Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fable For Our Time

Once upon a time, there was a fierce dragon. The dragon had slept and ignored the kingdom on his border for eons out of mind. When he occasionally awoke, he hunted the animals in his own woods, finding them good sport and delicious in the eating.

Now, the dragon would have been content to live in this manner for the rest of time, but one day the king sent hunting parties into the woods of a neighboring dragon, depleting the most delicious animals for his own table. Now, the original dragon was having none of that, so he decided to make sure that the king would never do it again. To achieve that goal, the next time he awoke to hunt and eat, he flew over the castle while the king was concentrating on his pet goat, and destroyed two of its towers and picked off the king's youngest daughter. He flew to the top of the highest remaining tower, and while all of the inhabitants of the castle looked on with horror, he tore her to bits and ate her.

The king was appalled, as who can wonder. His court and subjects had great sympathy for him and sought him out, offering to help him in any way. Even the people in other kingdoms, some so far away he had hardly heard of them before, expressed horror at what the dragon had done and offered help. He didn't tell them that he had been sending his hunters into a neighboring dragon's woods, he acted like the entire attack was a dreadful surprise. And then he came up with a plan -- since the dragon liked the taste of young girls, he would send them to a kingdom that the king did not like anyway under escort of drummers and with flags waving so that the dragon would see them and not need to come to the castle and threaten the princesses, who were, after all, the only young girls who mattered to the king. So, every day the king chose a young girl to send. He sent farmers' daughters. He sent merchants' daughters. He sent the daughters of his knights and armsmen. He sent the daughters of his servants. But he never sent the daughters of his court or any of the really rich merchants who lived in the town around the castle.

And everyday the dragon feasted on young girl, because after all they are delicious and I never said that he was a good or kind dragon; just a fierce one. And since he was already feasting in the kingdom that the king did not like anyway, he often feasted also on the young girls of that kingdom. Some of them were peasant girls, but some of them were the daughters of the powerful, but since the king kept sending his offerings, the dragon continued to feast. He quite forgot the taste of wild beast and the thrill of the hunt.

And the king said, "See, my strategy works. We feed the dragon there, so that we need not feed him here."

In A Nutshell follows.

5 comments:

Tabor said...

Excellent! You can start your own Aesop's anthology.

Anvilcloud said...

That's quite an allegory.

Rain said...

I find it offensive also. Good fairy tale with a moral which is the best kind-- unfortunately a lot who want to save themselves by sacrificing others likely would never get it

Winston said...

Somewhere around the mid-point I saw that one coming. You didn't even have to name names or identify places or groups. Great job!

J said...

Well, isn't that a cheerful little ditty. Bad King. Bad dragon. Bad bad bad.