The Questioners

May 13, 2009
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Sheep Valley is composed of several ranches that function from its fertile land. Each ranch is unique in its own way, but they all follow one simple rule: Follow the pitchfork. Every farmer makes sure to carry his trusty pitchfork wherever he goes. Each day the sheep would gather in the pasture and listen to the farmer issue orders so that the pasture may run smoothly. Being good and loyal sheep, the work would be done quickly and without fault. At night, the farmer would lead the sheep back into their corrals and assure them they are allowed to sleep. This has been the way of life for as long as any man or sheep can remember. The man issues orders and the sheep follow. Every pasture has adhered to this century-old tradition; every pasture but one.
Comprehension Pasture is known by many names. The sheep of Loyalty Pasture call it the Pasture of Fools. The sheep of Faithful Pasture call it the Pasture of Criminals. The sheep of Devotion Pasture simply named it the Bad Pasture. Nonetheless, the basic concept that makes this pasture so outcast stays the same: Think for yourself. The sheep of the other pastures thought this was a great idea at first, but when they found out that thinking for yourself meant questioning the pitchfork, they quickly declared the concept evil. Thus, these sheep were nicknamed the Questioners. Although the Questioners took pride in their name, the other sheep of Sheep Valley scolded them.
The wolves who recently moved into Death Mountains to the north of Sheep Valley noticed these sheep’s’ peculiar way of life. One particularly harsh hunting day, a very clever wolf devised a plan that could result in food for a full year. At first, the other wolves thought him crazy and assumed the blistering sun had gotten to his head, but after analyzing the idea, they concluded that the ingenious plan just might work. After several days of careful scheming, the wolves were ready to assault Sheep Valley.
Operation Deceive went very smoothly. During the night, the wolves successfully stole the pitchfork of every farmer in the valley. Every pasture they had visited so far had willing sheep that gladly followed the pitchfork-wielding wolves. “Come,” they howled, “follow us into Death Mountains!” It was common knowledge among the sheep in Sheep Valley that the Death Mountains were dangerous and it was forbidden to enter them. However, chants of “follow the pitchfork” urged them on into the black depths beneath the mountain’s tall spires.
Comprehension Pasture was the only pasture still occupied with sheep. “Come!” cried the wolf even louder, thinking the sheep had not heard him. A chorus of bleating blasted back at him. “Why?” the sheep demanded. The wolf was dumbfounded. This was not part of the plan. “Why,” he stuttered, “because I have the pitchfork.” This was not the right answer for the sheep. “Why would we follow a wolf when we know they are evil?” they asked. “Why would we go into Death Mountains when we know they are dangerous?” they persisted. Knowing that he did not have answers for any of the sheep’s questions, the wolf dashed away, warning all the other wolves that Comprehension Pasture was unconquerable. The sheep that followed the wolves were never seen again. Each farmer woke up to an empty pasture and no pitchfork. Having no sheep to support the pasture, they were forced to move out of Sheep Valley. Comprehension Pasture flourished, extending its boundaries across the whole valley. Over time the other farms decayed, having no one to take care of them. Comprehension Pasture became so prosperous that it soon filled the whole valley. Questioners now populated the whole area. No sheep will ever follow blindly again.





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