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The People lived in a giant Tent in clans with the children kept in the center,protected from the evils of outside. The People divided into two camps: One the Reps;the other Dems. Each camp put forth its champion to serve as Legislators, who circled the Tent as protectors. Each camp argued fiercely to promote their champion. The Legislators had a Queen to govern and nine Sages, wearing robes, who augured omens to guide the People.There were two great evils: Poverty and Ignorance. The Legislators heard a great noise outside the Tent, its walls flapping. Ignorance and Poverty pressed outside, seeking an opening inside. The People cried:‘What can we do?' The Sages spoke: “Ignorance and Poverty will prevail unless we teach our children well. The People must stand together to safeguard their instruction." But the Greatest Evil of all was believed to be a Camel: described by Dems and Reps alike as the master of all Evil. The glutenous Camel was always trying to enter. By ancient lore, if the Camel gained entry, the People would perish from want of food and sustenance, and the Camel embodied the twin humps of Ignorance and Poverty. The People and their rulers Feared the Camel the most.Hearing the great noise, the Ruler inspected and said: “The great noise is Poverty and Ignorance. We must each tithe an equal amount,a mere morsel, to safe keep our children and instruct them well.”The Legislators convened and agreed; they must approve a tithe. But one man said, ‘A common tithe is unfair! Why should a single mother be asked to put forth the same tithe to buy shoes for her children as the wealthiest? If the threat of Ignorance and Poverty is common to us all, then the burden must be fairly shared, at least for education”. ‘Bah!’ cried the Reps. ‘This voice is not the voice of a man; it is the Camel speaking! If we do as it asks, then the Nose of the Camel will gain entry to our Tent and we will all perish!!’ ‘Bah’, cried the Dems as loudly as the Reps, for they Feared the Nose of the Camel far more than anything. They shouted: ‘it is the Camel speaking; it is the Camel’s Nose!’. And they stoned the protestor into silence.But the Camel had snuck into the Tent as the Queen returned; the Legislators too busy wringing their hands to see. The Camel, now safely within the Tent,commanded, ‘feed me!’ And the People had to line up and each offer a morsel to the Camel. The wealthiest were unconcerned. A morsel for a pair of shoes was nothing. ‘What is a mere morsel?’, they all nodded. Single mothers hesitated. They had no hoard; no ‘mere’ morsels, only precious ones. But their rulers gave them no choice. And they wept as they each gave a morsel to the Camel. And the Camel, fed by the morsels from single mothers, snuggled down with the children in the center of the Tent, having sated its Greed, secure that Fear would protect it, and felt its humps of Ignorance and Poverty grow.
January 12, 2012 at 10:26 a.m.
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