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And his name was Wreath of Light

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On a low-lying place by the sea was the idyllic and prosperous village. The villagers were well off and enjoyed themselves with bread and games. Until one day dark clouds gathered and something occurred that no villager in a hundred years could have imagined.

A monster had been seen! A terrifying and deadly monster. Circling the woods around the village. And the villagers became frightened, very frightened. And not only this village felt the outgoing threat of the monster, in surrounding villages too, panic is taking hold of the hearts and minds of the villagers. The monster appeared to be able to move with lightning speed. It seemed as if it could fly.

Of course, the villagers' first thought was to kill the monster. But the monster itself could ill-afford to do so. With each attempt to silence the monster forever, the beast split up and disappeared into the deep forest changed and more dangerous than ever, to visit the villages in more places simultaneously.

The monster mainly attacked the elderly and weak and stung them with its deadly poison until death followed. Sometimes, too, it had a craving for greasy morsels and sought out some more fortified bones. The mayor of the village was a pragmatic man and immediately sent out some decrees. The villagers were no longer allowed:

  • standing in the street talking
  • out in the dark
  • To school or work

The mayor, practical as he was, immediately bought up all the antidotes in the area. As much as he could pay, out of the treasury admittedly. For although the beast could not be killed, its deadly attacks could be stopped. What boldness, what foresight, what a hero! A savior was born, and salvation at hand.

The villagers cheered!

Meanwhile, the atmosphere in the village necessarily became more grim. Elderly people stopped visiting for fear of attracting the beast. Dying became more lonely and fellow humanity austere. There was more need, but help had to be delayed. There was no other way. The doctor and mortician had other things to do than bandage old-fashioned broken arms, remedy gloom or bury regular dead. Children could learn for a lifetime, parties could wait, the cafe and the mall would just have to close for a while.

Such needs can all be postponed and, after all, is a small contribution to the good cause; the protection of the weak! All this then gave unity, a common goal, an enemy. Yes even a more meaningful life. Fear truly binds together.

Villagers who did go to work or have a chat on the street were immediately accosted. After all, in doing so they were luring the beast into the village. The mayor installed a special mailbox in the village square in which you could post names of offenders. Laws were changed to give the mayor more freedom to act against these antisocials, to fine these parasites of the (future) good village life.

Meanwhile, the beast multiplied, grew larger and more frightening. This was evident from the analyses of the situation that the mayor ordered. And on a large canvas in the village square, the results were announced daily: 

'50 people have been stung; 10 more than last week. A worrisome increase in 20% that we continue to monitor closely. More measures will follow for your safety.

10 villagers died of which 2 were stabbed by the monster. The monster killed them. That's monstrous, we decide for ourselves what our villagers will or will not die of.

For this reason, any who are in danger will be administered antidotes preemptively. Plus any who can lure the monster to those in danger. Everyone receives antidote.

We do this with each other, for each other!

The villagers cheered!

People talked about it, the newspaper wrote about it. There was great unity in this struggle against the monster. However, there were the 'intellectually disadvantaged' fellow villagers, a priori suspect figures with deviating views. (Incidentally, any dissenting opinion was suspect because numbers don't lie, facts are undeniable, conclusions, no opinion but science.) And this unmoved, thorough and non-contradictory science undeniably commanded The Truth.

Yet value a little poem around:

Once there was a monster
which turned out to be a hornet's nest
The greatest evil,
not the sting
Confused as in Socrates' cave
Where shadow seemed reality

Incidentally, it was also because of these conspiracy-loving, seditious offenders and village idiots that the mayor's measures had to be held up longer. Here, too, the beloved mayor provided, as announced, the only possible solution he had proposed; antidote, antidote, antidote!

The doctor's practice, which for a time had been overcrowded with people who had been seriously stung, passed on clear signals to the mayor and provided the necessary insights. The practice, incidentally, had previously been subject to significant budget cuts which - never spoken aloud - had caused some Kierkegaard's ON:

Old age realizes the dreams of youth: one can see this in the mayor, in his younger years costs were falling because of the phasing out of care beds, in his old age he had worries because he no longer had a bed.

Incidentally, the mayor gladly provided himself with the supplied biomedical insights, data analyses and statistics. Especially those that confirmed his suspicions. He let his executive board act as if it were technocrat then guided by scientists - and the scientists drew on the insights of his board. Nothing went far enough for his technocratic heart. He still has his nose blown by a registered nurse and his wife's opinion he hears from science (Chesterton).

The villagers in all the villages took the antidote and got drunk on it. They wanted more and more just to calm the fear and be able to go back to the old life. Life without a monster, without a death sting. A life with parents, children and grandchildren. The antidote created a toothless monster, which could bite but not kill. And slowly but surely peace returned because the mayor kept enough control, took measures when necessary and nobody could enter or leave the village without antidote proof. It almost seemed again 1984.

The villagers cheered!

The beast was never caught, still wanders about. And its name was Light Wreath.


Erwin de Ruiter

"One man tries to express himself in books, another in boots; both are likely to fail." - G.K. Chesterton

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