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Living Lightly column

A tale for our times

By Lauriston Muirhead

On the planet Erath, there lived a dragon. Over hundreds of millions of years it sometimes slept and sometimes caused death and destruction.   Many different things made the dragon angry or sleepy.  When the dragon had been sleeping for a long time, people were able to plant their crops and raise their animals on their farms.

Then the people found some dirty old magic power stored under the ground from long ago.  They made it warm and cool their houses.  It made their carriages go much faster than their horses could run.  It even meant they could fly.

Sadly, the alchemists discovered that the old magic powers also fed the dragon.  The dragon got bigger and bigger, breathing more and more fire upon Erath.  After a while, the people decided to leave the magic powers in the ground so as not to feed the dragon any more.  Already the alchemists had found new magic powers in the sun, wind and water which were much cleaner, easier to use and would never run out.

One country called Austphalia had lots of the old magic powers.  Unfortunately, the king, his ministers and friends did not want to stop using the old powers because it made them so much gold.

Strange coincidences occurred.  The king’s Chief of Staff used to be the Deputy Knight of the Round Table of the old magic powers.  The king’s Senior Adviser of International Trade and Investment used to be the Chief Knight.  Even the concubine of one of the Shadowy Ministers of Austphalia was a Senior Purveyor of the old powers. Stranger still, when plague came, the king appointed another Chief Knight of the old powers to plan a recovery.  Not surprisingly, a recovery based on the old power was planned.  Many people making gold from the old power made sure they donated some gold for parties for the rich.  So any King and their ministers would let them keep feeding the dragon and making gold.  For example, Countess Meaner Ironheart and Baron Connive Harmer gave generously.

They all pretended that they did not feed the dragon – but they did.

The king’s clothes began to sag and became threadbare – even the children began to see through them.  Soon the people would choose a new king or queen.