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