To The Fleas
by Stephen Waverly

To tell this tale I must first explain the situation in the world. There was cold and starvation running rampant from one corner of the globe to the next. The fleas who made up the majority of life had no clue how to fix their present situation. They wandered aimlessly around their plain of existance hoping that one day the answers they sought would present themselves. For many years nothing came. Fleas were born, and fleas died, and their lives were clouded with indecisiveness.

Then one day two entities claiming to have all of the answers arrived. One was a wise and old donkey. The other was an equally wise and old elephant. These two hated one another for they both felt as though theirs was the only way. The donkey spoke first to the gathered fleas.

"Dear fellows," he began, "hear my voice. I am here to offer you the light. I come from a great distance to speak with you. I implore you to follow me. I offer you warmth in my fur, and a sturdy back on which to stand. I offer you blood from which to suckle your young, and a home in which you may live long and prosperous. The only thing I ask is your undying devotion."

The fleas listened to the words of the donkey, and indeed, it did sound like a great opportunity for them. How could they turn him down when he offered not only food, but shelter as well? Then the large elephant spoke his piece.

"Gathered fleas," he started, "hear my words. You could
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follow this donkey if you so choose, but I believe that would be a mistake in your fine judgement. I ask that you follow me. I also offer warmth from my body, but I offer more in the way of food. I am larger, henceforth, I am able to provide not only blood for your hungry young, but for all of you. I also offer protection. Is my body not a forboding figure? Would you not feel safer with me than with a mere donkey? I beg of you, follow me, it is the right thing to do. The only thing I ask is your undying devotion."

The fleas could not argue with that either. Indeed the larger elephant would provide a much better source of food, an abundance of food as a matter of fact. And his size was quite forboding, who would dare challenge him in battle?

"Fellows," the donkey chimed in, "what I offer is more than mere food and protection. I offer you warmth and insulation from the rain and snow. Do you see the coat of fur which lines my body? Do you doubt it is capable of providing for you all? Look at this elephant, where is his fur? How will he insulate you from the elements? I say he cannot! This elephant is incapable of providing for you. Follow me Fellows, I will lead you to the promised land. All I ask is your undying devotion."

Once again the fleas turned to each other. The donkey did make a strong point, the elephant had no fur in which to snuggle.

"But," the elephant jumped in, "what will you eat if you follow the good donkey? Do you believe he has nurishment for you all? Only I can provide food for your starving young. Only I can offer you blood with an endless supply. You will all reap the benefits of my large body, both on food and in protection, which I will gladly supply. All I ask is your undying devotion."

Another good point. By now the fleas were becoming confused. What was it they wanted more? On the one hand, warmth was critical to their cold young. But what good was warmth without enough blood from which to suckle? They wished they could have both, but it appeared they would have to chose one or the other.

It was then that a third entity presented itself. This one was large and muscular, with a great brown mane surrounding its face. It was a lion of incredible size and stature. The lion looked to the gathered fleas, then to the donkey and the elephant. Both smiled pleasantly at the great hunter. The fleas watched as the three of them stared each other down. They wondered what it was the lion would offer them. Perhaps he had the answers to all of their questions.

In the next moment, the lion attacked the unprepared donkey. It was a swift and uneven battle. After the donkey was slain, the lion turned his attention on the great elephant. It too fell with ease. The fleas were shocked. What would they do now? The great lion turned to them all. He spoke with thunderous voice which they could not ignore.

"Gathered fleas," he began, "I am here to tell you the truth. What I say is always the way. I will lead you into the future, for I am wise and strong, and you are weak and mindless. You will do as I say, and I will not take no for an answer. Climb aboard my back; we must leave now. There are still those in the world who are not aware of my far reaching power. We will find these unfortunate fools, and we will teach them the truth. And if they will not be swayed, then we will tear them to shreds, and leave them to die."

Without hesitation, the gathered fleas jumped onto the lion's back. He must be the way to enlightenment, for he was large and strong. He had killed the donkey and the elephant, and they had no doubt he would kill again. His was the truth. His was the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega.

As the lion strolled off into the distance, he growled with a great contempt. It was a contempt for all who did not share his vision.

"What is the truth, Children?" asked the lion.

"You are the truth, Master," replied the fleas in unison.







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