Best-selling author of 'Money Power Love', 'The Little Voice' and 'Occupied'.

JOSS SHELDON

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THE OWL

 

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Once upon a time there was an Owl. A wise old Owl, with understanding-and-knowledge which was too vast to be told.

Owl understood every tree-animal-and-bird in his forest. He understood that the trees used their eyes to look for light, the animals used their noses to sniff for food, and the birds used their ears to listen for birdsong.

And Owl used his knowledge to control his forest, because knowledge is power, and Owl used his power to rule his fellow creatures.

He flew high in the sky, all day and all night, for many a day and many a night. And he blocked the sun with his wings.

"What do you think you're you doing?" Poplar protested.

"I'm controlling my light of course," Owl replied. "You might not be so civilised, relying on the sun for light, but I'm intelligent-respectable-and-strong. I can soar up high and swoop down low, fly over any tree on the planet, and hide the light whenever I like!"

Owl's words filled the trees with fear.

"We need that light to live," Poplar pleaded. "Please come down and rest on our comfortable branches."

"Only if you make me your king," Owl replied. "Only if you build palaces for me, hide my jewels, and become my servants."

The trees in Owl's forest were normally amicable folk, who wanted to be friends with all the forest's creatures. But Owl controlled their light, and so they had no choice but to obey him.

"Okay, okay," Poplar panted. "Our branches-leaves-and-roots are yours, all yours. You shall be our king."

This made Owl happy, it made Owl very happy, but he still wanted more. So he pestered the trees, all day and all night, for many a day and many a night. And he made them hide all the forest food beneath their roots.

"What do you think you're you doing?" Pig protested.

"I'm controlling my food of course," Owl replied. "You might not be so civilised, sniffing out your food one meal at a time, but I'm intelligent-respectable-and-strong. I can control the skies up high and the earth down low, govern any animal on the planet, and hide the food whenever I like!"

Owl's words filled the animals with fear.

"We need that food to live," Pig pleaded. "Please come down and ride on our sturdy-backs."

"Only if you make me your king," Owl replied. "Only if you build cities for me, guard my jewels, and become my soldiers."

The animals in Owl's forest were normally conscientious folk, who wanted to be equal with all the forest's creatures. But Owl controlled their food, and so they had no choice but to obey him.

"Okay, okay," Pig panted. "Our muscles-teeth-and-limbs are yours, all yours. You shall be our king."

This made Owl happy, it made Owl very happy, but he still wanted more. So he pestered the animals, all day and all night, for many a day and many a night. And he made them howl as loudly as they could.

"What do you think you're you doing?" Robin protested.

"I'm controlling my airwaves of course," Owl replied. "You might not be so civilised, unable to control the sounds which other creatures make, but I'm intelligent-respectable-and-strong. I can speak to the trees up high and the animals down low, deafen any bird on the planet, and drown out the airwaves whenever I like!"

Owl's words filled the birds with fear.

"We need those airwaves to live," Robin pleaded. "Please come down and listen to our beautiful-songs."

"Only if you make me your king," Owl replied. "Only if you build roads for me, search for jewels, and become my sentries."

The birds in Owl's forest were normally social folk, who wanted to work with all the forest's creatures. But Owl controlled their airwaves, and so they had no choice but to obey him.

"Okay, okay," Robin panted. "Our feathers-beaks-and-wings are yours, all yours. You shall be our king."

This made Owl happy, it made Owl very happy. He ruled the entire forest, and controlled every tree-animal-and-bird.

And so he made his subjects build him great-palaces, bring him resplendent-jewels, and protect him from insurrection.

No tree-animal-or-bird was ever brave enough to complain. Because Owl was intelligent-respectable-and-strong, and everyone knew it, since Owl told them so himself!

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