A CRYSTAL BALL
by Yoko Ono
A family: father, mother and a young son lived in a hut at the
bottom of a steep mountain. A group of armed men, one night,
paid a sudden visit to them. A guy with a large pipe in his
mouth pointed to the little boy who was still playing in the
front yard and said “Let’s take that boy with us”. The couple
begged for mercy.
The Pipe squinted his eyes for a moment. “Okay, here’s a bomb.
If the boy carries it up the mountain without exploding, he’s
The parents were devastated. The father took the mother to the
side and whispered, “Let’s put up a fight and die together”.
Mother was silent for a while. It seemed like a long time.
“Give me one more chance,” she said quietly. She then asked the
Pipe if she could just follow her boy from behind. “I just want
to be there for him”. “Hey, that’s double or nothing”. The Pipe
turned to his men. Numbers were thrown back and forth amongst
them for a while, clearly to change their bets.
The mother took the bomb from the Pipe’s hand and went out to
her son in the yard. “Baby,” she said in a hushed voice, “I
love you. I know you love mommy and daddy”. The boy nodded.
“Listen very carefully now. Here’s something that means a lot
to our family. Take this up the mountain and when you get to
the top, put it down very carefully on the ground. Remember,
this is something very delicate, so you don’t want to drop it.
Be extra careful when you put it down on the ground. Even a
little shake might cause some harm”.
The boy nodded again, took the bomb in his small hands and
started to walk up the narrow passage alongside the mountain.
It was a very long night.
He finally reached the top and placed the bomb on the ground.
The mother rushed to him and hugged his tiny body. “I’m sorry,
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, you had to go through this. But you did
it. You’re alive. It’s safe now. We’re free! It was a bomb, you
know. A bomb!”
“Mommy, it’s a crystal ball”.
“No, no, baby. A crystal ball? How could you say such a thing?
It’s a bomb. Look!” The woman pointed out to the bomb on the
ground. The sun was just rising from the back of the mountain.
“But mommy, it IS crystal”.
She took a second look at the round object.
In the morning light she saw that it was now a crystal ball.
‘A Crystal Ball’ was written because I wrote ‘Surrender to
Peace’. When ‘Surrender to Peace’ came out in the papers, I
suddenly got tons of letters from one high school. I was
thinking, “What is this, what’s happening at this high school?”
I found out they had a social science class where as a project
the teacher read ‘Surrender to Peace’ and the homework was to
write a letter to me about what they thought of that. So they
all wrote to me, and I thought I can’t answer all these
letters, each one of them. Then, I was just sort of inspired to
write a story, and I wrote this story, and sent it to them
saying, “This is in reply to your letters”. yoko
‘A Crystal Ball’ was first published in the liner notes of the
1984 album ‘Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him’.
Artwork shown above:
POINTEDNESS Yoko Ono 1964
THIS SPHERE WILL BE A SHARP POINT WHEN IT GETS
TO THE FAR CORNERS OF THE ROOM IN YOUR MIND
Crystal sphere on Plexiglass pedestal
Photo by John Bigelow Taylor
©2002 Yoko Ono