This ball of twine is your life.
March 30, 2014 3:45 AM   Subscribe

I remember reading a short story or folk tale about a man who had a ball of string. Whenever something boring was happening, he could just pull out some of the string and fast forward to the more interesting parts of his life. I read it around 1991, and it may have been Isaac Singer. Does anyone have a source for this tale?
posted by mecran01 to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Could it have been "The Magic Thread"? (Answer found here.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:22 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It would appear there are multiple versions floating about, but I like the one where the holder of the magic thread doesn't get a second chance! I'm also hoping for a version that precedes William Bennet's use in the book of "virtues." Thanks.
posted by mecran01 at 5:47 AM on March 30, 2014

Response by poster: Here's a version from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.
posted by mecran01 at 11:24 AM on March 30, 2014

Response by poster: Metafilter: It's the magic thread.
posted by mecran01 at 8:27 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On subsequent searching, I found this:
The illustrations were done in a style i had never seen before, almost as if they were oil paintings, all of which had a sort of menace about the to a lesser or greater degree depending on which story they were attached too. One such story was about a little boy who had a sister who "might" have been bored with life when apon a which appeared before him and offered him a ball which held a golden thread that when he pulled on it would make him grow a little or greater bit older and that he would move through to later events in his life in the blink of an eye. he also had a sister... The little boy, impatient eventually came to the end of the golden string but instead of dieing, return to the moment which the witch initially gave him the ball of string.
Answered as The Golden Thread: Japanese Stories for Children, published in 1968. Available from Amazon.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:02 PM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

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