A cautionary fable for our modern world.
by Mike Adams
“Sir Meliodas, a knight of great legend, returned from the Neverlands with stories of vast chasms, mesmerizing forests, and tales of strange creatures large and small. But he saved the greatest story for the night the townspeople gathered at the pub, huddled around the room to hear the "big news" of what Sir Meliodas had witnessed.
"There is a great red dragon," he began slowly, as the candlelight flickered across the faces of all those in attendance. "And I overhead it planning to destroy everything in this town; the buildings, the homes, and even to bring death to all those who live here." The townspeople were stunned into silence. They had believed this would be a night of tales of conquest or adventuring, not a warning that they might all be destroyed. It was not an idea they were prepared to entertain.
And so the psychology of denial was unleashed in their minds. "There's no such thing as dragon!" shouted Olef the butcher. "I've seen every animal that can be ate, and I ain't never seen a leg 'o dragon in my shop!" "He's right!" barked the Guard Captain, keeper of the peace and local law authority. "There are no dragons! I've been Guard Captain for over thirty years and I've seen every threat you can imagine, but I've never seen me a dragon!"
The townspeople looked to Sir Meliodas for an answer. Sensing the demand for an explanation, he carefully replied, "My dear townspeople, although you are correct in believing that a dragon has never yet crossed the path of our delightful town, this is about to change. An event will soon take place that will destroy your businesses, your homes, your livelihoods and even many of your lives if we do not take precautions against it. I saw with my own two eyes and heard with my own ears the red dragon beast," he continued. "Larger than ten horses, with wings so immense they could reach across the width of this very tavern. He was highly intelligent, able to speak, able to plan, and he unknowingly revealed to me his plan for destroying this town and everything in it. I only bring you warning so that you may be prepared."
The townspeople murmured for a few moments. "Fear monger!" cried one of the housewives. "You're only trying to scare us! Are you hoping to sell us your 'services' for protection? We're onto your scam!"
And as the mental mechanism of convenient denial was unleashed, the rest of the townspeople joined in the chorus. "Stop being negative!" screamed the local head of the merchant organization. "You're scaring everyone and it's bad for business! We don't need your scare stories around here!"
"Doomsday prophet!" accused the banker. "Why do you threaten our town, our economy and our people with such scare stories that are obviously false?" "Blasphemy!" cried the priest. "Why do you abandon faith in God, He who protects us from all evil? For us to prepare, as you now insist, would mean we have lost faith in God!" The screaming then took on a life of its own as the townspeople let loose an uproar of insults and accusations against this bringer of bad news.
"QUIET!" shouted Sir Meliodas in response. The townspeople fell silent. "As you wish, I will depart this town and leave you in peace. But before I go, I must urge you to give these warnings all due consideration, for I assure you they are based in reality, not fiction. You must prepare now or face annihilation."
He looked around the room then, making eye contact with each of the townspeople, saying, "I have journeyed for many moons and crossed many rivers and lands to bring you this news, and should you choose to ignore it, you do so at your own peril. You place your children and your livelihoods at great risk, and my heart breaks in knowing the pain and suffering you will endure if you fail to heed these urgent warnings. May God be with you," he said at last as he strode out of the tavern and disappeared into the night.
The next day saw business as usual in the town. People were busy with their own lives, exchanging gossip, watching the local comedy theater or the jousting tournament. The sun shone brightly, money and goods exchanged hands, and children were laughing and playing in the streets. The rain blessed the crops and the townspeople became increasingly convinced that Sir Meliodas was out of his mind.
"I'm so glad he decided to leave," said one seamstress to another. "He was bringing such a negative energy to this town and making everyone worried." "So true," responded her friend and coworker, who had just acquired an upgraded cotton spinning wheel called the iSpin. "We all need to stay positive, and focus on the bright side. That's the key to happiness!"
All across town, the people convinced themselves Sir Meliodas was out of his mind. He was crazy, they said. "A conspiracy theorist," most people agreed.
As the hatred toward Sir Meliodas grew, the Mayor publicly announced the banishment of Sir Meliodas from the town, urging all townspeople to immediately report him to the Guard Captain so that he could be arrested. "We cannot allow fearful conspiracy theories to terrorize our blessed town!" he declared to great applause. His popularity soared, and the people increasingly described him as a man of great wisdom and inspiration.
Then one day a dark shadow swept across the sun. A magnificent shriek echoed through the streets as the sound of huge wings flapping roared across the landscape. When the townspeople looked skyward, they saw the impossible: a gigantic red dragon streaking out of the sky, aiming right toward them, just as Sir Meliodas had warned.
As the church bell rang out a warning across the town, people flooded into the streets just in time to see the great red dragon unleash a fireball three times larger than his own body. It struck the center of town like an incendiary bomb and immediately engulfed the town in flames. Children ran in terror, many of them burning then dropping dead where they once played. Men shouted for their loved ones and the screams of women trapped in burning buildings filled the air. In mere seconds, the buildings began to collapse, engulfed in flame and burning out from within.
Then the red dragon unleashed a second fireball, having completed a wide aerial turn that brought him on course with the town's church. Though it was made of stone, many of its roofs were constructed of wood, and they immediately ignited. As the dragon passed directly over the church tower, it whipped the tower with its tail, demolishing the heavy structure and raining down stone shards on the townspeople below who cried in terror as they bled and died. In minutes the town was utterly destroyed, and fires raged for many hours. Only those who had been out in the fields were spared, as they were far away from the town center during the attack. They wept, and buried their dead, and that night they gathered in the moonlight at a nearby campsite protected by oak trees.
The consensus of the survivors was best expressed by the very first person who spoke; a farm laborer who had spent most of his life tending to cattle and sheep. "This is all the fault of Sir Meliodas for being too negative." The other townspeople nodded their heads in agreement, assuring themselves that it was the bringer of bad news who was to blame for the terrible events that had unfolded.
"We shall rebuild," announced one of the farm owners. "But this time, we'll make it a crime for anyone to spread fear-based conspiracy theories, and we will thereby protect our town so that such devastation as we have experienced never happens again." That man was immediately elected the new Mayor, and the town was re-named to "Happyville."
They did, indeed, rebuild the town. The ashes of the dead were removed and buried. The buildings were meticulously rebuilt, and the church was eventually repaired and reopened. A new sign was erected over the entrance to the town's main road, and it read, "Welcome to Happyville. Where happiness is mandatory."