Much of The Netherlands is close to or below sea level, making it susceptible to inundation by sea after periods of storms and heavy rains. Man-made dykes are used to hold the water back, and the alertness from a young boy who spotted a dyke leak while he was on his way to school, and his bravery to do something about it prevented the dyke from being breached, thus his awareness to act in this dire situation saved many lives. In 1865, Mary Mapes Dodge wrote some stories about Holland which she told in the book Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland. Hans Brinker who is an unnamed Dutch boy in her book, is able to save his country by putting his finger in a leaking dike. The Little Dutch Boy may have arrived at an opportunistic time, but when a dike is about to break, a finger plugging up a tiny hole just won’t be enough to save an entire town. Dikes don’t typically leak, they weaken until whole sections are washed away, but if they do happen to spring a leak, then one leak leads to another, and the boy only has so many fingers. The Dutch are fond of this work of fiction, and they have erected statues of the Boy and his Finger around their country.
A tiny crack, or a small hole can grow bigger and even if it does not initially look like a problem, it could develop into a life-threatening situation, so Hans did what he thought was right, as a stitch in time saves nine. Once you notice something that can be a potential problem, it is best to try and resolve it immediately, as otherwise it may create a lot of extra work for you later. If you get to close to a black hole and go beyond the event horizon, or if you notice a rip in the fabric of the space-time continuum, then it is probably already too late for you to try and do anything about it, so just grab your ankles and kiss your ass goodbye. Don’t be lazy, if you see something, then say something, you can’t live your life passing everything by and figuring that it is somebody else’ problem. If you see a weed growing in your garden, take the time to pluck it out, before it breeds seven more new weeds and your garden becomes overrun by weeds.
Written for Fandango’s February Expressions FFE Daily Adage – A stitch in time saves nine.