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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Conflicts and Catapults
By Sheri Gordon


Once upon a time, there lived a king who was distraught by the division among the townspeople in his kingdom. The king wanted a happy, conflict-free land, but every day he could hear the people arguing and disagreeing amongst themselves. The constant fighting gave him a headache and a stomachache. Not knowing how to resolve the villagers’ issues, the king sent the following decree out to all the land:

Hear Ye, Hear Ye
By Order of the King
Feuding and conflict are hereby banned from this kingdom.
Any subjects partaking in disagreements, arguing, or bickering will be catapulted to a land far, far away.
From here on out, my kingdom shall be known as the Kingdom of Squabblefree.

At first, the townspeople scoffed at the new edict, and continued with their old, familiar ways. When the king heard this, he ordered the offenders to be brought before him for judgment. That afternoon, the townsfolk looked up to see some of their neighbors flying across the sky -- sent to a land far, far away.

After a few days of watching fellow citizens sail into the wild blue yonder, the people of Squabblefree realized they had to protect themselves from the catapult judgment. Soon, young and old alike had strips of cloth tied over their mouths. They reasoned that if they could not talk to one another, there would be no arguing.

This seemed to work for a time, because the king heard no more bickering, and the catapulting stopped.

However, it quickly became apparent that although the verbal communications stopped, the disagreements did not. The subjects simply found a new way to express their frustrations with one another. Now, whenever there was conflict, one townsperson would smack his forehead into the forehead of the other townsperson to show his displeasure. The king no longer heard arguing, but he did hear the cracking of heads, and many of his subjects began sporting large lumps and bandages on their foreheads. This was not at all what the king had in mind for solving his kingdom’s feuding problem, and his headache and stomachache returned.

Still not wanting to deal with the townspeople’s issues, an amended proclamation was sent out to the land of Squabblefree:

Hear Ye, Hear Ye
By Order of the King
Feuding and conflict are hereby banned from the kingdom.
Any subjects partaking in feuding, disagreeing, arguing, bickering, or HEADBUTTING will be catapulted to a land far, far away.

The catapulting began again that very day, as townspeople continued to ram their heads into one another whenever there was a disagreement. But after a few more days of flying people, the townsfolk got together and developed a new plan.

Now, if one villager needed to show he was upset with another villager, he would give him the “evil eye.” This would keep everything quiet from the king, yet continue to allow the townspeople to have their disagreements. And it seemed to work, until the king took a stroll through his kingdom, and saw that all the villagers had scowling faces.

The king’s attempt to eliminate feuding and conflict by banning them had not solved his problem at all. In fact, the issues had multiplied in the Kingdom of Squabblefree. His subjects now had gagged mouths, there were bumps and bandages on their heads, and the entire kingdom looked miserable. And still, the altercations continued.

In desperation, the king cried out to God.

“Oh Lord, what am I to do? I only wanted to make the arguing stop. But my attempts have failed. I did not fix anything – I only succeeded in creating more problems. Am I to be stricken with this pain in my head and stomach forever?”

And the Lord answered, “Peace, my son. You cannot fix something by banning it. That does not make the problem go away, it only hides it. And you cannot control people with commands. People have free choice and will do as they please anyway. I know that better than anyone.

“Here’s what you must do. Establish a court of judges to hear the conflicts among your people. Choose wise men who will seek my counsel. And give this one final edict:

Hear Ye, Hear Ye,
By Order of God Almighty,
‘Be Kind to One Another,
Forgiving each other,
Just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.’ (Ephesians 4:32)
From here on out, my kingdom shall be known as the Kingdom of Restoration.

“And one more thing.”

“Yes, God?”

“No more catapults.”

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This article has been read 1058 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tim George01/10/08
Good story with a great last line. "No more catapults." Maybe we should put that one up over the doors of our churches.
Sara Harricharan 01/10/08
ROFL! That last line is a real kicker! (Like the title!) I loved the fairy-tale feel and the lesson which is very tongue-in-cheek. Great job.
James Clem 01/10/08
Very entertaining. This would make a great children's book (that adults would love) especially illustrated with flying people and bandaged foreheads. A top-seller!
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/10/08
Imagination at work here provided an interesting story that proved the proverb.
Lynda Schultz 01/10/08
Very well done—imagination and a whopping good message, too.
Jan Ackerson 01/11/08
I've got to go along with everyone else on this one--light touch, perfect for the topic, and with a subtle, non-preachy message. And yes, the last line is perfection. This should do well.
Joanne Sher 01/11/08
Clever and fun - and I also LOVE the last line. I would love to see this illustrated.
Laury Hubrich 01/12/08
This was soooo good. Very funny and a very good message!
Sharlyn Guthrie01/12/08
I thoroughly enjoyed this creative, fairytale approach to the topic.
Catrina Bradley 01/13/08
A great message in this fun piece. God IS more interested in us doing what is right and good (love one another) than in telling us what NOT to do. The last line left me with a huge smile.
LauraLee Shaw01/14/08
Wow, my imagination has been jolted this morning. This is filled with creativity AND a great message. Excellent piece!
Sally Hanan01/14/08
Loved the wry humor throughout this and the obvious message that calling otu to God first would have made everything so much easier.
Karen Wilber01/14/08
The first 2/3 with the king's edicts sounds like something out of a middle school classroom (mine anyway). Love the imagery of the people being catapulted. Great message. This would be great for youth leaders.
Holly Westefeld01/14/08
Very creative. It clearly illustrates that running from/covering up a problem changes nothing.
Temple Miller01/14/08
I absolutely loved this piece. Ditto what everyone else has said. Just terrific!
Linda Watson Owen01/14/08
Love it!! You're a master of creative humor for sure! Thanks for the smile tonight!!
Peter Stone01/15/08
Wow, that is just an absolute crack-up. I could visualize people flying through the sky over the heads of others. And the punchline was just perfect.
Betty Castleberry01/15/08
Fun! Love this piece that's entertainng, but still delivers a message. Kudos.
Dee Yoder 01/16/08
Ok, I'm dating myself here, but this reminds me of the cartoon fables with the moral at the end I used to watch in the sixties. I can even "hear" the voice-over guy and see the sixties-style cartoon people flying through the air. Love this story! It's so imaginative.
Hanne Moon 01/16/08
I loved this piece, and the last line is perfect! I don't know why, but I think of Calvin and Hobbes with this piece, and when God delivers the last line, Calvin scowls and kicks the dirt. It was great!
Patty Wysong01/16/08
That last line was perfect! I enjoyed the fairy tale setting and the lesson--great! :-)
Loren T. Lowery01/16/08
First of all, I think I've lived in that land "far, far away" where all those townfolk were catapulted to : ) I really enjoyed your take on this subject and found in tongue-in-cheek funny.
But, most of all I enjoyed the wise message at the end.
Tim Pickl01/16/08
This is a wonderful piece that catapults the imagination! It reads like a skit....or a play!
Justus Ondieki01/22/08
Thank you for that wonderful article.May the Lord bless you and keep up with the good work,
Love sent,