Greenhill Grammar school, Oldham




T H E     G R E E N H I L L I A N  

No. 6  December 1957

The Magazine of



Editor :

Foreword by the Headmaster


When I was invited to introduce this latest edition of the school magazine I was given a free hand.  My introduction therefore is divided, like ancient Gaul, into three parts.  Firstly I congratulate the contributors who have said with the poet Bridges:

"I too will something make,
  And joy in the making."

Secondly I would commend the magazine to its readers as a record of the full and varied life of the school, as evidence that education today is far more than teaching and learning within the confines of classrooms and laboratories.

Thirdly, I want to tell a simple story, which I call




The chieftain of a distant tribe was visited in his dreams by a Spirit who bade him send forth his son, a restless, dissatisfied youth, to travel far in space and time, to discover for himself how men would live in the tomorrow.  The chieftain called his son to him and told him what he had dreamed.  The son was pleased, for he had long been impatient of the life he led.  "Go now," said his father, "and return to me when you think you have gained wisdom."  The son departed, and journeyed as the Spirit had commanded through many leagues of space and many centuries of time.  At length he returned to his father, much changed in his demeanour and, touching his forehead to the ground, said, "O, father, I have returned at last as you bade me, much wiser than I went hence.  Let me tell you of some of the things that I have seen."

And he told how he had come to an island in the west, where people dwelt as numberless as the stars in heaven.  They dwelt, he said, in places called towns where the paths were hard and broad enough for six pairs of oxen to go abreast.  But there were neither oxen nor horses, but only chariots with rumbling devils inside them, bearing men and women and children who had almost forgotten how good it was to walk.
"Strange people they were," he said, "with much magic."  He told how men could talk with other men far away without need of drums or smoke.  He spoke of great silver birds with mortals in their bellies, flying faster than the eagle; of monstrous iron dragons speeding with noise and smoke across the land; of messages that travelled without a messenger; of light imprisoned in a glass, that came and went at man's command.

"The men and women laboured not in the fields and the forests, which were far away, but in great buildings with many eyes, wherein, to me, all was bewilderment, and few saw what they had made.  When their work was done, they went forth to seek their pleasure, which many found, not in contemplation, but in being herded like cattle in a vast place to watch huge images of men and women whom they seemed to worship. In their dwellings also they sat by families worshipping other gods and goddesses, these no higher than a man's hand, who dwelt in a box with a magic face, making strange signs and frightening sounds.  On certain days they came in their thousands and their tens of thousands to a place where there was a patch of ground and there they watched other gods, in human shape and quaintly garbed, join battle striking a leathern sphere with feet and heads. And there was a great tumult."

The young man paused. "Much more could I tell you, my father," he said, "but my heart grew sick, for it seemed to me that these men worshipped too many gods, all in the likeness of themselves, and they were confused and knew not what they did. I yearned to be among our people who are masters of themselves and servants of their one god, not the slaves of magic.  I will walk the paths that I know, and see the sky and the trees, and know that life is good.

"Tell me, father, have I gained the wisdom that you sent me forth to find?"

The father smiled at his son, for he was well pleased.