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The Centaur papers
6 September 2009 | Ron Pickrell

Posted on 09/07/2009 3:04:51 PM PDT by pickrell

An incredibly old wall has been discovered during excavation in this ancient land. Within that wall, behind a deeply engraved stone, certain ancient scrolls were discovered. Until they were read, the existence and fate of a people was unknown. After they were read, most disbelieved. It was a hoax, of course. Certainly improbable.

Snippets are still legible among the crumbling, ancient writings.

* * * * * The first scroll (what remains and can be read).

They had their orders, and they followed their orders, all while watching the behavior of those across their eastern borders. The ranks of centaur soldiers were waiting with weapons to turn back all who approached.

They routed the invaders, time and again. Enough were killed so that the rest retreated to try to raid another land. In a few cases, some of the invaders had broken through the lines, and a few tried to plead their case. "We have no where else to go! Only death awaits us if we return. We will work- we will carry- we will not sleep, if only you allow our children a chance to live."

The soldiers sympathised, and a few offered well-meant advice, "You have to go back, and change your own land. We have our culture, and you have yours. We value work, property and liberty. You allow a few evil men to treat you as cattle. Do the job in front of you. Go back and reclaim your lives- or lose them trying." A few cruel ones taunted, "How could you have allowed them to do that to you in the first place?"

But they turned them back. For the soldiers couldn't see into the hearts of savages, to admit those who wanted to plant... and repel those who only wanted to 'harvest.' Builders and takers look alike, until you watch them live for awhile, and they weren't in a mood to take chances.

And the latest and last of the welcome immigrants had earlier brought a terrible warning about the centaurs on their eastern borders.

* * * * * The oldest scroll.

The discovery of the land, from what is known:

They carried their swords and broke trail together. This was a part of the Dangerous Lands which had not yet been settled. Some had difficulties keeping up, and supplies of food were left on the trail for them. Once they rested and refreshed themselves, they could catch up with the others. Some say that is where it started. Some say any good and noble centaur idea can turn rancid and dangerous, if left to itself.

* * * * * The largest scroll

The palace held the yearly gathering of those who had been sent to agree to new law. The Centaur-right party, called the Blues, held that written agreements from the beginning of the kingdom guaranteed certain inalienable rights, among them rights to property, liberty, and law.

The Centaur-left party, called the Reds, held that no centaur should be denied the basic sustenances of life, nor be compelled to act against his will.

The town criers sung the praises of all regarded as moderates (centaurists) and spoke ill of the 'Blue-wingers', the extremists who deviated from progressive thought. The town criers had all been taught by the original and first town crier who noticed, as he scavenged around the kingdom, that money and respect could be had from someone who claimed to have the latest news from around.

He had built and trained an entire industry, and they learned well from him. None of them learned to pronounce the words 'Red-wingers'. It seemed that there might not even be such a thing. (I know, because I write and will conceal these scrolls, in secret, hoping someday to report the truth without such fear as we have now.)

Now they were at the yearly gathering to carry word of the events to all corners of the land.

Brought out for the opening of each law-convention, was the original agreement from which all centaur law originated.

The agreement was written on reed paper, now fraying with age and becoming less legible. A permanent Committee was appointed to read it and decide whether each new law was in compliance with it. Originally it was forbidden for any centaur to talk to the members of that Committee, in the hopes that this would keep the Committee from hearing of the latest promises to the people... and having odd difficulties, then, reading what seemed plainly written.

The Committee took blood-vows to abandon all previous ideas, and faithfully protect the writings. Yet it was curious, with that being the case, that such brutal and vitriolic contests occurred to appoint only those who had progressive-left ideas to abandon, and not rightist 'original-meaning' ideas to abandon. Some began to wonder just how much abandoning was going on; and how much perjury was occurring during those blood-vows to abandon.

It soon became plainly obvious that only centaurs who read from the left side were appointed by the Reds while in power, while the Blues naively insisted on the original meanings of that writing, and fought to appoint to the Committee only those who would honestly read them.

But it was past the point where anyone could still pretend that the guarantees still written on the paper could stem the new power of the Reds, and that the Committe still commanded any remaining shreds of respect.

* * * * * A fragment thought to be from a yearly law-gathering.

"Senataur Drake has the floor. Let there be silence," the Speaker gaveled.

"Thank you, sir. Now, as to my last point- they remain there. There is no need for them to move on; the food you send always arrives. As long as you provide the food there will be no incentive for them to arise and improve their lives! With the increasing number of areas- gravitating, I might add, around each 'distribution center' you maintain,- and the increasing numbers of those who take advantage of them, production in the kingdom does not seem to increase at the same rate as entitlement."

"I claim response rights," Senataur Stuart injected. "It is the true measure of greatness of a centaur enclave- how they treat the poor among them."

"But how can you not see?", Drake continued. "Before they found the drops of food, they, too, moved on, and sought a means of their sustenance. You have not alleviated their dependence- you have only added to their number! What centaur would wish this upon another, merely that he could feel "greatness" as you term it? Over the years the victims of your greatness have forgotten how to hunt and farm, dismissed the effort to study the new discoveries and thereby find what could be their greatest contribution to our new world. Instead, they wait under shady trees to be brought food-"

"Is that all you centaur-rightists can think of? How a centaur can get rich off of the sweat of others?"

"Can you centaur-leftists not think at all? When the centaur no longer exerts to find how he can be of most use, he instead begins to think only of himself. 'When is my next feeding? Why do I see others with better food? If I am entitled, then why am I not entitled to the best?'" He shook his head, "How can this be your best hope for the aspirations of centaurs?"

"And you would instead have them starve," Stuart retorted. "'Find a good spot to plant', you spout. 'Join those who bring the dead wood from the forests, so that it can fuel cooking fires, and light the night'. You know that the centaur would starve, long before his crops grew and matured. It would takes months just to prepare the land-"

"Do not speak to me-" interrupted one of the assembly who suddenly held up scarred and hardened hands from a lifetime of work, "of the impossibility of preparing the land. For twenty years, learning to sweat at my father's side, I have welcomed the dawn, and broke then from work for my first meal. And now you tell me that instead of selling my fruits in the market, I must instead turn an ever-increasing portion of them over to you for 'fair distribution'?"

He was a commoner and didn't hold the exaulted rank of Senataur, but no one dared silence him. Bitterness vied with anger as he continued, "When my little brother and I traveled the Dangerous Lands to find new seeds from the fairest fruit trees, how many risked with us until we returned to safety? When each rock was pried loose and carried off, which of your disadvantaged held our tools? When the land was cleared what crowd of volunteers did we choose from for help? When we then dug for so many weeks to learn the secrets of growing those seeds... how many of your unfortunates arose from their comfortable spots under other trees, and aided us? How many fought the insects and the deer, to save what we could and guard it into a sustainable size?"

His eyes hardened, "And even now, where were your unfortunates only last month when the hard work of harvest was upon us? I can tell you- we glimpsed them still under their trees, drinking from the juice of the fermented cadcha berry, and lolling insensible! And you have the nerve to tell me what you will ALLOW me to keep, and what you will TAKE in the name of justice? Who are YOU to say these things?"

A sudden growling arose among the meeting as many found weight in his words. It was not most of the assembly, but it was a strong growling nonetheless.

"We don't wish to deny you your success," the Reds leader Stuart insisted. "We just want all to have the same chance that you had. We want to spread around the wealth to all. Now few can afford your fruit and your grain."

"You want to spread wealth around? Fine! I have an oxcart full of the droppings from Mr Mecham's cows. Have those who wish for wealth come to my farm at dawn. I will show them that the dung they spread around will translate to the best strawberries next spring they have ever imagined. And if they work hard, I will split the profits we get later with them, and I'll put that in writing at the start. Now say fairer than that!" he glared. "They will then have money they earned- not money handed to beggars."

Senataur Stuart frowned at the grower, then with a snort, airily waved his hand in dismissal, "It cuts through your lies to show what you think of the poor- that they are only fit to spread manure, to carry your sh*t for you."

"How racist, indeed," the farmer retorted. "And just who do you think will actually do the hard work of spreading the manure," he replied in resignation, "since you have dissuaded the few who were just now momentarily pondering the idea? Will you all come to watch my sons and I as we spread the manure- the real source of wealth-, or will you rise at noon to arrange spreading my wealth, instead. How long will you suborn these poor dupes of yours as to the indignity of work?

"And when there is no more of my wealth left to spread around, Senataur Stuart, what then? Who is left to be robbed and raped? You spend your time planning how to reward your followers and assure the growth of a constituency. And now that so few of us are left who produce food, gather fuel, or weave cloth, you propose ever-increasing loans and indebtedness to foreign lands simply to maintain the myth that we can vote ourselves everything! And your sullen victims wait to be handed their share."

He stood and walked to the exit, pausing briefly. "You've stolen the future of these misguided youngsters whom you promised change to. I'll pack tonight. I want no part of watching the final destruction of what I have built, and I'll try to keep my children from seeing the worst of what some men will do."

A different growling arose after he left, as they thought of his nice house and lands. There would be rich pickings tomorrow while it lasted. Better to get there before noon.

When the votes were cast and counted, the few remaining growers, the builders and the artificers shook their heads in disbelief. This great land bought at such a cost, which had earlier voted for change, now codified that change. And the head shakers knew that, despite their unwavering insistance that their children ones embrace the values of hard work and savings, they were far outnumbered by those who wanted 'justice'. Justice that could only be had now that they had installed a reliable Committee of the 'old writings' as it was derisively called. Justice was now dynamic, responsive to the people, and no longer impeded by archaic, meaningless and outdated rules.

As the farms and shops taken by the palace's men fell into disrepair, the citizens saw the increasing scarcity and then disappearance of that which in earlier times was taken for granted. An increasingly desparate emergency forum voted to seize this and then that from the few remaining greedy producers. Calls were then heard to invite in large numbers of outsiders, non-citizens from across the waters and from the Dangerous Lands, in the hopes that fresh workers would re-fill the markets with fruit. No mention was permitted of the shattered orchards, destroyed by those whose idea of harvest was that a tree chopped down was a tree easier to pick clean.

For there was no next year, in their minds. There was only what they wanted now. What they had been told was their right. The voices of warning and dissent had long since been silenced by various means.

Now no one would deny them their share.

Except that now... there was nothing left to share.

It was when the last of the fermented cadcha berry juice also ran out, and rage turned to the mass dementia of fear, that a few opened their eyes too late. No stopping the rampaging mobs. The thin veneer of centaur society was gone, and brutality reigned. No excuses and oily assurances were needed now. And the desparate mobs never noticed that the Senataurs had packed all of their treasures and left in the night. They did well for themselves; and did better to flee before it became widely known. In the confusion of the collapse, the saviors can often get away scot free.

While there was still time, the few who understood had abandoned all their remaining possessions, grabbed only their loved ones- the only thing that ever truly mattered anyway-, and struck out in the night for the unknown lands to the north. It was the only hope, in spite of the certainty that the northerners had been watching the behavior of the southerners... and were now waiting with weapons to turn back all who approached.

For the Northern soldiers couldn't see into the hearts of savages, to admit those who wanted to plant... and repel those who only wanted to 'harvest'. Builders and takers look alike, until you watch them live for awhile, and they weren't in a mood to take chances.

For the latest and last of the welcome immigrants had earlier brought a terrible warning about the Southern centaurs.

It is hard to know what to make of these scrolls. Perhaps there is within them some hint, some clue, as to what caused the collapse of the strange centaur people they seem to offer fleeting images of.

TOPICS: Politics
KEYWORDS: centaurs

1 posted on 09/07/2009 3:04:52 PM PDT by pickrell
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To: pickrell

Tolkien? Is that you?

2 posted on 09/07/2009 3:12:20 PM PDT by DesertSapper (God, Family, Country . . . . . . . . . . and dead terrorists!!!)
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To: pickrell

Interesting parable.

Do you like to write fiction?

3 posted on 09/07/2009 3:17:42 PM PDT by GeronL ( .............
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To: pickrell

Where’s the link to the original site?

4 posted on 09/07/2009 4:05:01 PM PDT by Star Traveler (The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a Zionist and Jerusalem is the apple of His eye.)
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To: GeronL
Interesting parable.

Do you like to write fiction?

Like many on Freerepublic, I suspect, we used to like writing many things. The hope was that somehow we could head off, or at least minimise, the damage that was coming.

I guess, now that it has hit with undiminished loss, most of the heart has gone out of writing. We didn't even apparently slow it down.

Still, we tried.

5 posted on 09/08/2009 6:09:16 AM PDT by pickrell (Old dog, new trick...sort of)
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To: Star Traveler
Where’s the link to the original site?

[ Sigh. ]

Actually, there is no original link. It is allegorical. That is the reason the centaurs,( a mythical half-man/half horse) were chosen as the main characters. It sort of accents the fictional nature of the piece.

By employing the centaur, it becomes inescapable to the reader that the story is for entertainment as well as to draw a political parallel to today.

The only original link, is the current news announcement on DRUDGE that a 3,500 year old wall has recently been excavated in Israel.

By not linking it, and only referring to it, it was hoped that the reader would enjoy the same wonder as to what these people were, while not claiming an actual connection to that story.

6 posted on 09/08/2009 6:20:19 AM PDT by pickrell (Old dog, new trick...sort of)
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