The Fable of Dewey and Google

Once upon a time there was a shy and gentle man called Dewey Decimal. He spent nearly all of his time reading, doing crosswords and playing games with his children. Of course he had some social pursuits, but he didn’t like parties much and he rarely acted on impulse. Sometimes, to liven up his weekends, he would try a sudoku. Usually he wore shabby corduroys, old tweed blazers and thin striped ties. His children adored him and he would often tell them stories that would bring a faraway look to their eyes.
Google It 2Then a new person moved in next door. She was a vivacious woman who wore large dangling earrings and played loud music with a funky beat. Friendly and approachable, she dazzled the children with her sparkling smile and the sheer speed of her conversation. In her modern and elegant house, there was a huge flat-screen plasma television. She seemed to own every conceivable gadget.

All the stories that Dewey told seemed suddenly as old and shabby as his clothes. His children would sit staring at their new neighbour’s face, asking her questions and watching her screen for hours. They loved everything about her. Even her name was cool. She was called Google It.

For a while, Dewey Decimal was very sad. His children seemed to have forgotten him completely. He missed their chirpy little voices. Sometimes he found himself thinking that even their squabbles were preferable to his solitude. His beloved crosswords lost their charm and his weekend sudoku became a chore rather than a pleasure.

Dewey wondered whether he should buy some new clothes and try to update his record collection. He contemplated giving up his crosswords and taking up some hobby that would catch his children’s imagination. What could he do to bring his children back to their home? Whenever he saw them, he offered to tell them a story, hoping that they would be as eager to hear him as they had once been. Usually, however, they were in a hurry to visit Google.

Dewey was not a jealous man. He was happy that his children had a new friend, but he felt that he couldn’t bear to lose them for ever.

Then one night there was a storm. A tree fell on Google’s power cable, shutting down all her gadgets and plunging her house into darkness. Unfazed, she used her mobile to call Emergency Services and sent the children home, where they would be safe.

The children were disappointed, of course, but they cheered up when they found their father, as always, seated by the fire. He greeted them warmly and asked them humbly if they would like to hear a story. They looked back with longing at Google’s house. It was still dark. For this night they realised they would have to make do with their father’s stories.

They settled down to hear him as once again he wove his magic. It was such a long time since they had heard their father’s stories that they had almost forgotten how wonderful they were. This time they were enthralled. In the glow of the fire they listened, seeing the story in their minds as he spoke. When it was over, they heaved a sigh. If only stories didn’t have to end!

Then they remembered the storm and glanced through the window at Google’s house. The lights were back on. The electric cable must have been fixed. They could go back!

But instead they looked with affection at their kindly, clever father and the youngest child said, “Tell us one more story, Dad.”

After that the children spread their time between their fascinating new neighbour, Google It, and their father Dewey. And as they grew their eyes were like stars, their minds were filled with wisdom and there was joy in their hearts.

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17 thoughts on “The Fable of Dewey and Google

  1. tinah55 says:

    Hi again Ros,
    just a quick warning, u may recieve lots of comments from me
    sorry i really miss history, geography can’t compare 🙁
    so i’m trying to like self learn history with the aid of all ur blogs, obviously.

    i find it very humourous that decimal is dewey’s last name.
    but other then that, WOW!
    this story is amazing! did u make it up? if u didn’t, well done on telling it
    so well 🙂 if u did, WOW!

    i think this story would definetly benift many children who, as u once said, barley alive unless there on a computer. Google, though posses many advanced and very hi tech gadgets can neva replace wat dewey can give.
    neva underestimate the power of things from before, we had laptops and cell phones and ipods.

    but i think the most important message in this is (total guess), even though it’s a great thing that people (the children) can do and posses so many new and fancy hi tech things these days (google) , we hould neva forget and learn form all the great things the past has to offer us (dewey), as u said on ur blog post.

    Tina
    p.s most of da things i said on this post may not be correct, like
    da message of this story could be totally different, but yeah still love
    the story 😉

  2. rosgreen says:

    Hey Tina! Thank you for reading my story. I did write it and I’m glad you liked it. You see, I come from the time of books, books, books. As a child I sat on Dewey’s knee and heard his stories (figuratively speaking) and I don’t want the children of today to miss that, even though Google is such a lovely, fast-thinking and helpful woman! You have understood what I meant in the story very well. In fact, you may have interpreted it better than I could have done. You are a thinker, a dreamer and a philosopher!
    Kind regards, Ros.

  3. tinah55 says:

    awww it’s really nice of u to say that Ros.
    but interperte it beta then u is impossible!
    i wonder if philosophy is a subject i could take.. hmmmm

    well done! on writing such an insightful and metaphorical story!
    see, this is why i want to get the chance to learn english from you.
    u should really get 7E and the rest of the whole school to read it.
    u r very lucky to come from a time of books, books, and books.
    some ‘young people’ these days have seem to lost the joy of reading,
    and with all the internet and ipods and mobile phones some of them
    will never even discover the joy. it’s really sad.
    hope 7E enjoy this story as much as i did
    Tina

  4. Steven says:

    hehe good story. books and computers working together.
    somtimes i find the internet more handy coz it quicker than going to the library. but there is some pretty dodgey stuff out there

  5. rosgreen says:

    Thanks, Steven, you sound like a discerning reader of the internet. I love the internet too but I just wanted to write some propaganda in favour of the old ways!
    Ms Green

  6. juliakfc says:

    The legendary pilgrimage back to the History Blog.
    I miss history.
    Do we get to do history all of next year?
    Are you taking us next year?
    Can you request us?
    Ms Cohen requested us for music.
    You can too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Tina says:

    lol
    hey Tarli/gtami,

    maybe u should have used ur real names,
    imagine the confussion of certain people

  8. juliakfc says:

    ms green, i really wanna do Charlie Chaplin for Night of da Notables but ms Goodwin doesnt seem to agree… I really need to get started because i will be away for 4 to 5 weeks (holidays and start of term 4) and i am coming back the wednesday 6 days before the night! So mine’s probably gonna be rushed and crappy! I might not even have anything done by the time i have to leave! I pretty much only have 3 weeks to do it!
    PLEASE HELP I AM FREAKING OUT!

    PS Grev didn’t give me the crochet hook. 🙁 He said i should ask someone who doesnt go crazy when i mention the C word!

  9. rosgreen says:

    Dear Goutami,
    Perhaps you should ask Ms Goodwin why she isn’t certain about your choice and advance some arguments to further your cause. Do a little bit of research and make a list of reasons why you think Charlie Chaplin would be a good choice. Then show it to Ms Goodwin. She is a very kind and reasonable person and she probably just wants to make sure you’ve thought about your choice.

    About the crochet hook – I failed to give it to Grant. It’s not his fault at all. It’s mine! I’ll bring it on Monday.
    Kind regards,
    Ms Green.

  10. juliakfc says:

    im jus worried that i wont get enough done because of the little time i have…
    I pretty much only have until the end of term to do it because i suffer really bad jet lag so i wont get much time when i get back… maybe two or three days at the most.
    And i havent got my person right

  11. Evangeline Yong says:

    Dear Ms. Green,

    You are a wonderful writer and you have portrayed the ideas of a balance between the old and new ways in such a beautiful and clever way! I really think you should be a writer or English teacher :)!

    I realised the analogy when I read the comments of other people about your story. Speaking of Dewey Decimal, I actually came across him when I read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and found that the narrator was taught using the system called ‘Dewey Decimal’. I also discovered that it is a way of classifying literature. Is that where you got the idea of drawing a parallel books and the ‘old way’ to Dewey Decimal?

    Evangeline

  12. Ms Green says:

    Dear Evangeline,
    Thank you very much for your kind and perceptive response.

    I can’t believe that you have already read “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I remember that part in the novel too, but I don’t think that’s what caused me to write the story.

    I think what inspired it was one of my year nines telling me she had no idea how to find a book in a library. She was very bright and a keen reader, so it wasn’t that she had never used books. At the time I said to her, “Haven’t you ever met Dewey Decimal? He’s a very nice man.” I was only joking, but the idea came to me then.

    The other reason that I wrote the story was to encourage my students to realise that books still represent a tried and true method of gaining knowledge and information. Armed with the knowledge a book gives, you can make much more intelligent demands upon that friendly Google woman. So in a sense the story is a piece of propaganda too.

    You write very well yourself, you know. I do actually teach English too but History is my first love. Just like books! (But as you can tell from my blogs, Google and I are pretty close pals.)
    Kind regards,
    Ms Green

  13. Sean says:

    hi Ms. Green,

    For the new assignment, on the 3rd option to write a story, could we make Emit Repoons go to Medieval Europe?

    How is Dewey Decimal and Google related to our Medieval Europe topic? I’m not really sure how the two things are related.

    Also, I’m not sure when the assignment is due.

    Sean

  14. Ms Green says:

    Dear Sean,
    Of course Emit can go to Europe. That little alien can go anywhere! That’s fine with me.

    “Dewey Decimal” and “Google It” aren’t really related to Medieval Europe. They are just characters in a little story that I wrote to try to encourage my students to believe that books are worthwhile and that the internet is not the only way to find things out. Books are the old way and they’ve still got a lot going for them. But of course I am not completely discounting the power of that dazzling young person, Google It!

    I’d like to take up the assignment the week after next. It doesn’t have to be as long as the last one; keep it short and snappy.

    See you tomorrow!
    Kind regards,
    Ms Green

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