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
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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.”
“No more catapults.”
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