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Permission granted by author for anyone to distribute this
writing free of charge (including translation into any
language)...under condition that no profit is made therefrom,
and that it remain intact and complete, including title and 
credit to the original author.

Ezekiel J. Krahlin

(A Parable For The 21st Century)

© 1997 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin
(Jehovah's Queer Witness)

Once upon a time there was a village in the desert that grew to metropolis size. But while it was still a village it experienced its first serious drought in the fourth year of recorded history. Before The Drought they never conserved water; after The Drought they did. Since 1 A.D. ("After" the "Drought"), despite the corrective safeguard of separate family wells linked with pipes to the Great Well (thus meted and measured), there were some who grew too conservative, even in times of abundant rain. Ishmael was one of them.

Now, Ishmael was surrounded by generous neighbors; as a matter of fact the whole town was a union of generous neighbors...even Ishmael, until The Devil planted a bad seed in his heart. It was in The Year of the Brimming Wells (following the Great Rain)--a time when all people need not be concerned about lack of water--that the Seed of Avarice stirred in Ishmael's bosom.

"Since we are each allotted one well-full of water per month, whether drought or abundance, we must always plan and count our water use carefully, so as not to become a burden to our neighbors," thought Ishmael. "But," he continued, raising a finger to an imaginary accomplice, "if I can find an unquestioned excuse to take water from a neighbor for the first two weeks of every month, I will have so much water that I'll need never conserve!"

So Ishmael set his plan to task. Coming up with an ironclad excuse was that no one would question, hence never bring to the attention of the Water Priests. But choosing a victim among his many generous neighbors took no more time than the flip of a fly's wing. Ishmael's eyes lit up: "Eugene, the Town Fool, of course!"

Eugene (the Town Fool) was born happy, and remained that way. No one ever knew why he laughed so much, so they wrote it off to mental retardation and put him on Social Security. Eugene took everyone at their word, and therefore was the perfect dupe for Ishmael's devious scheme.

At the time of Ishmael's plan, a species of large frog was migrating across the desert territory, occasionally clogging some of the irrigation pipes that connected the Great Well to individual wells. Though it never took more than two days to clear any number of frogs (and their eggs) from a conduit they currently occupied, it was common during those months for neighbors with unplugged lines to provide some water to those whose wells were stopped.

Hence, Ishmael was assisted in his scheme by a freak of nature; so it was easy for him to convince Eugene that his well was indeed glutted with frogs. Eugene, of course, never questioned Ishmael's daily requests for water...not even when his own well was but a quarter full by the fifteenth of the month.

By the second month, the seed in Ishmael's heart had taken root in the hearts of his neighbors...but Eugene never questioned their motive, even though his well was only an eighth full by the fifteenth. By the third month, the entire village (except the Water Priests) was knocking on Eugene's door every day...and Eugene's well was down to only a bucketful by the fifteenth. Meanwhile, Ishmael gloated over the abundance of water now in his well, so that he could splash away to his heart's content, heedless to the other villagers' use of Eugene's well...or to the probability of Eugene dying of thirst. Needless to say, everyone acted like Ishmael at this point (except the Town Fool, of course).

This continued month after month, and Eugene laughed through it all, ladling a bucket of water for anyone who knocked. Even when down to only a bucketful, his well still provided enough water to meet everyone's needs, including his own. A year had passed since the advent of Ishmael's scheme...but no one had yet stopped to wonder why Eugene's well never ran dry. But Eugene kept chuckling, knowing full well that the day would come when everyone must acknowledge the miracle of his well, and from whence the water came.