Our region of Central Asia was, until recently, quite isolated. Middle-aged men can still remember clearly the first time they ever saw a banana, for example. One of our close believing friends grew up in a rural village outside of our previous city. He told us a story once of the first ever radio to come to the village, probably in his grandfather’s time.
A man from the village who worked in the city returned one day, bearing an amazing gift. He had bought a radio in the big city and now proudly presented it to the village.
“Now you can listen to news from all over the world!” he proudly announced as the village elderly and children crowded around the radio, listening in amazement.
The villagers listened to the radio all day, exclaiming to one another how amazing it was that there was a small man inside that little box who was able to so enthusiastically read out the world news to them. “What will those city people think of next?” The man who had brought the radio had to return to the city, so he left the radio in the care of a village elder, the power still turned on and the box chattering away.
When night came, the village elder was faced with a dilemma. He did not know how to get the little man in the radio box to be quiet and go to sleep. He tried to tell the man it was time to sleep. No luck. He tried shouting into the box. Still no response. He tried putting the radio under a blanket. Nothing. Eventually the elder rounded up others from the village and presented them with his dilemma. What was to be done? The little man in the radio box showed no sign of getting sleepy or of stopping talking any time soon. None of them would be able to get any sleep if they could not convince the little man to shut up.
Finally, one villager had an idea. “I know what we should try!” And he promptly took the small radio to a barrel full of water and immersed it. Sure enough, when he pulled the radio out of the water, the man inside had stopped talking.
The villagers congratulated themselves. “Our clever relative who works in the city neglected to tell us this important piece of information. How embarrassing for him! Won’t he be impressed when he sees that all on our own we figured out the trick of putting the little man to sleep!”
And with grateful congratulations all around, the villagers happily settled into a quiet night of sleep.