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Dragons and Ogres

By       Message David Spangenburg     Permalink
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There once was a beautiful village that lay far away across the big water. The people in the village were a unique and proud sort, and had overcome much adversity and tyranny at the hands of their previous ruler. They wanted a village that protected their uniqueness and that would grow to be the largest and richest anywhere, so they hatched a Dragon’s egg for its protection. They knew that once it had grown, this Dragon would in turn protect the village from ogres and help it to prosper and grow strong.

At first the Dragon was small and fragile and it was up to the people to protect it from the evils that roamed the world.  It was a lot of hard work and money, but the people realized if everyone worked together it would minimize everyone’s sacrifice. They knew if they wanted the best from the village they had to give their best to the village. So they struggled on, and through their cooperation and diligence they forged a society second to none.

The villagers soon realized that they could not do their jobs to keep the village growing and still have time to take care of the Dragon. They knew that they had to find someone in the village that had time to spare. Of course, the ones who had the most time were the ones that had the most money and property. They were chosen to be dragon keepers, and they promised that they would always protect and feed it for they had the most to lose if the ogres came. Once the villagers were relieved of their burden they worked even harder and the village began to prosper.

The dragon keepers gathered money and goods from the villagers, which they sold and traded to feed the Dragon. Because he was still small, they bought weapons and created an army to protect him. As he grew strong, so too did the village, it became the richest and most powerful of all and so too did the dragon keepers. Now it came to pass, some of the keepers decided to change the rules and began to demand more from the common villagers and less from the other land owners. Their friends became richer and more powerful, and soon they influenced all of the decisions regarding the village. The common people, forced to work longer and harder, did not rebel because they had become very dependent on those in power and felt that they knew best.

Now, it has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. As the dragon keepers’ egos grew they began to convince the Dragon that its primary duty was to maintain the status quo that they had carefully created. Soon it began to protect just the ones with money and influence, and allowed the weak and the sick to fall along the wayside. The poor, undereducated villagers were sent to foreign lands to fight and die, trying to acquire more wealth for the glutinous elite.

The village began to change. Soon soot and filth covered the once splendid towers, and the fresh rivers lay stagnant, fouled by the waste of the ruling classes. Not wanting to pay a fair wage to workers it became dependent on sometimes dangerous imports. Self-indulgence and laziness overcame the artists. Unable to create new art, they could only try to mimic the works of the past and to showcase the idiocy of the present. The people of the village became crass and ignorant and driven by the basest instincts.
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It was truly a dark time for the formerly glorious and powerful village. Its financial structure began to tremble under the weight of its excesses.  Vanity and folly had stretched its once mighty army to the breaking point, and old enemies, sensing the growing weakness, began to taunt and to threaten. The previously proud Dragon, finding that he was no longer capable of fire, could only show his teeth and growl ineffectively.

The moral of this story is simple. If you want to protect your village from ogres, don’t put them in charge of raising the Dragon.

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David Spangenburg is a Freelance Wordsmith currently working in both the print world and cyberspace. His short fiction, essays, articles, blogs and OpEds can be found in various magazines, newspapers and on numerous websites. He is the master of his (more...)

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