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On the steps - Weekly Wisdom 5/23

Poster: keithsa@microsoft.com

(A story this time)

....A short while ago in the distant past, in a kingdom close by which
is in a land far far away....

The Wealth of Ravens

There was a great battle between two noble kingdoms.  No one remembers
what sparked the conflict only that it happened - who was right or wrong
is not important to our story.  

Before the battle was even finished, the ravens from throughout the area
gathered. Two, three, or even four birds would often fight over the
tastiest morsels but there were plenty of other morsels to chose from.
Soon however, other scavengers began appearing - wolves, rodents, and
other creatures.  At first they didn't notice the newcomers.  As several
wolves started to drag off a knight that looked particularly plump and
tasty, the ravens began to comment.

"Who are these upstarts that they think they can abscond with our
tasties," one fine feathered creature commented.  Soon many of the
ravens began complaining.  The most outspoken of the ravens came up with
a plan.

First they would drive off all the wolves and then they would simply add
the rodents and other smaller scavengers to their smorgasbord and they
would once again have all to themselves.  This they did, flocking and
swarming the lupine beasts until they fled bloody from much clawing and
pecking from the field.  The rodents and other small creatures feeling
somewhat uncormfortable at this display also departed for safer locals.

The ravens turned back to their feast and at first there was much
merriment.  Soon however the wolves returned in greater numbers.  This
time they were not so easily driven away and many brave ravens also lost
their lives.  Over the hours, the wolves and the ravens kept having
skirmishes.  This left neither side with much opportunity to eat.  The
smaller scavengers who had returned in the meantime were darting about
nibbling in the confusion although they were often trampled in the
melees between raven and wolf.

Although there would have been more than enough carrion for all to have
eaten their fill, over the course of several days few had managed to
consume more than a bite here and there.  Even more disturbing - the
numbers on all sides were quickly dwindling.

As the seventh day dawned, a single raven, a single wolf, and a single
rat were left alone upon the field.  They looked around themselves and
saw many a friend and companion lost.  They also saw more food than the
3 of them could eat in a lifetime.

"A truce," suggested the raven?
"A truce," agreed the wolf.
"yipee," said the rat.  

The rat continued, "each of our kind was selfishly assuming ownership of
the field.  We were possessed by the need to be the sole possessor. The
world is full of creatures like us - caged in by situations we create
ourselves. Whether it is an important position, a lovely castle, or a
morsel of food, we work feverishly for certain things, but fail to
consider the true consequences of our actions. The results: a land full
of strangers because we rarely talk, lords and peers who are enemies
because of jealousy and turf battles, and so on.  I wonder if we often
forfeit something valuable when we chose self interest and antagonism
over cooperation and the good of all?"

The rat, it turns out, was quite a philosopher.  But that is a story for
another time.  They all ate their fill and went their separate ways,
never forgetting the lesson they had learned...

In humble service,

Gryphon can be reached at truebard@geocities.com  
Visit his web site at http://www.geocities.com/athens/forum/1272

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