My Turn: Another contemporary fable

Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2003

Here's my try at a fable: In the Great Woods lived many creatures such as squirrels, bunnies and chipmunks. Each day, they would gather acorns and nuts for their families. But an Evil Bear began to demand tribute from the little creatures. Those who refused were eaten alive.

Wearily, the little creatures left to find a new forest home with personal liberty, private property and the right to bear arms. The little creatures prospered, grew strong and were secure. They elected leaders who were humble but wise.

Learning this, the Evil Bear grew jealous and angry, and he vowed to again enslave the creatures of the New Forest. But the little animals were industrious, resourceful and courageous. The Evil Bear tried all sorts of ways to trick them into enslavement, but each time the Evil Bear was sent packing to his den.

One dark night the Evil Bear said to himself "I'm tired of being outsmarted by these squirrels and bunnies." So the Evil Bear went to the lost swamp where he sought the help of the Bad Fairies.

"We can help you," the Bad Fairies said. "We really hate the little forest creatures with their simple dens and plain moral values."

So the Bad Fairies quietly moved into the New Woods, where they began to attract the children of the forest creatures, showing them Magic Herbs and wild dancing to strange, loud noises. Soon, the Bad Fairies were teaching in small liberal arts colleges or writing curriculum for high school "health" classes.

In time, many young forest creatures began to scoff at their parents' values. They made fun of hard work and courage, and they put up posters of the Evil Bear.

The Bad Fairies told the little forest creatures they had no right to hurt the Evil Bear's feelings. When forest creatures suggested the Evil Bear was dangerous - especially since it was known he liked to eat forest creatures raw - the Bad Fairies said "we're frightened and offended that you could be so intolerant!" The Bad Fairies even put up a display case at the library showing how the Evil Bear "is the forest creatures' friend."

Then there arose a Vampire Bat mafia so fearsome that even the Evil Bear stayed out of their way, although he didn't mind selling them supplies once in a while. The Bad Fairies told the forest creatures they would be "judgmental" if they didn't like the Vampire Bats "alternative lifestyle," and Bad Fairy folk singers sang praises to the Vampire Bats in college coffee houses and on public radio "live day."

But the forest creatures of the suburbs and rural counties of the New Woods realized trouble was brewing and elected Wise Owl. The Vampire Bats and the Evil Bear were furious and vowed to "spill blood in the dens" of the good bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels of the New Woods.

The little creatures were terrified and afraid. But Wise Owl said: "We are a forest awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Justice will be done. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail."

The Bad Fairies protested against Wise Owl. "The Evil Bear and the Vampire Bats are our friends. Destroy the wise Owl," the Bad Fairies said. But Wise Owl and 70 percent of the forest creatures stood strong.

One dark and stormy night the Vampire Bat Mafia came screaming from their dark cave. The Evil Bear laughed at the little forest creatures and awaited their doom.

But across the New Forest, bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels climbed into their A10 Warthogs, A6 Intruders, F15 Screaming Eagles, F16 grim reapers, B2 stealth bombers, F117 Nighthawks, CH53 super stallions, UH60 Blackhawks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1A1 Abrams tanks.

It took a little while, but the stalwart creatures, led by Wise Owl, tore the Vampire Bats from the sky and then stuffed them, along with the Evil Bear, back into their foul dens and caves from whence they first slithered.

Richard Schmitz of Juneau is a former journalist who works in government.

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