Kari Elisabet Svare is a Norwegian writer, artist and storyteller. She lives in a green valley surrounded by flowers, vegetables, berries and birds. In her stories, poems and books she writes about human potential, togetherness, caring and sharing. She also has been writing about societal issues in newspapers. Kari Elisabet has written 4 books in Norwegian.

We met Kari Elisabet through events organised by Alba – a Nordic storytelling community that we are part of. The following story was given as a gift and we decided to share it with you too. Enjoy!




This is the story about a woman, a small, grey-haired woman. Her hair under her headscarf looked like silver when the sun or the moon shone on it. She had a husband, a short man with ball-shaped stomach, which became brown during woodcutting in the summertime. The two of them lived in a small white house with pink frames and windows that looked out on the world in a friendly way. The man and the woman loved each other and the house, and the garden with apple trees, and marigolds, and that was a fairytale in itself.

Perhaps you would think that the lovely garden and charming house created an atmosphere of constant happiness?  Ah, unfortunately not, but it was seldom so. The woman could be sad and sorry at times… and even think miserable thoughts. Sometimes it was too quiet and sometimes she became bored. Their children had grown up and moved away. They lived their own lives, as grown up children should. Once, they had filled the garden with joy and laughter. Now, they were busy with serious matters in other places. But luckily, grown up children can get children of their own, who renew life and love.

The old couple had two grandchildren of a kind, a boy and a girl. They came to visit once in a while. When the children came, they liked to pick big buckets of dandelions or sit in their grandma’s lap and eagerly beg for fairytales and old time stories, when the small and grey-haired woman was a child herself. The grandchildren asked about everything you could think of!

“Does somebody else live in universe?”, they would ask. “In such an enormous room there must be plenty of space for everyone and everything.” And they wondered: ”Can the autumn get messed up and come instead of spring?” Or they asked: “Can crazy trees grow with the roots up and the top down, just for fun?” They wondered if people got their feet full of blisters in old times, because then, they had to walk if they wanted to go somewhere, did they not? Nobody drove the old woman here and there when she was a child. Most people did not have a car… They had never even seen one! Except for photos in the local paper. One day the children asked:

“What is happiness grandma?


By Kari Elisabet Svare


The three of them sat on the doorstep. The ginger colored cat rubbed itself up against their legs. They felt the warmth of the sun. The lilacs spread a delightful smell, and the words came softly: “I have got a special place”, the old woman said.

“Inside the forest there is a calm and shimmering lake. The pine trees grow high around it like a thick wall. The trees kind of guard and watch over the secret lake. Only a few rays of sunshine slip through their dense branches. The forest floor lives in shadows and everything happens in its own time…

The lake is a mirror for blue and grey, the glittering sun, the drifting skies and the pale moonlight. At night, it reflects the heavens above. One by one the sparks are lit by unknown hands. In early mornings the fog drifts across the surface and in between the trunks.

Deep inside the forest I find the most peaceful silence and the most joyful singing. The lake has a little shore full of small, smooth stones, very good to hold in your hands. 

Sometimes I go there. I sit on the shore and just look and listen… Then, I take out my small bag, open it and fill it up with peace while the wind whispers. I fill my bag with safety, because deep in that forest there is neither threat nor danger and nothing can hurt me. I let my bag be filled with rejoicings from the birds that sing for the only reason of being alive. When my bag is full, I tie it up. And if I feel sad for no reason, or maybe if I have a reason to feel bad, I just loosen the ribbon around and let out a little bit of happiness… Sometimes,  just a little was needed to turn a grey day into a brighter one.”

Then she took a silk bag out of her pocket. It was fastened with a golden string. She loosened it carefully and opened her bag slightly. And the little girl and the little boy could feel perfectly well the harmony and happiness, as they sat close together on the doorstep with a grandma they loved.

With love from Kari Elisabet Svare


This story was empowered by Metaphora. We can also  mediate your story or help you to craft a story that suits your needs. Contact us for more details or get to know more about us by following Metaphora on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.


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Paulo de Tarso F. Silva

Story mediator and founder of Metaphora