Once there was a merchant who kept the strictest account of his business. He did the same with anything else in his life, actually. He would always say there was an order to everything and he meant his order. He knew exactly who was important to him and who didn’t matter. He knew exactly who offended him and who earned his respect. When anyone asked him for help or a favor, he had to assess the value in relation to the risk.
One day there was an accident and a complete stranger needed his help but it was easy for him to keep walking because it was all risk and no value, as he liked to say about almost everything that did not involve his profit. To get involved in such an accident would only be a threat to his well being as he saw it. This sort of thing happened before and would happen again and it was of no concern to him. Who was he to try and change the order of things?
And once there was a fool who kept no account of anything. If somebody needed something like the codpiece off his crotch, he’d give it. He had no real business to speak of except the business of life. It might’ve been a poor life but it was rich with friends who he made wherever he went.
One day, the merchant was busy running numbers in his head while he was crossing the road and a team of horses pulling a carriage galloped straight for him. And the fool saw what was about to happen and without a care pushed the merchant out of the way but was trampled to death instead. The merchant stood up and brushed himself off and cursed the man who pushed him as a downright fool who should’ve looked where he was going
Once there was a boy and a girl who went into the woods but only the boy returned. The villagers went looking for the girl but only found her clothes drenched in blood. And when they demanded that the boy tell them what had happened, he could not speak a word.
Some of the villagers blamed the boy for killing the girl and demanded that he give up his life in return.
Other villagers blamed the boy’s parents for not raising him correctly and demanded that the parents pay the ultimate price for the endless sorrow of the girl’s parents.
And others blamed the girl for going into the woods with the boy and said she got what she deserved.
And some even blamed her parents for not teaching her better and thought they also deserved to go in the woods and never come back with their self-inflicted sadness.
One villager said that they all were to blame for this tragedy because they should’ve prevented the boy and girl from going into the woods in the first place. But the rest of the villagers blamed him for blaming them for something that did not involve them or their children as they saw it.
And that night, suspicions grew so wildly that some villagers set fire to the homes of those they blamed. And they in turn torched the homes of whoever they blamed. Eventually the entire village was on fire.
In the morning, the villagers were ready to kill each other when the missing girl stepped out of the woods.
And they blamed her for destroying their village and so they knew they had to sacrifice her. They decided it was best to sacrifice the boy as well for not talking, even though the boy pleaded that he did not talk for the very reason that he had seen them do this before.
And after they burned them at the stake, the villagers rebuilt their homes together and lived in brief harmony until the next outburst of blame and it’s only solution.
Once upon a time a king had a brilliant idea. He had inherited a kingdom with many problems that he cared not to solve nor did he think could be solved anyways by any other king. And with some bad luck the problems got so bad that the king knew there were subjects plotting to usurp him, not to mention the peasants had already marched to his castle with pitchforks and torches and demanded solutions he could not come up with.
The king divided his power amongst his court as widely as he could. He spread his actual responsibilities as thin as possible while keeping enough power to enjoy his wealthy habits like hunting and fireside concerts and lavish banquets and playing hide the finger with various subjects in his court or even by himself while taking a hot bath overlooking his vast countryside. After all, he thought to himself, who doesn’t enjoy the pleasures of this world over the pains? And who would think it even possible to eliminate the pains altogether?
His brilliant idea for any problem was that he would put somebody else in charge of it so that when the people and the others in the court were fed up with that problem, they demanded that he cut off the head of the one in charge. And he did so with ease because he knew that it was in exchange for his own. But he played reluctant and pretended to hold the burden of executing someone. And he shrugged as he pointed his finger. What else could he do? He had succumbed to the burden of leadership.
Anytime someone came to the king with a problem, all he had to do was point his finger at whoever he placed in charge of that problem. The executions satisfied the kingdom’s anger and a new person in charge of that problem gave the kingdom hope again until the next execution. Before anyone could figure it out or do anything about this cycle that satisfied their feelings but solved none of their problems, the king passed away from natural causes after a long life of more pleasure than pain.