The Parable of Salia

Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time humanity shared their friendship with all earthlings. All beings lived in harmony. And humanity oversaw the welfare of all of the earth’s creatures, and this is how they came to be called humanity.

Then one day a man drank tainted water from a well no one was to drink from. So very thirsty was he, for the day was bright and so very hot, and he needed to slake his thirst, and he thought, just a sip won’t hurt. But an infliction stuck him. And a fever ran to his head and damaged his brain. Everyone thought that he might recover. But he did not. The sickness worsened and twisted his reasoning, and he became ravenous in his desires and began eating the creatures around him whenever hunger fell upon him.

Everyone thought him mad. No one was able to reason with him, though they tried. And being close to him, they contracted his disease. And they, in turn, spread the illness to others, and they to others until all their brains had become damaged and all were afflicted with the desire to eat their fellow earthlings. All but one, Salia, who had been away traveling the countryside and did not contract the plague.

Now when Salia came home, everyone welcomed her, for she was much admired and they had missed her. “A feast!” They shouted, to celebrate Salia’s return.

And the festivities began. There was music, and everyone danced and sang while the firepits by the river billowed thick smoke of roasted flesh. But Salia did not smell the vileness in the air for the wind blew from the west, away from the celebrations.

Then when it came time to sit down and feast, they sat Salia at the head of the table, to honor her return, for she was well liked among them.

They set the table with vegetables fresh from their gardens and juice from the fruit of their trees. And Salia grew hungry, and her stomach began to rumble for she had survived on roots and berries and wild plants for so long while she traveled the countryside, and missed the cookings of home.

Someone shouted, “A toast!” and they raised their glasses to Salia who was joyful to be home again with family and friends.

But then Salia noticed there were no feathered or furred friends among them, and so she asked, “Where are all our feathered and furred friends to join us in this feast?”

And someone said, “They are on their way from the river bank and will be here soon.” And so Salia waited anxiously for her feathered and furred friends to join the festivities.

Then up from the shores came many people carrying many platters of many smoldering carcasses. And they thought Salia should have the greatest one of all, for she was highly thought of.

And there they sat in front of Salia the charred corpse of her favorite lifelong friend, Hochester the Pig.

And Salia screamed. She stood up and cried, “Oh people! What have you done to my friend, Hochester the Pig?”

And they said, “He promises to be quite delicious, Salia, and you should do the honor to carving him while our mouths water with anticipation.”

“You are insane, all of you!” Roared Salia. “How can you have done this to our friends? They are not for eating!”

And everyone thought Salia mad.

~The Parable of Salia, from the Book of Peter the Vegan

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Peter the Vegan

Peter the Vegan - Image: Myna Meeting © CC BY-SA 2.0 by Thimindu Goonatillake
Myna Meeting © by Thimindu Goonatillake

I am but a simple man,

a vegan,

‘n self-denoted poet.

Who’s lived ‘n died in four prior lives.

Tho’ this, my first as vegan that I know it.

I am twice a poet.

Once a woman,

now thrice a man,

‘n once a lowly pig—

(which alone was enough to convert one to veganism.)

‘n in all these, I meagerly lived.

Hailing from the 16th, 18th, ‘n 20th centuries.

‘tho before that I have no clear recollections,

only foggy, surreal conceptions,

‘n the occasional startling nighttime impressions,

but soon these all go poof.

 

’twas the 16th century,

‘n I, the wife of a cobbler.

Tho’ one to be reckoned with I was.

‘n I was . . .

Burned at the stake for heresy ‘n witchery.

Indeed, I was guilty on both charge—

A Crown‘s punishment severe,

‘n unbefitting such petty offence,

of little more than defiance.

‘n for this to burn at stake?

O make no mistake!

’tis no way to die,

‘n no crime fitting

to burn a soul alive:

Foul stench of flesh ‘n marrow burning,

blisters raising, boiling, bursting,

lungs broiled to a tender,

by superheated air rendered.

‘n in my last, everlasting recollection,

’twas the sight of my femur splintering.

‘n the eager smug faces glittering,

of the bastards who stood nigh,

passing judgment in their god’s eye.

 

’twas day one of the 18th century,

that I was born unto rhyme,

in a much, much happier time.

A scanty life tho’ more than pleasant,

my life as a farming peasant.

Hard work ‘n a simple way,

with a woman to grace my night ‘n day.

When one day . . .

High atop the terraces of Guangxi China,

the evening sky fill with myna.

‘n at age ninety-nine I drop,

dead atop a lush rice crop.

 

‘twas the summer of 1918,

the war no longer raging.

The allies had won,

alas we were done.

‘n thru the Black Forest we ventured.

Our spirits set high,

with packs loaded ‘n shouldered

‘n rifles retained tho’ cautiously loaded.

In a troop of six we made a journey,

for the town of Freiburg Germany.

‘twas there I met a lady,

who sheltered us ‘n quite quaintly,

her acquaintance I fancied greatly.

We danced ‘til morning light,

our laughter echoed out from night.

O she was a beauty!

Of a sweet ‘n charming duty.

Her name I recall was Laverne,

‘n I swore to her I’d return

when my stint in the Army was over.

But as our ship sail for home,

a mine drifting not far below

found us at sea all alone.

‘n tho’ I survived the blast,

a tank of kerosene caught fast

‘n our ship soon fell to burning.

‘n once again. . .

I die burning.

 

‘twas an uncaring winter

when a factory pig delivered a boar.

Birthed on a cold hard floor,

on a frozen December eleven,

nineteen hundred ‘n thirty four.

Nuzzled beside my momma,

I suckled her teat

‘n welcomed the heat

of her coarse ‘n dirty pelt.

‘twas a brief love . . .

the only pleasure we ever felt.

Then one day a man he grabbed me,

O roughly he handled me.

Cut off my balls

clipped my tail

pulled my teeth

‘n slammed me—

‘n I tell you!

That burning to death dare not compare,

to the hell a factory pig bear.

I never saw momma again—

tho’ I heard her frightened cry

every now ‘n then, since then.

Locked in a cage for 200 days,

‘n with every painful hour past,

I prayed it be my last.

Till finally my time to walk the line

and welcome death at last.

 

With that I hoped all’d be over.

Let me die ‘n be. O please!

Tho’ here I am . . . again.

Damn Death!

Defying me, denying me

a sweet ‘n longed abode.

I, now with purpose left untold.

—To hell with Him!

Let Death have His eternal death!

If I must be

than it shall be

I’ll fight to my last breath!

. . . ‘n it matter not,

whether they wear fur, feathers, scale, or skin

it’s their peace I’ll fight ‘n win.

~Peter the Vegan

A Short Story – Chapter 1 – Peter the Vegan vs. the Honorable Honor