Three is a magic number.

Can you hear your mother counting down the time left until unnamed but dreadful forces will compel you to do what you haven’t done yet? Your personality might have made you immediately hop to at “1.” Or (like me) you might have waited until the last possible moment before her lips formed that dreaded last number—

—Which was, and will remain for all time, the number three.  “1 . . . 2 . . . 3!”

Never has a mother anywhere given four seconds or five.

Similarly, everyone engaged in moving something heavy, hoists together, not on “1” or “2,” but “3.” Without argument or consultation, “heave” happens on “3.”

Goldilocks is confronted by the three bears with their three bowls of porridge at varying temperatures.  Only with the third does she find the perfect one.

The very bad wolf huffs and puffs and blows down two of the pigs’ homes before being foiled by the solid brick structure of #3.

The prince makes two failed tries up the ice mountain before rescuing the princess on #3.

Two of Cinderella’s sisters fail at getting their hefty feet into the glass slipper, but on attempt #3, Cindy slips it gracefully on.

Three is a triangle with three points and three sides. The formula for a right  triangle is the basis for the pyramids of Egypt.

For Pythagoras, famous ancient mathematician, the number three was the key to all the hidden mysteries of the universe.

Isaac Newton: The Three Laws of Motion

Isaac Asimov: The (original) Three Laws of Robotics

No artist would be happy with two elements in a grouping.

Three is:

  • the family—mother, father, and child;
  • the Three Wise Men who visited the infant Jesus (with their three gifts);
  • the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and
  • the three primary gods of Hindu mythology—Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the keeper of reality, and Shiva, the destroyer.

The multiples of 3 come up 3 times in each set of 10 (3,6,9, etc.) And 3 x 6 (another multiple of 3) is 18, a special number in Judaism.

All of life depends on three types of molecules—DNA, RNA, and proteins. The structure of DNA is made of three combinations of molecules.

All this “three” stuff began when I randomly noticed there are three beautiful shells in my home that are special treasures.

One, from a dear friend, lives in my newly created little pond, nestled among stones and an old water pump.

One was a spontaneous gift from a Bahamian woman I met years ago in her little island home, who told how she had almost drowned at the age of 84 and had to swim two miles in the strong currents to survive.

The third shell is the one that sat on the glass top of my grandmother’s porch coffee table for most of my early years of life. I never failed to lift it to my ear when I visited Granny, listening with wonder to the mystery of the whistling wormhole to the sea.

So, that led to the ruminations on the magic number three, which is imprinted into us, perhaps in our cells, and which every writer worth her salt knows is important in telling a satisfying story.

T.K. Thorne writes books that take her wherever her imagination flies. 

About T. K. Thorne

T.K. is a retired police captain who writes books, which, like her blog, roam wherever her interest and imagination take her.
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5 Responses to Three

  1. Becky Hanks says:

    I love this “three”. And I am told to decorate my home with “groups of three”. But when I look up to check on my compliance, I see groups of four. What’s up with that!

  2. Great post, T.K. Interesting info on the number 3. I also enjoyed reading about your three shells. I love shells. I have them all over the house and on the patio. When I was six years old, we were vacationing in Florida. My dad gave me a quarter to buy a souvenir. I bought a small vase covered in shells. That vase is 65 years old, and it sits on my bookshelf in my bedroom.

  3. T. K. Thorne says:

    Thanks Kathleen! Wow, that is an old vase, but I understand! How many hours did little feet sink into wet sand, while little fingers snatched shells. I have several in a terrarium and every now and then “discover” them anew!

  4. T. K. Thorne says:

    LOL! You were never great at “compliance.”

  5. Mary Anne Freeman says:

    TK, this was fun, informative and educational. That’s YOU!

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