Two short and connected fables centered on the realm of nature and rule of law as spoken of by John Locke and William Wilberforce.
Short Story #1- on Locke’s ‘Second Treatise on Government’
“Men being by Nature, all free, equal and independent…The only way whereby anyone devests himself of his Natural Liberty, and puts on the bonds of Civil Society is by agreeing with other Men to joyn and unite into a Community, for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure Enjoyment of their Properties, and a greater Security against any that are not of it.” – John Locke
In a simple forest in the midst of the world lived various different creatures, separate from one another due to the bonds of nature. Each built their own home and lived however they could manage. But, life was lonely and harsh to the individuals of the forest.
Occasionally, one would run into another and fall in love, choosing to create their own family. The increase in numbers helped to improve life, but in the end they were too weak to fight against the trials of the forest.
One such family was made of five otters who lived by a river bank in a little holt. The parents worked hard to provide for their family, but were not often able to protect their family from the forest’s danger. It was during such a time of distress for this small family that they came across another family- this one a small group of four beavers.
Their youngest pup had fallen into the river nearby and, as he was newly born, had yet to learn how to swim. His family tried their best to save him, but were unable to reach the little otter. It was at this time that a father beaver appeared farther down the river and was able to catch the little otter, bringing him to the shore.
It was upon meeting with the father beaver that the otters learned that the young beaver family were stranded, their old lodge had been destroyed in the previous storm. In thanks, the otter family invited the beaver family to live next to them, helping them build their own home.
Each family helped one another with food- the beavers built dams that would occasionally catch fish for the otter family while the otter family searched the forest for bark from birch and willow trees as well as plants and mushrooms for their beaver friends to eat.
Soon, the young pups and kits grew up and created their own homes near their parents, finding their own love’s and creating their own families. As time went on, more and more animals discovered their little community and joined- otters, beavers, badgers, ferrets, minks, weasels, and even a lone wolverine.
Slowly with all these additions, a community and civilization was built. They all worked together to create peace and safety around their homes. But, due to the largeness of the gathered animals, tensions were bound to occur. After clashes between various animals, the parents of the many homes came together and decided to create rules that were to be followed.
They outlined what was to be done in times of natural disaster, laws that would create the greatest amount of peace, laws about trading, laws about death, laws to create prosperity for the group, and laws stating the penalties if such laws were to be broken. After this, they expected things to settle- but life has never been as simple as that.
Upon the destruction of two homes due to the actions of two members of the community, action was sought by both. Each family blamed the other for the destruction of the home and wanted repayment. Slowly, tensions grew as members of the community were dragged to either side. Soon, it seemed like the community would fall apart- that is when the father of the original otter family stepped in.
Older than he was when he first met his wife, he was well-respected by the members of the community as many went to him for advice. With a kind and wise hand, he repaired the relationship between the two families and created a solution to deal with the two destroyed homes: both families would work together to recreate each other’s homes.
Seeing the wisdom that the father otter held, the community elected him to be the guide over the laws- he would take the situations that came and judge, based on the laws, what actions were to be taken.
He was firm and filled with integrity, operating within the laws and never going beyond them: his goal was simply the safety and preservation of the community that had been created. As he grew old in age, he retired from his position and another was placed at the head of the law. Life was good for all.
But one day the worst natural disaster hit the small community, the storms came and flooded the river, destroying much of the community’s homes. This was too much for one animal to handle, and so the new badger leader called together the community and asked for them to elect other members of the community so that this disaster could truly be dealt with.
Out of the community’s seventy members, six others were called to join the young leader’s side. With their help, the homes were rebuilt and the community was restored to what it was before. In fact, with the larger group of leaders, new laws were created and approved of by the community, adding to the lifestyles and prosperity of the many members.
It was through the growth of this community and the coalition of so many individuals that all their lives were made better- they strengthened each other and were there to help in times of tragedy and disaster. They were much more safe and protected together than alone- much more content than ever before.
Short Story #2- on William Wilberforce’s, ‘1789 Abolition Speech’
“So much misery condense in so little room, is more than the human imagination had ever before conceived…Let any one imagine to himself six or seven-hundred of these wretches chained two and two, surrounded with every object that is nauseous and disgusting, diseased, and struggling under every kind of wretchedness! How can we bear to think of such a scene as this?” – William Wilberforce
As the small community of animals by the riverside had grown, many families had connected with one another in friendship. Each individual was quick to befriend one another- to create camaraderie and peace within the community. Yes, they were all friends, all but one.
One animal was separated from the rest: the only wolverine of the community. He was one of the first to join the community, but stayed away from the rest. He was content to stay in his home- when he was not there, he was scavenging for food. He helped out the community by trading different fish, plants, birds, and other food found in the woods to the other community members.
The other members were grateful for his help in times of disaster- as one of the biggest and strongest members of the community, he was instrumental in helping with disaster relief. But, his quietness often made them unsure around him. This was not so for one of the youngest beaver kits in the community.
For as long as he could remember, he was curious about this lone wolverine and wished to know more about him. He often would find his way to the wolverine’s home, separate from the rest of the community. Despite the shyness of the creature, the young kit often visited with excitement. He would ask about the wolverine’s day or week and then tell him about his own.
As the young kit grew, so did his friendship with the lone wolverine. The wolverine was shy, but kind. He was self-conscious and unsure around others, but wanted to help in any way he could. Soon, the young kit was an adult, leaving home to create his own family. He met a female beaver and built his own home- right next to the wolverine’s.
As his own family was started, the father beaver started to wonder about his old wolverine friend again. Despite his curiosity growing up, he could never bring himself to ask why the wolverine was so distant, why he was so quiet, why so many scars littered his body. But now, he felt he could ask him. One day, he went alone to the lone wolverine’s house to find out the truth.
It was then that he learned of a tale of sadness and pain; of a younger wolverine. His old friend told him of how, unlike the community he lived in now, his home community was not safe. Despite the efforts of the wolverine’s who lived there, they were terrorized by the nearby community of wolves. The wolverine’s were looked down on and exploited by the wolves.
The lone wolverine spoke about how his parents tried to protect him, but were powerless to stop the wolves actions to torment him. He was often picked on by these wolves; they saw his potential and strength and used it to their advantage, forcing him to do whatever they wished.
He labored and labored for the wolves for years and was often punished when he did not work to the degree they wished or made a mistake. The lone wolverine spoke of how he had lost all hope, resigning himself to being perpetually bound to the community of wolves. But, one day hope began.
A strong and wise wolf had stood up and fought against the actions of the wolves in his community; other wolves had had no idea such things were occurring and reacted with horror. This push against the wolves’ actions was soon combined with the strong resistance of the wolverine’s that were subjected to the wolves’ actions.
As the actions of the different wolves of the community came to light, things began to change. The resistance on both sides was strong and was determined to improve the lives of the wolverine’s. Soon, such actions were made illegal by the laws of both communities and any violations were given harsh punishments. The lone wolverine and his community could finally live in peace.
But, the lone wolverine grew restless- all his life, he had only known this community. So, with a goodbye to his family and friends, he set out into the forest. He was looking for something new, a better life. It was soon after that he found the community where he now lived.
The lone wolverine told the father beaver how he was happy to be here and, though he was distant from the rest of the community, he was grateful for their kindness to him. He acknowledged the troubles of his past and was now focused on his future and happiness.
He spoke of how he cared for the community, yet was shy and reserved. He enjoyed the quiet and peace of the outer parts of the community- the joy that it brought. He did not wish to insert himself into the community, but was instead content with the life that he had now built and was determined to finish out his life right where he was.
The young father beaver left his old friend’s house, quiet and yet filled with understanding- he was happy to have found a friend in this lone wolverine and to learn of the harsh life he had had. He had a stronger appreciation for his own community and the peace and love that existed.
Pain and misery existed in the world, even in his own community, but they could always be overcome with unity and strength. No pain was ever truly lasting and peace was always around the corner for people who pushed for it. The power and strength of freedom could not be stopped forever.