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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The First Frost Comes to the Garden

A mostly humorous and entertaining post, yet light-heartedly sad in its underlying theme of death is her short “Tale of war — on helpless vegetables!” by Martha Stephens, who I’ve had the privilege of meeting through WordPress. A beautiful “malcontented” lady and author of “Me and the Grandmas of Baghdad, a Memoir by Martha Stephens.” Thank you, Martha, for sharing a Saturday morning smile.

marthastephens

Readers, you know me as a malcontented person who posts mostly on war and peace;  but I hope you will see that this, too, is a tale of war — on helpless vegetables!  — M. S.

        “Martha! We’re dying!” cried the peppers today.
       “Are we Martha?” said the tomatoes in one chorus, hoarsely. “Tell us please!”
       “My darlings . . . yes-s,” I began. I could hardly speak, but I had given life to these friends and knew I must stay the course with them.
       “Yes, my pretty ones, I cannot but say that tonight the cold will come, and in the morning you will not wake.”
      Sad murmurs along the rows. I steeled myself to go on. I felt they wanted to know everything.
      “Tonight, my darlings, your limbs will begin to droop rather…

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Pigs, Pigskins, Roosters, and Jackasses

A Short Story

Introduction – Meet Oliver

Oliver Hawkenmiejer was a ninety-two-year-old Hoosier. As robust now as he was during the 1939 State Final when, with only 17 seconds left in the ball game, he intercepted a pass and ran it back 92 yards. He was a local hero destined for fame. But he’s been handling hogs ever since. Dropped out of school and inherited the family pig business when his daddy had a heart attack, right about the same time Oliver cleared the last yard. However, speculation is that the fall killed the old man, not the heart attack.

There he was at the top of the bleachers jumping up and down with youthful cheerleading enthusiasm. Nearly four hundred pounds of him bouncing and shouting, “Go, go, go!” encouraging Oliver into to the end zone. Then all of a sudden his “Go, go, go” became an “Oh, oh, oh” and he grabbed his chest and fell backward over the railing, twenty or so feet to ground. A misfortune compounded by landing on top of the Strutenville Hogs’ mascot, Wilber. No one then realized Wilber was flat as a pancake beneath the old man until the paramedics, two of them and six football players, rolled Mr. Hawkenmiejer over and onto a makeshift stretcher. To this day, Oliver blames that interception for both their deaths.

Chapter 1 – Pigs

The year is 1922.

“Grab that piggy boy!”

“Yes sir, daddy. I’ll get her!” said Oliver, covered in four or more layers of mud, slipping and sliding through the hog pen, “Gotcha!” But the slippery little piglet slipped right out of his grip.

“Almost had her, daddy!”

“Almosts don’t count, boy. Now get out of there and wash up for dinner.”

Oliver, with arms waving, slipped and slid his way out of the pen, climbed over the fence and laid a muddy trail to the pond where he cannonballed into the murky water. Water snakes and turtles surprised and frightened, quickly dove beneath the surface. This was likely the last bath Oliver would have until next Saturday.

“Tormenting the pigs again?” asked Elisabeth, setting baked ham on the table with one hand as she picked off a glob of mud from behind Oliver’s ear with the other. Continue reading “Pigs, Pigskins, Roosters, and Jackasses”