Try and Try Again

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image credit

My grandmother tried to teach me to knit.

My mother tried to teach me to knit.

My teacher at school tried to teach me to knit.

But all I ended up with was a web of cross-threaded-holes and a ball of tangled wool.

Time  and time again my mentor would untangle the wool, repeat the knitting instructions and offer these wise words:

If at first you don’t succeed, 
try, try again. 

The origin of these words is the well-known legend of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland in the Middle Ages.

The legend as now told was first published by Sir Walter Scott in ‘Tales of a Grandfather’. Published  in 1828, almost 500 years after the death of Robert the Bruce, the book is available as a free download in several formats here.
However. the download seems to have very poor formatting so I purchased a corrected version for 99p from the Kindle Store and I enjoyed reading it.

Robert the Bruce: Public Domain via Wikicommons
Robert the Bruce: Public Domain via Wikicommons

Eventually I learned to knit.

As a left-hander herself, my aunt realised that my problems were spatial and she set about showing me how she managed the knitting needles and the wool.

It didn’t happen overnight but by the time I was thirteen I’d mastered the craft sufficiently to knit my half of a pair of bootees for a new baby sister.

I’ve done very little knitting since then apart from the front of a sweater which after about six months I passed over to my mother for completion. But the wise words have stayed with me and I’ve come to regard perseverance, persistence and determination as personality traits to emulate and admire.

image credit
image credit

If you want to read free and low priced Classics but don’t want the expense of buying a Kindle, just go to this page on the Amazon site and download the free app for your preferred device: iPad, phone, tablet, laptop, PC etc.

Thanks for reading my blog today.


Catch me on Twitter most days at @spurwing_ or on my website blog.


2 thoughts on “Try and Try Again

  1. If at first you don’t succeed…– then you have the wrong teacher, or are lacking insight. I see that until you found a left-handed teacher you were doomed to fail. “Try, try, try again” is very often very bad advice. Trying many times and failing often destroys self-esteem and leads to disaster. It’s best to stop trying until you understand what the basic problem is.


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