FAIRY STORY from warmwell.com

 

ONCE upon a time there was a smiling politician called Baloney B'stard. He lived in the islands of Great Angleland where there were lots of people and houses and roads and concrete and noise. And there were factories for sad chickens and sadder pigs, and great wide prairies full of chemicals and crops. The people were not very happy. They sensed that something wasn't quite right and that even though they had loud music to hear and fast cars to drive and lots of brightly wrapped foods in the brightly lit supermarkets, their lives were somehow not quite real.

 

But some of the people were independent farmers whose families had for generations cared for the land and for the animals that grazed in the wild and beautiful places . And all the richest people went to live there at the weekends because they sensed that it was real. And even the people in the towns who could hardly ever go there realised, if they ever stopped to think, that they loved the countryside and were proud of it because it was the most real thing they knew.

 

Baloney was a man of vision. His vision was all about himself. He decided that he would one day be the ruler of a much bigger state. Strangely enough he hadn't noticed that there were little strings attached to his elbows and knees. The Stringpullers' plan was a much more ambitious one than his - and they knew it would work if they could make use of people like Baloney.

 

On the other side of the Sea was the Continent. It was made up of little countries a bit like Angleland. Baloney thought it would be a good idea if he could grab the whole lot - but the trouble was that each country might want to go on ruling itself and war was very dangerous. However, there was already a Big Office in the middle of the Continent that was busily laying down rules for everyone on the Continent rather like a lot of spiders weaving invisible webs. Baloney liked this office very much and hoped to be in charge there himself quite soon. It was called the "Hey You!"Commission. But the "Hey You!" Commission was really run by some of the Stringpullers of the New World Order - and they tweaked Baloney's strings to make him do things. They wanted to make sure Angleland itself became dependent and came to heel. But what they said was, "Your farmers are a threat, Baloney. You won't be safe til they come to heel." Baloney nodded eagerly as they went on whispering in his ear and never noticed that the strings attached to his knees and elbows were tightening.

 

Not long afterwards some of the farmers' animals began to get sick. And some time a little later on Baloney "noticed" and said it was it was a truly terrible disease that had no cure. And secretly Baloney was saying, "Eureka!" He got some Clever Scientists to say that the animals who might have the disease should be killed and that the healthy animals near them should be killed and the healthy animals near THEM should be killed. Even the few sheep who really had the disease didn't show signs of it much - and many had had it quietly and got better but they were the ones Baloney particularly wanted to kill because he wanted to bring the farmers to heel. Why did the farmers not say "NO!"? Because he'd whispered in the ear of one of the farmers' leaders called Bill Gun. He said, "Do what I say Bill and you will one day be one of the really Big Guns". And Bill Gun had nodded eagerly and never noticed that he had strings on his knees and elbows too.

 

Other people who understood about the disease said, "Wait! We can vaccinate the animals and not kill them. We have a quick test too to show which animals are in danger."

"Pooh," cried Baloney and Gun. "We don't want you. Go away. We have everything under control."

 

The disease seemed to take hold in all the most beautiful and wildest and most real parts of Angleland and this was because Baloney's plan was to have control of all these beautiful places and make the farmers come to heel. If Angleland stopped having independent farmers then it would stop being able to feed itself and when Baloney took over at the "Hey You!" Commission, Angleland would have come to heel because it needed to be fed.

 

The people who carried out Baloney's plan were a bit of a worry to him. They were men who rather liked killing. They liked it so much they made sure there was lots of it to do. They were dressed in bright white plastic coats. They had bolts and bikes and guns and spikes and were paid a lot of money. People shuddered when they saw the Men in White. Children whimpered when they saw them. And grown men wept.

 

But the animals who saw the Men in White - the cows with their calves, the sheep with their lambs, the pigs with their piglets - were simply full of terror, and even though the animals tried to protect their young, the men in white just made jokes and chatted to each other and killed them anyway. Sometimes the animals panicked and scattered so then the Men in White pretended to be cowboys, leapt on their quad bikes and chased them eagerly with rifles, running them down and then gunning them down in the open fields. "Those lambs took some killing,"remarked one of the men whose white coat was all spattered with mud and blood after a hard day's work.

 

"Oh well," said Baloney, "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."

 

....which made him send the Men in White to kill lots of chickens next - and then goats, llamas and even water buffaloes. And cloven-hoofed animals that were loved as pets were snatched from people's houses and gardens and killed. The desperate pleas of their owners were useless. And some people said, "Can this be happening? Can this be the Angleland we have loved so long?"

 

There were vets there who were supposed to protect the animals - but they thought that if Baloney had ordered all this killing it must be right. And he paid them a lot of money not to think too hard. So many of them sat quietly in their cars outside the farms that they'd condemned and tried not to think at all.

 

And there was an election and a quarter of the people bothered to vote. Baloney's party got most votes and he was pleased. He smiled a lot. But sometimes he remembered to look tragic about the deaths of the poor animals and the sorrow in the countryside.

 

 

As the dreary days, weeks, months crept by and the farmers and the country folk suffered more and more, some voices were raised in support of the animals and of the farmers. Others were miserable too because they'd stopped making so much money. And people began to talk about the cost of all this killing. It came to millions and millions and millions of pounds.

 

But Baloney was very clever. He said that the farmers were spreading the disease themselves. They were getting millions and millions of pounds because they were cheating. Lots of people who had felt sorry for the farmers stopped feeling anything much. They just went into their houses and sat down. And they watched a programme called Big Brother and so stopped thinking anything much either. Except that they thought that if Baloney and the Clever Scientists had ordered all this killing it must be right And after a bit they hoped it had all gone away. The newspapers were quiet about it. So nearly everyone stopped talking about it.

 

And as the animals went on dying in their thousands, in the once beautiful countryside the thistles grew tall in the silence. The bracken and gorse invaded the soft grassy hills where the sheep had nibbled and the lambs had jumped up and down. In the Forests the snakes came back to the now tangled paths that were covered with nettles and brambles. But sometimes, here and there, people came quietly to lay flowers.

 

But when the few noisy people who hated the lying and the shameful killing still didn't stop talking about it and still didn't stop thinking about it and still didn't stop marching together crying "Jab don't Kill", Baloney's people retorted shrilly that the best scientific advice had told them that vaccination wouldn't work and that they had to go on killing - it was all in the "Hey You!" Commission's rules. And the loudest voice of all was the blustering voice of Bill Gun. But there was doubt now. And anyone who got too close to the Men in White was shouted at and threatened by them or by the police. And any farmer who tried to save his animals was told that he was putting his neighbours at risk - and if he went on refusing to "cooperate" he was threatened by the Men in White or by the police - but the farmers were no longer so docile. And there were shameful instances of false evidence and blatant lying and disinfectant being used as a weapon by those who were just "carrying out orders". And more and more people became frightened of the Men in White and of the police. They did not want to reveal their names for fear of the hostility and power of those who were "carrying out orders". And no one ever bothered to say "It's a free country," any more. But anger was mounting.

 

And however secretly and fast the killers worked it wasn't ever secret enough or fast enough. Baloney wanted it over and done with. He began to have bad dreams about fields of fire, terrified bellowing and rivers of blood, and he woke twitching and sweating, crying out, " The voices! Methought I did hear one cry out 'B'stard has murdered sheep!'" Yes, the piles of stinking oozing carcasses seemed to be toppling over him and somehow it was all going wrong. He would give the go-ahead for vaccination after all. Bill Gun and his other cronies would just have to save what face they could while he himself posed as the benign voice of reason; the good shepherd of his flock, himself, Baloney! It would quieten some of the voices wouldn't it? And perhaps his hands would stop shaking?.......... And he still didn't notice that the twitching in his arms and legs was caused by the tweaking of little strings. Nor did he see that the Stringpullers were still out there, smiling in the ever darkening shadow of the silent, empty hills.

MC