up again. “Remember, it’s me who pulls down the blinds and draws the curtains….” Another far off voice joined in – it sounded rather haughty. “And don’t forget, I’m the one who makes the decisions around here. If I don’t decide, nothing happens.” And then another voice sounded. “Yes – you do the deciding, but it’s me who actually makes Usher In get up and draw the curtains…. “Enough!” shouted the Doctor. “One at a time and when I have finished! None of you can do anything unless I tell you what things are! That’s why I am called Doctor Wot!” he said, looking at the same time both pleased and annoyed. There was silence for a bit after this outburst, and Toby shuffled his feet looking rather uneasy, but still gazing around. His eyes settled on the table and all the things that were upon it. “Can you tell me about these things?” he asked the Doctor. “Yes of course I can. They are all the tools and equipment that people make to help you tell the difference between things. These here measure distance. Those measure how bright light is….”


Toby suddenly exclaimed, “Oh! I’ve got one of those,” he said, pointing to a glass prism, “It splits light into colours, doesn’t it?” “Yes, indeed”, said Wot, “you’d never think that white light contains all those colours, would you?” Toby nodded enthusiastically. Wot went on. “This is a digital thermometer, which measures heat. And those are for measuring weights.” The Doctor pointed to some very posh-looking bathroom scales. “Oh, and here is a meter for measuring electricity.” “Is there anything that can measure what’s good and bad?” interrupted Toby. “What do you mean?” said the Doctor, “whether something is right or wrong and makes you feel good or bad? Friend or foe? You mean moral things?” “Yeah, I guess so,” said Toby. The Doctor’s face screwed up in amusement and said. “No, you can only read about that in books like the sacred one you just saw, or listen to other wise and good people, or listen to your conscience. You’ll find out about more of that later. It’s a good question for the Professor or the Officer. They’ll have something to say, I imagine.” “Yes indeed,” came a voice “have you finished yet? It’s time for me to have a chat with young Toby. “Right,” said the Doctor, “I see I’ve got to finish – any more questions, Toby?”


Toby shook his head – that was quite enough for the moment! But then he remembered. “Oh yes – you haven’t told me how to make friends.” “Indeed, sorry, I quite forgot,” said Wot apologetically. “Let’s see – OK – here’s my tip. Remember to respect the differences between people. Just as you will find that all your dream team are very different, so are the people around you. Everybody is unique. And that is good. OK?” Toby nodded – this time he had listened! He thought of all his class mates and their different countries, cultures, colours and clothes. He did often laugh at the differences, and not very kindly. Wot continued. “Good – now let me pass you on to Professor Hmm. Here he is.” Toby got up off his stool and turned to the next doorway, in which had appeared a very short, thoughtful-looking person with a huge round head, looking a bit like an egg. It reminded Toby of Tweedle Dum – or was it Tweedle Dee? “Hmmm…” murmured the Professor, looking at Toby with a quizzical expression, “Hello Toby – pleased to meet you. Do come in.” Toby shook the Professor’s extended hand, and said thank you to the Doctor, who quickly sat down, picked up an instrument, and started measuring something, at the same time referring to one of the books, all with an air of great concentration. “Goodbye” Wot mumbled, not looking up.



3 Professor Hmm
…thinks and analyses…
So Toby was now in another room, and this one was square like the first, but it was coloured blue. There weren’t any windows in it, and everywhere seemed misty, as though the room was in a cloud. He could only just see the other walls. There were again some piles of books and DVDs and a table in one corner, with more interesting stuff on it. Toby could recognize a computer, calculator and other things, except one thing that looked like a frame with beads. There wasn’t a stool. “Sorry Toby,” said the professor, in a deepish rather thoughtful sort of voice, “I can’t offer you somewhere to sit down, because I don’t have any seats. You see,” Hmm continued, getting straight to the point, “I look after your brain, and help you to think. And the only way I can do that is to pace up and down and round and round, deep in thought. If I sit down just for a moment, I go to sleep and your brain shuts down. It’s all very hard work. That’s why my name is Professor Hmm – I have to keep on muttering hmm, hmm, hmm…. It helps me to think!” Toby shifted his weight from one leg to the other as he listened to the professor. He was getting tired himself, but thought, “I can't go to sleep, because I’m already asleep, or am I? Maybe I am really awake, and what I came from was a dream!” He shook his head as if to throw off the thought.


“I don’t understand something,” said Toby. “It seemed like Doctor Wot was doing a lot of thinking too. In what way is your thinking different?” “Ahh,” said the professor, “you’re right. What I do is to look at all those things that Doctor Wot has identified, and try to give them some meaning. It’s like when you’re reading a book. Usher In lets all the words in through your eyes, Doctor Wot identifies all the words, then I join them all together and give them meaning so you can understand the story.” “I’ll give you another example,” said the Professor. “Take mathematics - the Usher helps you see what’s on the page, Doctor Wot identifies the numbers and the symbols, and I help you work out the calculation and get an answer.” Toby grasped that and nodded. “I see what you mean. So you’re a bit like a computer processor – you help me work things out?” “Yes”, said the Professor. “But I can do a lot more than that. In fact I help everyone else in this house to do their jobs. And when you go to sleep I have to keep things ticking over. And right now, I’m having to work hard at your dream. That’s a funny thought, isn’t it?” Toby screwed up his face in thought. It was rather odd. Who was doing the dreaming? “Did you know”, said the professor, “that thinking needs a lot of energy. All that food that Usher In is responsible for – more than half of it is used to keep your brain running – and me!”


Then, to Toby’s surprise, the Professor started to run around his room, instead of his usual pacing. Toby began to get exhausted just watching him. “Hold on, Prof,” said Toby. “Stop! I want to know…how should I look after you?” “Sorry – can’t stop,” said the Professor breathlessly. “But… what… makes… you think that you can look after me?” “Well,” said Toby, “when Usher In was explaining what he did, he told me that he didn’t like bright lights and loud noises, so I was wondering what you don’t like.” “Yes, yes, you’re right,” said the Professor, “there are lots of things I don’t like, and I’ll tell you a few.” “For a start, I don’t like being hit. So take care of your head – you’ve only got one! And that means you should always wear your seat belt in a car, and a helmet when riding your bicycle. That’s just common sense, isn’t it?” “Yeah, I suppose so,” said Toby, reluctantly. He didn’t like wearing cycle helmets. “Another thing,” continued the Professor, “please don’t take things that muddle up my brain – your brain that is. Keep right away from drugs, don’t get drunk, that sort of thing. And eat plenty of fish…” “Fish,” said Toby, “why fish?” “Well,” said the professor, “fish have a lot of oils in them, and they are good for the brain.”


“Ah yes, I’ve remembered,” he continued, “you want to make more friends, right? Well – my tip is to try to think the best of people, and you’ll find they’ll think the best of you, too!” “And… one… more… thing,” said Hmm, breathlessly, “make sure you get plenty of rest and don’t spend the whole day alone playing computer games. And when you get old like your parents, make sure you do lots of puzzles like Sudoku to keep your brain – and me – well exercised. OK?” “OK”, said Toby, “I’ll try to remember that”. He actually liked those sorts of puzzles now! The professor nodded. “Yes, please do. Don’t forget, I’m very important!” Toby suddenly jumped as there was an outburst from around the other rooms. One of the voices said, “We are all important, Professor Hmm – don’t go getting a big head! Then there was a chorus of laughter. The professor already had a big head – Hmm couldn’t help it! Toby laughed too, but quickly wiped the smile off his face when he saw the professor’s look. “Yes, very funny I’m sure,” Hmm said. “But they’re quite right, we’re all just as important as each other. Anyway, let’s continue. You should look at some of the books I have.” Toby looked at the pile where the professor was pointing.


“See all those books there? They’re th ones your parents and teachers have been reading to find out how to educate you using your brain. They have got some very good ideas, and I refer to them all the time. Some of the books I’ve always had since you were born, and you didn’t need to learn what’s in them. That’s built-in knowledge, and it’s called instinct,” he added. “When you’re older, try and find out more about how you use your brain. It’s a very interesting subject. You might even want to become a neuroscientist.” “What’s that?” frowned Toby. “Oh, it’s somebody who studies the brain, that’s all,” replied the Professor. “Hmm,” said Toby, “that might be interesting.” “Hmm indeed,” said Professor Hmm with a knowing look. “Now, go and look at that table,” he said, continuing to walk around the room. Toby went over and looked at the things on it. There were some small computers and calculators, and the frame with beads on it. The professor paced by again, and explained. “Those are the sorts of things people invent to help you use your brain more efficiently and quickly. And that frame with beads is an abacus – a very old calculating machine, and still used in the East. But shall I tell you something really interesting?” Toby nodded, just a trifle wearily.


“Well, there are some people who can use their brains even faster than some computers, and if we really knew how to use our brains, we could all do the most amazing things – like multiply six figure numbers in our head.” Toby thought about that for a moment. “Yes, that’s very true,” came a voice from one of the rooms, “we just all have to work together.” “That’s right,” agreed the professor. “Well,” he continued, “I think that’s enough of an introduction from me, so I’ll now pass you to the Officer.” “Hrrump,” came a voice, “I was wondering when you would be finished!” “Never finished in my job, Officer!” the Professor quickly answered back. “Any questions Toby?” Toby was now beginning to feel quite weak from standing so long and watching the Professor, and he shook his head slowly. “No, I don’t,” said Toby. “Good – so here is Officer Not”. The professor pointed to the next opening, and Toby turned to see a very purplefaced military-looking person, staring intently at him. “I don’t know whether I like this person,” thought Toby. The Professor, now lost in thought, didn’t say goodbye.


4 Officer Not
judges… …decides and judges…
The Officer immediately started an introduction. “Right now – please pay attention and stand to attention, too – don’t slouch , boy – you look like a soggy weetabix.” The Officer barked at Toby with a voice that was crisp, bossy, and sounded as though it would stand no nonsense. Toby straightened up just a bit – he was indeed beginning to droop, but he wasn’t going to be bossed about. “I’m Officer Not, and you had best be calling me Officer – not Not – none of your young familiarity, thank you. Come this way,” ordered the Officer, beckoning through the doorway. “OK – I can see you are tired – Professor Hmm always tires people out – now, take a seat.” The Officer seemed to soften up a bit seeing that Toby really was exhausted, and a bit grumpy. Toby sat down thankfully, let out a heavy sigh, and looked at Officer Not. This person was again very different from the rest. Not seemed to be wearing some sort of purple uniform, stood very straight, and moved about in a very precise and military style. Not’s face was a bit purple, too – but maybe that was because the whole room was coloured purple. And like Doctor Wot’s room, this one was triangular, but had no window.


“Right,” said the Officer, “I’ll now tell you what my responsibilities are. Listen carefully, and focus. I help you to make decisions. For instance, when you go to a shop to buy something, and there are lots of different things you could buy, it is me who helps you to make the final choice. Understand?” Toby nodded. He was not very good at making decisions and didn’t like being given choices. He would always dither about, wishing he could buy all the CDs in the shop. Maybe he wasn’t listening enough to this Officer! The Officer went on. “So, decisions, choices, that’s what I help you with. I also help you to judge between what is good and bad, right and wrong. And to do that, I work very closely with Professor Hmm and Doctor Wot.” “Yes, we do,” piped up two voices in chorus. Toby guessed who they were, and looked around, grinning in recognition. “Attention!” said Officer Not. “Be quiet you two, I need Toby to concentrate.” Toby shifted in his seat, and tried to make it look as though he really was paying attention. “Now, I want to show you some of my books,” said the officer pointing to a pile. Toby looked, and saw that there were quite a lot, just as there had been in the other rooms. But he couldn’t recognize any. “Many of these books are about rules and regulations which tell you what you can or cannot do,” said the Officer.


“Boring!” thought Toby. His parents were telling him all the time what he should or shouldn’t do. But in a way he didn’t mind, because it meant he didn’t have to choose or make some decisions for himself. It was done for him. Toby suddenly decided to ask a question, something which surprised himself when he thought about it. “Are all laws and regulations good? What if they are made by bad people and are all wrong?” he asked. The Officer looked him straight in the face, and nodded approvingly. “That, young man, is a very good question. And it is quite difficult to answer. But I will tell you something that might help. Make sure you listen to people who are wise and know what they’re talking about, and read things that have been written by sensible people.” The officer went on. “For instance, when you are cycling along a road, you know that all the signs telling you what you can and cannot do have been put there by sensible people, so it is only sensible that you should obey them – right?” “But there are other things, like a school mate telling you it’s all right to take magazines without paying because they are out of date, which may not be so obvious. Those magazines still belong to the shop, and could be sold cheaply.” Toby looked uneasy and fidgeted. That had happened to him once, and he had got into a lot of trouble. He was looking at the pile of books again.


He decided to ask another question. “Where do all those books come from? I don’t like reading about rules and regulations,” he added. Officer Not nodded. “I can understand that. But even if you haven’t read them, your teachers and parents have read them and that’s what I use when helping you to make decisions. You see that big black book?” Toby looked. It seemed to be like the sacred book he had seen in Usher In and Doctor Wot’s room. “Yes,” he said. “Well, that’s full of things that tell you what is good to do and what is not good to do. For instance, there is a list of ten things you really must or mustn’t do. And one of those is that you must not murder someone. So that decision has been made for you. But you can always ignore it, and make your own decision.” Toby thought a bit. When one of his mates did something bad to him, he could really get all worked up and imagine himself doing something really terrible to them. It amazed him how violent his thoughts could become. “That must be how warriors get all psyched up for battle,” he thought. “Yes – your imagination needs control,” said Officer Not, reading Toby’s thoughts. “That’s why it is important to get Professor Hmm to help you stop thinking bad thoughts. They can easily turn into actions.” Toby thought some more, and a question popped into his head. “When there are wars and people get killed, is all that murder?”


“Very good question, Toby. I can’t answer that now, but not all killing is murder,” said Not, “Anyway, to get back to rules and regulations, you are always free to disobey them, aren’t you?” “Yes - always free,” came a weird voice from the other side of the tent. “Quiet!” said the Officer, “your turn to talk to Toby is coming soon.” Not continued, “But if you decide to disobey, you have to face the consequences, and maybe get punished.” Toby could understand that. He had learnt from experience what happens when you break the rules. He had been grounded many times. “But sometimes I am punished when it is not really my fault,” he said, sounding annoyed. “Maybe not,” said the Officer, “and that is when I help you to judge things. It is a bit like putting what is right on one side of a pair of scales, and what is wrong on the other – and then you look to see which side is heavier. That’s why I have one of those,” he said, pointing to some old fashioned scales on a table. Toby looked at the balances. They were like ones that Doctor Wot had in his room. But could these really measure right and wrong? Maybe Doctor Wot had misled him, he thought to himself. “I know what you’re thinking,” said the Officer, seeing Toby’s puzzled expression. “They don’t really measure


what is right and wrong – they’re just symbols of how I weigh up the evidence like a detective.” Toby looked more puzzled. “I don’t understand what you said – what sort of evidence?” he said. “OK,” answered the Officer, “I can see I am getting into too much detail. Anyway, I think you get the general idea of what I do, and that is enough from me at the moment. Just remember, the best way you can help me is to do what your parents and teachers say.” “And by the way, your tip for the day,” Not added, “is that you won’t make friends if you are a hypocritic. Being hypocritical means criticising someone for doing something wrong, and then doing the same thing yourself. That’s not nice!” Toby nodded – he had heard of that word, and knew it was not a nice thing to be. He’d lost at least one friend that way. “Now,” said the Officer, “it looks like you need to relax before you meet the next person, so follow me to the next room where you can have a bit of a rest.” And off Not went. Somewhat relieved, Toby followed the Officer obediently, if not somewhat reluctantly, as Not led the way out of the purple space, back into the blue space, where Professor Hmm, humming and hawing, was still pacing away. The Officer then showed Toby into a place at the centre of the tent.


5 Singer Om
…reflects and prays…
The central inner space was covered with a soft carpet and nothing else on the floor. On the four walls there were large mirrors, and in the middle was something that looked like a soft glowing fire. If Toby looked upwards he could see the peak of the tent, but it was almost obscured by a cloud of haze. Because of the mirrors, the room seemed vast, and there were never-ending reflections of the fire-light radiating outwards as far as the eye could see. Toby imagined the space to be infinitely big. And it was very peaceful. All that he could hear were murmurings of the people he had met, and others he hadn’t. No-one spoke to him, but there was a gentle singing sound all around. It made Toby think of the inside of Dr. Who’s Tardis – much bigger on the inside than it looked, but this was much quieter, and not hectic at all – quite the reverse! Toby sat down on the carpet, cross-legged, as he had done many times when listening to stories in primary school. He felt very comfortable and relaxed, and started to think about the four people of his dream team whom he had already met. “Let me see,” he said to himself. “I wonder if I can remember what they all do. That Usher In, he let’s things in – that’s easy – things that come in through my senses and my mouth and nose and skin. In’s colour is


green, which reminds me of what is outside me – grass and trees”. The only trouble was that, in this dream, the desert outside Toby’s tent was far from green! “Then there is that funny spiky Doctor Wot – not Dr. Who,” he reminded himself. “Doctor Wot puts names to things, works out if they are different or not, and in what ways. And Wot’s colour is greeny-blue – turquoise,” Toby kept on reflecting (in his mind as well as in the mirrors). “And that blue Professor Hmm, always pacing, with a big egg-head in a cloud, helps me to work out things using my brain.” And finally, he remembered, “Purple Officer Not helps me decide what not to do – and what I should do, too.” “And all four of them work together as a team, and each depends on the others,” he concluded. Toby was pleased with himself – he seemed to remember what he had been told rather well. He clasped his knees, rocked back and forth, and began looking around again expectantly. “What next?” he thought, getting just a bit impatient. “I know what you’re thinking,” came a gentle, melodious voice. “Yes, you’ve done well and you’ve started to listen carefully. Hope you can remember all their advice about making friends!” Toby looked around in search of a person, but could find no-one. All he could see was hundreds of himself, reflected in the mirrors, and disappearing outwards.


“No,” said the voice, “Look inwards toward the light. You won’t see me because I am just spirit – no body – but you will see a light that should make things clearer, and you’ll hear the music that I’m singing!” Toby gazed at the fire in the middle of the tent, and noticed something very odd. It seemed to grow rounder and whiter as the melodious voice spoke. The voice went on, “I am Singer Om. May I come in?” “Come in?” said Toby, “of course – aren’t you already in? This is your house, isn’t it?” “Well, it’s yours, actually – and it’s mine as well only if you invite me in, unlike the rest of your team who are always here, whether you want them or not.” “Oh – well, do come in, wherever you are,” said Toby, whose curiosity had been raised. “Thanks,” said Singer Om. “Now let me tell you what I do.” Toby was all ears. Om went on… “In a way, I help all the other members of your team to do their jobs and cooperate as best as they can - singing in perfect harmony, so to speak. And sometimes I help them do things they never imagined they could do. But my main job is to help you to think deeply about all the things that the Usher, the Doctor, the Professor, and the Officer have been telling you about – and those of your team you’ve yet to meet. It’s like the mirrors all around you, I help you reflect on them. And by doing that, they can do their jobs better. Then, once you


understand yourself better, you can understand others and make friends much more easily.” “I think I know what you mean” said Toby, intently watching the reflections of the light gently pulsate. “But I can’t explain it.” “That’s good,” intoned the Singer, “and don’t worry if you can’t explain it. Some things you can’t explain. Just let them be.” The Singer continued. “In this room you can pray, talking to whoever you think God to be – assuming you believe in God,” Om added. “You’ll hear about talking later, when you meet the President, but just for the moment I want you to know that one way to pray is to stop talking, stop thinking even, and listen to my music – just be.” “Just be?” said Toby. “How can I just be?” This was odd. What music? He knew his parents knew a song called ‘Let it be’, sung by the Beatles. He liked it, but it was old-fashioned, not with a heavy beat that he liked. “Well, I’ll give you a tip,” said the Singer, “just use your senses to notice everything around you – what the Usher sends in – but don’t bother to get the Doctor or Professor identifying or thinking about them. Soon, you’ll not notice them, and you’ll begin to hear me singing.” Toby expected the Doctor and the Professor to interrupt and complain about the Singer’s dismissal of their duties, but they didn’t.


Toby thought a bit. Singer Om was talking about praying, and that the best way to pray was to listen to the song Om had composed. Was the Singer trying to be like God?” Toby ventured a bold question. “Are you God?” he said. “I am,” said the Singer. “Then why are you called Singer Om?” asked Toby. “Ah, you ask so many questions, Toby – I hope you will keep on becoming better at listening to all the answers!” said the Singer. “I’ll give you an idea.” Om explained, “I am called the Singer because everything exists because of the love song I compose, conduct, and we all sing together”. “We – whose we?” said Toby – he had heard that ‘we’ word when he had been introduced by the Usher. “Yes,” said the Singer, “I’m really the song, and the person who sings it, and the person who listens to it – all in one. My name ‘Om’ just gives you an idea of the song. Our wish is that you will hear the singing, join in and … sing along with Singer Om!” Toby just stared at the light, almost mesmerized, as it pulsated with the singing words. This was getting curiouser and curiouser, as Alice said in Wonderland. “Toby?” said the Singer “Are you all right?”


Toby thought about it and then nodded. He felt rather happy. Although he could not really understand what the Singer was saying, deep inside he thought he did. Then it hit him. “I have a question,” he blurted out. If you are only here when invited, what happens when you don’t get an invitation?” “Excellent question,” said Om. “I was wondering when you might ask that. The answer is that you would have to do my job. We’ll tell you what that would be like at the end of your trip.” Singer Om went on. “Toby – you are a bit young to understand what adults think we are really like, and they are not always right – but love is the best way of explaining it. Later I’ll explain what that love is, when you meet me again.” “Oh – when will that be?” said Toby expectantly, as he was beginning to enjoy this very odd explanation. “I’ll be the last person you talk to, when you come back in here. Goodbye for now, Toby. Someone will fetch you in a moment for the rest of the tour. But don’t forget – take time to just be…” At that, Singer Om’s sing-song voice trailed off, and the light in the middle of the room became still, everything seemed to become quieter, and Toby felt very peaceful. He closed his eyes, but didn’t go to sleep. He just ‘let it be’.


Toby didn’t have any idea how long he just ‘was’, but it ended all of a sudden, when a loud, shill, and twangy voice brought him, literally, to his senses. “Whey-hey! what do we have here. It must be Mister Toby. How are you doing, young man? Enjoying your trip? Ready for more?” Toby was lost for words. “Lost for words are we?” went on the voice. “No problem, we’ll sort that out later. Just follow me. Come on, up, up and away, you’ve got an appointment with Genie Yes, and then with me – I’ll introduce myself later – yes, siree. Come on now.” Toby shook his head, in a vain effort to throw off the bombardment of words, and followed a figure who pranced away gesticulating wildly, and who seemed to be wearing a bright yellow trouser suit and the sort of hat ladies wear at weddings. They left the inner space, passed through a yellow room, and stopped at the entrance to another triangular one, this coloured lime green. “Genieeeeee!” – shouted the yellow person – “where are you?” “I’m heeeere,” came back an answer, “but where’s Tobeee, or not To-beee? – that is the question!” A shriek of laughter followed. “Oh, how I love a joke.” But the joke was lost on poor Toby, who rolled his eyes into the back of his head, and began to wish he was


back on the quieter side of the tent. It was getting very noisy this side. “Ah! there you are,” said a pale yellow green apparition. It certainly did look like a genie found in tales of the east, thought Toby. “Thank you, Excelentissima,” said the Genie, shrivelling to the ground in a mock curtsey in front of the yellow figure. “I’ll whisk him back to you after a short spell here – ho ho!” The apparition winked at Toby, who had taken an immediate fascination to the Genie’s magical twisting, turning shape. “Do I really have one of those inside me?” thought Toby.


6 Genie Yes
…creates and invents…
“Yesssssssss,” said the Genie, “another chance for me to show off my creativity. Oh, how I loooove my job. Toby – my name is Genie Yes – and you are a genius, right? He!he! Geddit?” This time Toby saw the joke – sort of – and halfheartedly pretended to laugh. “But I am not a genius”, he said, “I’m useless at school…” “Rubbish, codswallop, garbage, pifflescrump! You are a genius, just like me. Because you are me. Are you forgetting all you have learnt since you came to your tent?” said the Genie. “All right, if you say so,” said Toby. “I do so coco,” rejoined the Genie, in mock annoyance, “and I’ll explain why.” So Genie Yes started an explanation. And Toby listened curiously. “Well now – you remember that old Officer Not the other side of the tent?” said Yes. “Careful, I’m listening!” came a voice.


“Shhhh, you!” said the Genie twisting and turning to Toby. “Not always does this – remember?” Toby nodded. “Weeell – Not and I are as different as chalk from cheese. Whereas the Officer helps you make decisions and follow the rules, I help you to be free and original and different. But I don’t make you break the rules,” Genie Yes quickly added. The Genie went on. “I help you discover your talents, like painting, or playing music, or building things, or being a chef, acting, composing a song. In a word, I help you to be creative.” “That sounds fun,” said Toby. “Yes – it is fun. But just so you know, Officer Not and I have to go hand in hand, otherwise I get out of hand, and get up to all sorts of naughty tricks!” The Genie let out a great peal of laughter, and almost split its sides. “Whoops, there I go again, spiralling out of control,” Yes said, trying to stop forming into a whirlwind. Toby was getting quite dizzy. On went the Genie. “And of course, Officer Not can get very boring without me.” “I’m still listening!” said a voice. “Yes,” thought Toby, “I know people who can be like that, always telling you what you can’t do.” “So do I,” said the Genie, reading his thoughts.


“And so do I, too,” said the voice that was now obviously Officer Not. “They can all read my thoughts, these people,” thought Toby. “Yes, yes, yes,” said the Genie, “no escape from it!” “Do me a favour?” said the Genie to Toby. Toby looked expectantly at Yes, and raised his eyebrows. “What?” he said. “Whatever you do, don’t lose your sense of humour. Laugh at good jokes, and laugh at your self. I can’t help laughing at myself – I’m such a funny shape.” The Genie started to split its sides again. “But laugh with other people, not at them – laughing at them is not kind, and it’s a sure way to lose friends.” “Yes,” came the voice of Officer Not, “not at them. Hrrumpph.” “Ha! Ha! He is a one. See what I mean – how we must go hand in hand?” laughed the Genie. Toby looked guilty. He could remember many times he had laughed at friends who made mistakes, or couldn’t do things as well as he could. They didn’t hang around as friends for very long. “Oh yes – and another thing,” continued the Genie. “When you get older, you may make very good friends, and even get married. Then you can get up to some very funny business and be really creative. You might even have a baby! Ho diddly ho hum,” chortled the Genie.


Toby looked blank. What on earth was Yes on about? Then it dawned. “Oh,” he said – “yeah, all that stuff does sound very funny.” “Genie!!” came the voice of the Officer, bouncing off the roof of the tent. “That is a serious matter, you know that!” “Of course, Officer, fun and serious at the same time,” said the Genie, looking only slightly chastened. “Right, what must I tell you next – anything left?” Yes continued, with a chuckle. “Oh yes – let me show you my books and stuff.” Toby started towards the usual pile of books and table, and was going to ask a question, but the Genie interrupted. “Just a minute, I’ve had an inspiration – tell you what, why don’t you look at the books and stuff by yourself for a few minutes – I need to have a creative moment by myself. I’ve just had a bright idea which I must work on,” concluded Yes, spinning around very fast and disappearing upwards out of sight. Without looking up, Toby said “That’s fine, I can see you have some books that I have at home!” He started to look at them, when a hushed voice piped up. “Pssst, Toby – it’s me, Usher In.”


Toby looked around in surprise. There in a doorway the other side of the room was the Usher, looking very green and alien. “You didn’t realise you had gone all the way round the tent, did you? I’m next door to you again. Listen, there is something I forgot to tell you when you first met me. Sometimes I send the things that come in to me straight to the Genie, instead of the Doctor – remember what Doctor Wot does? When you are creative, things around you just trigger off ideas without having to think about them – some people call it intuition – and that is what is happening to the Genie at the moment. Be patient, the Genie’ll come down to earth in a tick – best not to disturb.” The Usher winked, and then went back to work. Toby thought about that for a moment, and could understand it – he sometimes had ideas popping into his head as he stared out of his bedroom window, and liked to be alone. He continued to look at the books. There were books on painting pictures, model-making, and playing the piano. There were loads of CDs of his favourite music which he knew by heart. And on the table, there were paints and paintbrushes, a guitar, model-making tools, just like the ones he had at home. “I like this Genie,” thought Toby. And at that, the Genie suddenly came back down to earth with a whirl. “Yessssss!” Yes exclaimed, “I’ve had such a great idea. But no time to tell – you need to move on and meet your seventh helper properly. But before you do, are you clear what I do?


“Yes, I think so”, said Toby. “Grrrrreat! – without hesitation, repetition or deviation, tell me in ten seconds. You know the game?!” Toby did – his parents liked the program on the radio, and he had overheard many episodes of Just a Minute. “Er….” He said. “Barrrrrrp! Hesitation!” shouted the Genie. “Come on now, no time – I’ll tell you. I’m in charge of your creativity. Whenever you paint a picture, sing a song, write an essay, make a model – I’m there helping you. Howzat in ten seconds?! “Repetition! You repeated the word ‘a’ three times…cheat!” shouted Toby triumphantly. “Oh phooey – that doesn’t count”, countered the Genie. “It does!” “No it doesn’t!” “Enough, enough, enough – time’s run out!” the Genie exclaimed. “Gotta keep going or you’ll wake up before the tour is over. Now you’ve got to…. meet … the…. Presidente!!!” And with an exaggerated flourish, Yes pointed to the person in a yellow trouser suit, who was standing in the other doorway again. “Gotta be going. Byeee!” And with that, the Genie disappeared off once more.


7 President Hey
…expresses and speaks…

The yellow-suited person, still wearing a funny hat with feathers, smiled kindly at Toby, and then started to talk – loudly and shrilly. “Why, hello again, Toby. How y’all doing? Good? Excellent! Yes, sirree, my name is President Hey – but you can just call me Hey, I don’t stand on ceremony. I like it when people greet me and say ‘Hi, Hey!’ and then I say ‘Ho, bro!’ Ha, haaa! – love it. But you’ll probably be very proper and say ‘Good morning, your Excellency’. It’s as you wish.” Toby was now looking yellow, – like Bart Simpson – as the President’s bright outfit reflected the light. He noted that the President was yellow in the face, too, like other characters out on the Simpson movie. He decided to be informal, and said “Hello, Hey.” “Right on,” said the President. “Now, let me explain my responsibilities. I help you to express yourself – your thoughts and ideas, to yourself and to other people. So I do the talking around here, but not just the talking with words. I can communicate by the way I say things, and using my whole body,” Hey said, pulling a terrible face.


Toby looked and laughed – and then stuck out his tongue. “Attaboy” said the President, “you get the idea. But just be careful when you do that!” Hey went on, “I don’t just communicate with speech, but also by writing things down, and along with the Genie, I can help you communicate creatively by writing poetry, songs, paintings – that sort of thing.” Toby nodded – he could see again that cooperation between the dream team in his tent was important. “Oh – and I also show emotions in lots of ways – mostly by body language – laughing, crying, being moody, getting angry. Know what I mean?” Toby nodded. He knew exactly what the President meant – he sometimes he got very angry at school when things were getting difficult, and when he got home his parents would know immediately that something was wrong. “And note this,” continued Hey, “my opposite number is the Professor. We have to work closely. If you remember he does the thinking.” Toby nodded. He did remember. “Well,” continued the President, “it is, for example, very important for Hmm to think before I speak.” Toby nodded again. He also remembered many times being told by his father to think before he spoke.


“And not only that,” continued the President, “you need to give the Singer in you time to reflect when you have something deep to say. Then you might just come out with something very wise – which is what I do all the time,” boasted the President. “Not!!!” came a voice. Toby guessed it was Officer Not. He was right. “Hey, that’s not fair,” said the President. “Well, OK, I come out with wise things most of the time.” “Yeahh, right!” came the Officer again. “Shush, you,” said the unrepentent President. “But listen up, Toby – there are two things I really need your help with.” “OK – what’s that?” said Toby, curiously. “First thing,” said the President, “is to avoid telling lies. If you don’t tell the truth, life gets very complicated and unhappy, and nobody will trust you. You won’t make friends that way. OK Buster?” The President went on. “And the second thing is to pleeease use words properly. Know what they mean and don’t use them in the wrong way. Let me give you an example. Today you young people use the word wicked for something good. But that’s confusing. What will you call something that’s really bad? Think about it!” Toby thought and nodded. Yes, many times he had said ‘Wicked, innit!’ without thinking what wicked really meant. It just seemed the right thing to say.


“While we’re on the subject of words,” continued the President, “let me whet your appetite for learning about languages – I just loooove things linguistical.” “What’s that word!?” exclaimed Toby, wrinkling his face in incomprehension. “Simple – it means anything to do with languages,” said Hey, and quickly went on. “Listen up, Toby – I’m going to tell you three fascinating facts about your yurt.” Toby’s ears pricked up – he liked information presented that way. “First,” said the President, “all written languages start with symbols, and your yurt is a symbol of you, your physical body and your spiritual soul.” “Second, each of your dream team has their own symbol, as well as their name. Mine is a star, because I’m a star – He! Ha!” laughed Hey. “I know,” said Toby, “and the Officer’s is a pair of scales, and…” “Right on, but hold it there,” interrupted Hey, “see if you can remember them when you’ve completed the tour, and let me finish. Lastly – and this is really interesting – each of your team is responsible for one of the eight types of words in a language – what we call parts of speech.” “Oh,” said Toby, pretending to be dumb, “you mean things like clowns, herbs, and hatchet-jobs?”


“Ha, Haaaa!” exclaimed the president excitedly, “you’ve got it – nouns, verbs, adjectives and all that stuff. Yes! But I’ll have to tell you all about that later – that’s something for another day – another dream.” Toby looked surprised. Was he going to have more crazy dreams like this one? He was about to ask a question, but the President went on. “Now – changing the subject, another thing you can do in my job is to encourage people. Everybody likes to be encouraged, don’t they? So now – I ’m going to encourage you, Toby!” And with that, the President patted Toby on the back, and exclaimed, “Tobeee, you.. are.. AMAZING!” Toby wobbled, grinned and coughed. “But why am I amazing?” he said, somewhat overcome. “Come on now,” said the President, “think of all the things you can do; playing football, model making, walking, flying in your dreams, talking to a President, asking brilliant questions – you are a miracle of life!!!” “Oh – I guess so!” grinned Toby, beginning to realize that perhaps he really was amazing. “Thank you, Hey!” “Right on,” said the President. “But I mustn’t go on. That’s my one failing – talking too much. You’re the one that needs to move on, so let me show you a few things before you go.” The President pointed to the table. Toby was beginning to realize that everyone in his dream team had a table of sorts – and piles of books and stuff.


“See here on this table,” said Hey, “these are all sorts of things that people have made to help you express yourself, speaking and writing and so on.” Toby looked, and saw pens, printers, projectors, loudspeakers, microphones, and a very old fashioned typewriter. Some of the things he could recognize from his home. “And now look at my books,” said Hey, pointing to loads and loads of books. “Recognize any of them?” Toby did. There were lots of favourite stories, videos and DVDs, and not-so-favourite textbooks from his school. And there was the ubiquitous big black sacred one. “Don’t forget that books are unique ways of recording all we think or say in words, and pictures and films include what we see as well.” Hey added. “Oh, and you see that star-shaped window? That’s what I send messages through to other Ushers in their tents.” The President peered through the window, and looked disappointed when there were no yurts in sight and nobody to talk to, then turned back to Toby. “Right ho, time to go. Hope you enjoyed yourself, and don’t forget what I told you.” Toby nodded. “Thank you very much Hey. I will try to remember.” “Good onya,” said the President, taking Toby by the shoulder. “This way, then, to meet the Director.”


8 Director How
…guides and helps…
Toby followed the President to the other side of the yellow room. And there waiting in the doorway was a very distinctive person, who had a brownish complexion, and wore a bright orange flourescent jacket, and a hard hat. In one hand the person carried a staff with a pointy finger on top, and kept twiddling it around and around. “Hello,” said the bright orange person, in a mellow, fruity sort of voice. “Welcome to my room. Thank you, Hey. “No worries,” said the President, who pranced off. “So Toby, how are you progressing? How do like your team so far?” said the figure. Toby nodded. “They’re OK,” he said, “they’re all very different.” “That’s for sure,” said the orange person. “Well – let me introduce myself – hope you like me! My name is Director How. As you can see I wear a lot of orange, and carry this stick, so that people know where I am.” Toby thought that the stick was rather unnecessary. The director seemed quite obvious without it. It reminded him of the guides that took tourists round the town in which he lived. They always seemed very comical sticking their umbrellas up in the air. The


director also reminded Toby of a school crossing lollipop lady. “I know what you are thinking, Toby,” said the Director, “I need my stick because I am quite short, and it’s also quite good for prodding people in the right direction. Sometimes people can be very stubborn.” “Oh,” thought Toby, “How’d better not use that on me.” The Director continued. “Maybe not! First things first – you’ll want to know what I do.” Toby nodded – he was getting used to the routine of all these explanations! “Well, as you will see, my job comes between the President, whom you’ve met, and the Leader whom you haven’t. My job is to help guide you into doing what you or other people would like you to do. As I said, sometimes I need to give people a little push. Does that make sense?” Toby nodded again cautiously – he didn’t like the thought of being pushed around. The Director went on. “Sometimes, I have to help you do what you want to do but shouldn’t, and that’s a bore for me. At other times I help you do what you really need to do, but you don’t want to, and that I like.” Toby looked at the ground somewhat sheepishly. He knew of many times when he had done things that he shouldn’t have done, and at other times ended up doing things he should have done, but very grumpily!


The Director continued. “What I really like to do is to help you want to help other people.” “Yes,” said Toby, looking less sheepish. “That’s what I promised to do when I became a Scout.” “Quite right,” said the Director, “you’ve got the idea. Being a scout is all about looking out for other people, and helping and guiding them”. “Which is why the girls are called Guides,” added Toby, knowingly. “Exactly” said the Director. “There are lots of big titles for this sort of job – like facilitator, mentor, teacher, manager, mediator, as well as director. Heard of those?” “Yeah, some, but I don’t really understand the difference,” said Toby. “No problem – let me explain a bit. A facilitator is someone who makes it easier for other people to do their jobs, but without getting in the way too much. A mentor is someone you can bounce ideas off, and helps you think your ideas through. And a mediator is someone who helps others sort out an argument, but without getting involved. Similar jobs, but not quite the same. Of course, you know what a teacher does, don’t you? Does that all make sense?” Toby nodded. The Director continued. “Another way of looking at my job is that it is like being a good friend to someone. It’s a job where you have to work closely with the Usher, and listen very carefully to people so that you know


really where they are coming from, and where they really want to go. “And me, too,” came a chorus from the other rooms. “Yes, and you all,” said the Director.” I haven’t forgotten you.” “I’ll tell you something else interesting, Toby,” How continued. “My opposite number in this tent is that Doctor.” “Who?” said Toby quickly, with a grin. “You know perfectly well,” said the Director and laughed. “It’s Doctor Wot! Now the Doctor sort of separates things and identifies them. I, however, try to bring things together and make them whole. Mathematicians would say that Wot differentiates, while I integrate. You’ll probably learn about that soon in your maths lessons.” Toby screwed up his face. He was still not certain that he liked maths. The Director looked sympathetically at Toby. “Not your favourite subject? Never mind, I would advise you to give it a try. When you understand it, you will find it very interesting. You didn’t like geometry, but like it now, don’t you?” Toby nodded. He was already trying to work out in his head how all the rooms in his tent fit together. There were squares and triangles on the inside, and they all seemed to make an octagon on the outside. The Director’s one was another triangular room.


“Oh, and by the way, I have to work closely with the Officer. No point in helping you go in a direction that’s already been prohibited, is there? Think of all those signposts on the road. Some help you to find your way, and others tell you ‘no way!’” Toby thought of all the signs he had seen: halt signs, no entry signs, road number signs, place name signs, and remembered the time he ended up totally lost on a cycle ride when someone had twisted a signpost around. “I bet you get your directions wrong, sometimes” he said, cheekily. “Oh yes,” said the Director, “especially if I don’t talk to the Master. He’ll always point out the error of my ways, if I would just but listen. “Oh – right,” said Toby, “but I’ve not met the Master yet.” “Don’t worry, you will soon,” reassured the Director. “Toby, I think you’ve got the idea of what I do, and that’s great.” How said, giving him a friendly prod with the stick. Toby jumped and laughed. “And what have you got in your pile of books and on that table,” he asked. “I see you have got them like everyone else.” “That’s right,” said the Director, “as you know, we always have lots of things that you or your parents or your teachers have come across while helping to bring you up. They have to do a lot of directing!


“But there is an awful lot of rubbish stuff, too. I don’t think the Doctor was doing a good job when those came in”, How said, pointing to a large waste bin. Toby glanced at the bin, and then looked at the table and the books and saw lots of things that he recognised which belonged in his school or at home. “So remember”, said the Director, “do listen to what your parents and teachers say, and be guided by them. They are right – most of the time,” How added with a twinkle of the eye. “Now – time to go to the last outside room where you’ll meet the Leader. It’s red and square, if you are trying to work out where it is and what’s its colour,” the Director added helpfully. “And it’s got a large triangular window.”


9 Leader Out
…acts and builds…
“Here you are,” said the Director, stopping at the doorway into the red room. No sooner had How said that, than out came a very athletic looking figure, dressed in red shorts and a red tee shirt, sweating a lot and looking quite red in the face. As far as Toby could see, the person had climbed into the tent through the triangular window. Appearances can be deceptive, thought Toby knowingly. Maybe this person was not so athletic. Which was all right by him, because Toby really wasn’t athletic himself. The red person was panting heavily, and tried to breath normally. “He – he – hello, you must be Toby. I am rather out of breath, as I have been trying to get some exercise in the desert.” The person sat down on a bench, and motioned to Toby to sit down too. “Phew, that was hard work. So, you’d like to know what I do to help you?” “Yes please,” said Toby. “Well first of all, my name is Leader Out. Why don’t you just call me Leader, as I find people think that just saying Out is a bit funny. And since I’m a bit out of breath, why don’t you tell me what you think I do.”


Toby thought for a moment. “Er, well,” he ventured, “you seem to get exercise and do things. And from your name, you must lead people. But I don’t quite understand that, because other people in this tent seem to be leaders too. A president is a leader, right? And so is a director, and a professor…” “That’s a good observation,” said the Leader. “Phooo – I’ve got my breath back now, so let me explain. Yes, we are all leaders in our own ways, but all good leaders are workers too, trying to do what their followers want, rather than imposing their own ideas. And that’s the sort of leading I try to do.” Toby nodded knowingly – a bit advanced for him, but he had got the idea of what a leader did from Akela in his Cub Scout days. The Leader continued. “Anyway, don’t worry about my title. I’ll tell you about some of the things I help you to do. Basically, I put into action all the things that you thought about or talked about. I am about doing!” Leader Out got up and started to do some wind-down exercises. “I’m doing this,” Out explained, “so that I don’t get cramp in my muscles.” “Do you like exercise?” Out asked Toby. “Not really,” Toby admitted somewhat sheepishly. “Well, I’ll tell you something,” said the Leader, “neither do I. But it’s very important to keep your body fit. If you get all flabby and weak, then all the other parts of your body can’t do what they are meant to do.”


“That’s right,” came a voice. It was the Professor. “If you keep fit, my job of looking after your brain is much easier. Remember the fish oil?” “Prof’’s quite right,” said the Leader, “and while we are on the subject of fish, eating properly is very important for keeping healthy and fit. You don’t want to get overweight. So listen to the Usher. And remember what the Prof. said about drugs and getting drunk. They are my enemies number one and two!” Toby remembered well. “It’s a great pity,” said the Leader, “but some people seem to think that being brainy is more important than being brawny or being practically skilled.” “You do lots of practical things, don’t you Toby?” Toby nodded. Although he was not very athletic, he liked to make models with his hands, he loved riding his bicycle, and he was pretty good at climbing trees – but he was just a little scared of heights. “Well,” said the Leader, “all those things require you to keep your body in good order. And they need a lot of brain power, don’t they Professor?” he called out. “Yes, indeed,” came back the answer. “So when you leave school, Toby, and you think you’d like to be a plumber or a chef, then you go for it. Not everybody has to do more studying. I feel strongly about that, despite what the Professor might say. Toby thought about that for a minute. The Leader was being serious, and seemed very sensible. Professor Hmm kept silent.


“OK,” said the Leader, “let’s talk about something else. Did you know that I’m opposite to Usher In, and I complement him? You can see it in our names, In and Out. My neighbours are also the Director who you have just met, and the Officer, who you have also met. As you can see they both have a say about what I can, or can’t do.” The Leader stopped the wind-down exercises, and looked at Toby. “You’re quite healthy, I see – that’s good, so keep it up. You can help me if you find some sport or activity which you really like, and then just do it!” “Also – if you are good with your hands, if you like making models, juggling fire-sticks, or playing football then practice, practice and keep on practicing. Practice makes perfect – you’ve heard that before, haven’t you?” “And by the way,” Out continued, looking stern, “don’t be a bully, ever. That will make enemies and won’t win you friends. And remember you can bully with words as well as your body. You know another saying about ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?’” Toby nodded. “Well”, said the Leader, “that last bit is not true – words can hurt you very much inside, isn’t that right, President Hey?” “Yes, siree!” said the President from the yellow room. “You just have to listen to some football fans and see what happens!”


“Do you like watching football?” The Leader asked Toby. He nodded again, vigorously. “I support Spurs,” he said proudly. “Tottenham Hotspurs – excellent!” said the Leader. “You can see how much practice they have to put in to being good?” “Yes, I know” Toby said knowingly. “And I like their motto – To Dare is to Do”, continued the Leader, “it sums up my job – to help you be a daring doer! And talking of leaders, have you heard how any one of a football team can act as the leader? That’s how it should be in a good team.” “This is getting a bit like a pep talk I sometimes get at school”, thought Toby – but he could see the point of it, and didn’t mind being reminded. “Are you a fan of Spurs then, Leader?” he said, “Oh”, said the Leader, “I support any football team you do.” “And that reminds me,” the Leader continued, “it’s good to be competitive, but don’t overdo it. Always try to be the best you can, and compete with yourself.” “Hear! Hear!” came a chorus from other parts of the tent. “Oh, and don’t forget to keep washing. Nobody likes a smelly person,” said the Leader.


“You need a wash yourself!” Toby thought to himself, screwing up his face. The Leader ignored the look and went on. “Right, I think that’s enough from me, but I’m sure you’ll want to know what’s on my table and in my pile of books. Take a look.” Toby did, and saw all sorts of stuff for games, tools for working with, and practical books and manuals on how to look after bikes, model-making, and flying airplanes. The one on flying was a book that Toby had been given at Christmas – although he couldn’t really fly, he was into his computer flight simulator program, and was very good at flying in his dreams, he thought! “Well,” said the Leader, “I must have a rest, and so must you. The next and last person you have to meet is Master Am, and he will have quite a lot to say. So follow me.” Toby did so, and found himself back in the central space, where he had met Singer Om. “Nice meeting you,” said the Leader, and shook Toby’s hand. Keep up the good work! The Master will be along in a minute. Just sit down and relax. Bye!” So Toby sat down in the same place as he had done when he met the Singer, crossed his legs, and waited.


10 Master Am
…relates and loves…
As Toby sat waiting for the Master, he didn't feel tired this time, but quite alert. He started to think about all the people he had met – his dream team – and tried to figure out how they all fitted in. A funny crew, they were. He thought about the last four. That crazy lime-green Genie was the creative one. Then there was yellow President Hey who talked and talked. The orange Director showed you the way with a pointy hand-on-astick, and the red Leader looked after your whole body, helping put things into action – walking the talk, as Toby had heard someone say. Toby then thought about how they were all related. Since he liked geometry, he had worked out that there were four square spaces and four triangular ones, with one square space in the middle which seemed to be much bigger, but was probably just the same size. He could figure out in his mind how all of them made an octagon shape, like pieces in a jigsaw. That pleased him greatly! It seemed to him that the people in the four square spaces were the biggies, helping him with watching, thinking, talking, and doing. And the ones in the triangular spaces helped with more specific things that


linked the big ones. They were things like checking, deciding, creating, and directing. And then there was the one in the middle that linked thinking and talking, and that was called reflecting. “I’m doing OK,” thought Toby, “perhaps I’m a genius to have worked that out – maybe I am amazing!” “Yes you are, Toby!” came a voice, like one he had heard before. “You’ve done well. And I’m very glad you remembered to spend a bit of time reflecting. It helps, doesn’t it?” Toby looked around again, expecting to see a figure. But there was none – just the same warm glow in the middle of the room, and the mirrors all around reflecting it. “Hello Toby, it’s me again – but this time my name is Master Am, and my job has changed.” “Uh-oh, getting mysterious again!” thought Toby. “A mystery indeed,” said the Master. “May I come in? Thanks! Now let me ask you a question. Can you guess which rooms I now link?” Toby thought a bit, and suddenly realized where there was a missing link. “I know!” he said, “you must link Leader Out with Usher In – the red and the green spaces. “That’s right. Singer Om and my paths make a cross right in the middle of this room, where the light is. That’s why we seem to be in the same place. And if you take the song the Singer composes, and we sing, that makes three of us altogether!” Three-in-one, like the oil


you use for your bicycle, or a three-leaved clover, or a Jaffa cake – sponge, jelly and chocolate, all in one!” Toby scratched his head. What was the Master on about? This was getting complicated again as well as mysterious! “Don’t worry,” said the Master, “it’s really quite simple. But let me explain what I do. As the Master, I help you to relate to yourself and to other people, and help you to follow the Golden Rule. Do you know what that is?” Toby shook his head. “Well, the rule is to treat others as you would like them to treat you. In a word, I help you to love.” Toby nodded to himself – he could understand that idea, he thought. “But love is one of those words that has been misused, Toby,” continued the Master, knowing what Toby was thinking. “I’m talking about the sort of love that doesn’t require anything in return. Toby, imagine the best of friends you’ve ever had, and who can’t swim. Now I know you can swim – very well. You could risk your life to save that person, if they fell into a river, couldn’t you?” Toby nodded vigorously – he actually had to do that once, but it was in the sea. “Yes – that was very brave. Well – now imagine someone risking, or even giving up their life to help someone who didn’t like them, and who in fact was their enemy.”


Toby screwed up has face. “I don’t think so – I couldn’t do that,” he said. “No,” said the Master, “by yourself you couldn’t, but with my help you could – everything is possible with me – and that’s the sort of love I’m talking about.” “Wow,” said Toby, “that’s weird – loving your enemy!” “Yes, it does seem weird – but it’s the only way to stop making enemies,” said the Master. “But listen, let me give you some practical help on how to start doing this. Part of my job is to help you relate to other people by listening to them properly, trying to understand them, and then doing things that you think will really help them. If that seems to work, great. But if not, you try something different, and see if that helps them. And so on. It’s a process you can call feedback – give and take.” “Like when a teacher says, ‘does that make sense?’ and then helps you when it doesn’t,” Toby thought. The Master went on. “Yes, or you can imagine it’s Usher In and Leader Out having a dance together, each one helping the other to get the steps right.” Toby liked that image, and started to pretend he was dancing with someone else. “I think I see what you mean,” he said. “And you sing a song to keep us together.” “You’ve got it! Brilliant!” said the Master. “But I’m not good at dancing,” said Toby.


“Looks like you’re having a very good try at the moment – and don’t forget, we not only sing the song, but also – because I’m part of you – help to guide your feet and hands and body,” encouraged the Master. “That’s really cool,” said Toby, continuing to waltz around the room with his imaginary partner. The light in the middle seemed to be shaped like a heart, beating in time to his steps. “Bud-om, bud-om, bud-om,” went a gentle sound, coming from everywhere, just like a heartbeat. “That’s great, Toby – but just stop a minute and sit down. I have something important to tell and show you now, because your tour is coming to an end, and you’ll soon have to wake up. It’s quite serious.” Toby sat down and looked at the light, as it continued to pulsate in time with the Master’s voice. The Master continued. “People have different understandings of who I am, who the Singer is, what’s our song, Toby. It’s easier when it comes to the other members of your dream team – their jobs are fairly easy to understand from what they say or do. Their outer spaces represent your body, whereas this inner space represents your soul. When it comes to us and our song, people think it all sounds airy fairy – spirit, love, prayer, silence and all that – and reckon the Usher, the Doctor and all the others on the outside of the tent – your body – can deal with things. But that’s not true.


Toby listened intently, hands on chin, gazing at the light. The Master went on. “It’s fine not to really understand something, but it’s very silly to insist you do, when you don’t. That’s when all sorts of misunderstandings happen, and people fight about what they think is right.” Toby nodded – he remembered fights in his school playground that had started like that. “Yes it is!” “No it isn’t” would go the chants, without anyone knowing what IT really was! The Master continued. “The trouble starts inside you when your dream team don’t cooperate with each other, and think each is more important than the next. It gets really bad when they forget to consult me, and pretend that I don’t even exist. That’s when the trouble really begins, inside you and outside. If the people who live in your tent can’t get on with each other, how on earth are they going to get on with their neighbours?” “Difficult, I’d say,” said Toby, shrugging his shoulders. “Impossible,” said the Master. “You’ve got to start inside you. You know how you can imagine conversations with yourself – with your dream team – about things? Well, that sort of stuff can get out of hand and you work yourself up into a terrible state.” Toby nodded – he knew exactly what the Master meant. Many times he had imagined something someone else had done to him, and got really angry, and wanted to hit out! The Professor’s job had reminded him of that.


“You should always be talking to me, Toby. If you know me, you can know all the others in your dream team. Although you can’t see me in this dream, the Singer, the song and I am the real ones. Toby nodded again. Master Am went on. “One final point, and it’s the most important of all. Unlike the rest of the team, both Singer Om and I are here in your tent, only if you invite us in and ask for help – remember? If you don’t do that, we won’t come in and can’t do our jobs helping you, as much as we would want to. We’ll have to stay outside in the desert looking for other tents in which to stay, and you’ll have to do our jobs yourself using your own spirit as Singer Toby and Master Toby. Believe me – that will be very difficult. In fact, impossible. It may seem to work for a bit, but it won’t last forever. You’ll eventually be getting into trouble! Don’t forget that, OK?” “O…kay…”, said Toby, slowly and very thoughtfully. “Good. Now, when you wake up, your main job in life, if you want to, will be to make us visible and audible. In the real world, although your dream team are just imaginary, people can see them by what you do, or say. And they will only see and hear us if you keep on asking for help. Then they will see how different your dream team is by the way you are kind, fair, helpful, forgiving – all those good values you learn about at home and at school. Then people will say, ‘That Toby’s alright’, and for all the right reasons – and you’ll make some really good friends!”


“That does seem all right,” thought Toby. “What a lot I’ve learnt from my dream team and my yurt tent!” “And you are going to learn a lot more from your cream tea and multicoloured yoghurt!” said the Master with a chuckle. Toby burst into laughter. “Silly! Do you love yoghurt?” he said. “I love everything,” said the Master. “Now, time’s up, you’ve got to come with me. I’ve a few things to show you outside your yoghurt, before you wake up.” Toby giggled, thought he had been poked in the ribs, and stood up. “Are you ready?” said Master Am. “I am,” said Toby.


∞ Never ending
Suddenly, Toby found himself rising from the floor of the tent, getting higher and higher, and eventually passing out through the roof. He was flying again, and now outside in the bright blue sky, looking back down on his house. “I’m looking down on myself,” he thought, “how odd!” But it wasn’t just his tent he was looking at – there were now loads of tents all around, as far as the eye could see. A voice came from within him, which he recognised as the Master’s. “Don’t worry,” said the Master, “I’m still here. Let me explain what’s below. As you can see, that is your tent, right underneath – but all those other tents are your family and friends and everyone in the world. The closer they are, the better you know and love each other.” “Oh!” thought Toby, “I do seem to have quite a few friends.” “Yes” said the Master, “and you’ll have even more if you remember those tips your team told you. And remember I am your best friend, which is why I am in the middle of you!” Toby laughed at the idea.


“But see,” continued the Master, “there are some who are by themselves, with no other tents nearby. People don’t like them, or maybe they don’t like other people – and it’s often because they are different.” “And look over there.” Toby looked, without needing to be shown. “The people in those tents are fighting each other – you can see the coloured laser guns. Again, it’s because they don’t like their differences.” Toby looked into the far distance – there did seem to be a big commotion, with tents burning and collapsing to the ground. It looked like a scene out of Star Wars. Master Am went on. “Now, one thing I want you to understand. Everyone else in the world is like you in that they all have a tent and Ushers, and Doctors, and Professors to help them. But they are all different from you, because their tents are made in different ways, with different fabrics, and their helpers have read different books, and they have different ways of talking to each other. You are all unique, in that sense. And it’s good to be different.” “So we’re all the same, but we’re different? And that’s all good?” queried Toby. “That’s right,” chuckled the Master. “Now watch, I’ll explain something else.” And as Toby watched, the tents, to his astonishment, all started to rise up off the ground, slowly rotating. “Now they really are flying saucers!” thought Toby.


“Much more wonderful than that!” said the Master, reading his thoughts again. And as he said that, all the tents started zooming around up and down, pirouetting around each other, some attracting and merging into one, some seeming to repel others, like magnets. They all seemed to be doing an amazing three dimensional dance. All this movement and colour reminded Toby of an aspen tree outside his bedroom. He had noticed that the round leaves of that tree had very flat stalks, so that with the slightest wind, they fluttered and bounced around. And in autumn, they turned wonderful colours. “Yes, they are all a bit like the leaves on that tree,” said the Master. “It’s a good image – because in the same way that the leaves on a tree are attached to branches on the same trunk, all those tents are attached to me. And I am also in the middle of each one!” “Which means,” continued the Master “that there is a little bit of you as well as me in everyone else and all the more reason for you to be nice to your friends, and even the people you don’t know, or may not like you, and who are different from you!” Toby’s head was reeling. “Are you still around when I’m being bad?” he asked. “And if I am bad, are you being bad?” he said as an afterthought. “No,” laughed the Master, “I’m just waiting for you to ask me for help, so that you and your dream team can stop being bad. I can even help you to like people that don’t like you. I can help you to feel happy when you are feeling sad. You just have to ask!”


“That’s cool,” said Toby, still trying to take it all in. “Now it’s time for you to wake up Toby – enough to learn from one dream!” said the Master, “but don’t forget, if you want, I am with you always, everywhere, all the time. So you can always call on me for help, like a best friend. Remember that, will you?” Toby nodded vigorously. And with that, he suddenly awoke up with a start and found himself looking up at his bedroom ceiling again, just as he had when he went to bed. But it was no longer grey as it was when he had fallen asleep – now there was a bright rainbow of colours on it. Morning had broken, and the sun was streaming in through his bedroom window. A beam had passed through the prism that Toby had been given as a birthday present, and which he kept on his windowsill. The prism had broken the light into all colours of the spectrum which were now painted across the ceiling. And on the walls the sunlight was dappled with the shadow of tree leaves dancing around outside the window, as if applauding the performance of the sun. All this movement and colour immediately brought back memories of the extraordinary dream Toby had just had. “I now know how I work – I’m amazing! Who will be my next friend, and what will I dream of next?” he thought, looking out of the window. He felt very alive, awake and extremely happy. And from within him, a familiar voice spoke again, “I’m still here, Toby! – may I stay?”



The Octaikon educational model.


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