The End of the World

Many years ago, on an island in the middle of the ocean there lived a small community.

The people of the island lived a peaceful life in great harmony with each other and the natural wonders of the world around them.

All had plenty to eat. Crime was non-existent. Everyone prayed to the Gods in thanks for their life in such a paradise.

One day, the glorious burning light in the sky, little by little, was covered by a great darkness.

The people of the island panicked.

Surely, they had angered the Gods. The light would soon be gone. This was the end.

All they took for granted would be gone in a matter of minutes. All inhibitions crashed to the ground. Some fought. Some killed. Some burned houses to the ground. Wild orgies erupted as desperate people clung to a final moment of pleasure to see them through to the end.

Amidst the carnage, an old man calmly strolled from his seat on the beach to the top of the island’s only mountain.

Those huddled with their loved ones, waiting for the end, followed the old man’s example and trailed him to a large flat rock at the top of the mountain.

When he arrived he stopped, put down his walking stick, sat upon the rock and closed his eyes.

Hypnotised by the serene expression on the old man’s face, his followers sat at his feet and waited for they knew not what.

Some thought that the old man had simply lived a full and happy life.

Others speculated that he had attained true enlightenment; a detachment from the folly of all worldly things.

Some simply questioned if the man had gone mad.

As they sat and watched him, the darkness in the sky grew until suddenly all went dark. Nothing in the old man’s expression changed.

Then, just as quickly as the darkness had spread, the light emerged and soon all was bright again in the beautiful island sky.

As the people returned from their madness, the horror and shame at their own behaviour left them at a loss for what must now be done. Houses burned, islanders murdered, dignity tainted.

After much arguing and debate the islanders decided to consult the only resident who had handled the dark with calm. Together they walked up the mountain to where the mystical sage and his dedicated followers were still sitting.

“Old man of the island. Homes are burned. Men and women are dead. Marriages are broken. All through the madness of the great darkness of the sky. How do we fix what cannot be rebuilt?”

There was a long silence and the islanders waited eagerly for the old man’s advice.

Finally, he opened his eyes and spoke.

“All do unthinkable things in the darkest of moments. In the blindest of times, to understand all is to forgive all.”

The crowd gathered at the old man’s feet nodded in agreement with the wisdom in his words.

“After all, I should know,” the old man added, “the last time the sky darkened I ended up with two kids, three new wives and a bill for fifty goats for burning down the temple…”

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