A Parable in Two Parts

Part One

In a small village, there lived two men who, the previous season, had each bought nearly identical fields directly across the road from each other. Both swaths of land were the same size, touching the same river, and got the same rain and sun. The farmers both spent days and weeks tilling and planting and waiting for their crops to finally pierce the ground and reach out for the sky. And when they finally did, and they could wade through their seas of wheat, the first farmer noticed a strange dissonance in the farms – the second farmer had managed to grow twice the wheat he had.

‘Now’, the first farmer thought, ‘I have the same land as he, the same acreage, on the same river, catching the same rain. And I was never lazy; I got up in the morning to do the same work at the same time, we both equally sweat and bled under the bright, bright sun. Yet his field has grown double of mine.’

This farmer, so unjustfully treated, went before a judge and asked for their wheat to be added together and split, so that both received the same amount of grain for the same amount of sweat. ‘Your Honor,’ the first farmer began, ‘I am no sloth, and I have done my best, but no matter the work I have put into the ground, nature has thwarted my way. It is my right to be given a fair years wage for a fair years work, and since I, no stranger to toil, did spend as much time as my neighbor in the dirt and mud, we should end up with same reward. Punish me not for the mysteries of nature, all I ask for is the justice of fairness.’

The judge, who could find no fault in such an argument, took their wheat and combined them, and split it in half to distribute to the both of them.

But the next year, when the work began, the second farmer remembered this lesson, and when it came time to plant, he planted half as much. And when, at the end of the year, the neighbor noticed that half the field lay fallow, he went before the judge.

‘Your Honor,’ the first farmer fumed, ‘my neighbor has left half his land empty, for nature has made his path easy. He has done half the work that I have done, he has sweat half the sweat, and he has bled half the blood, yet he has reaped the same crops as me. It is my right to be given a fair years wage for a fair years work, and since I, no stranger to toil, did spend twice as much time as my neighbor in the dirt and mud, why should we end up with the same reward? Punish me not for the mysteries of nature, all I ask for is the justice of fairness.’

The judge, who could find no fault in such an argument, took the fallow lands and gave them to the first farmer, so that all would be fair.

Part Two

In a small village, there lived two brothers who, years before, had each been born on the same day from the same womb, twins from conception. Both boys were of the same size, of the same family, and got the same teachings and beatings. The brothers both worked the fields for their neighbor and spent weeks working, lifting and running and pushing and pulling. But any who watched would notice a strange dissonance in the twins – the second brother could lift more, run faster, push further, and pull harder, and was paid more than the first.

‘Now’, the first brother thought, ‘I have the same blood as he, the same mother, and the same teachings and beatings. And I am never lazy – I lift and run and push and pull as hard as I my muscles allow, and sweat and bleed under the bright, bright sun. Yet he is stronger and faster, and his work is worth double of mine.’

So this brother, so unjustfully treated, went before a judge and asked for the pay to be added together and split, so that both received the same amount of pay for the same amount of sweat. ‘Your Honor,’ the first brother began, ‘I am no sloth, and I have done my best, but no matter the work I can do, nature has thwarted my way. It is my right to be given a fair years wage for a fair years work, and since I, no stranger to toil, did spend as much time as my brother in the dirt and mud, we should end up with the same reward. Punish me not for the mysteries of nature, all I ask for is the justice of fairness.’

The judge, who could find no fault in such an argument, took their pay and combined them, and split it in half to distribute to the both of them.

But the next year, when the work began, the second brother remembered this lesson, and when it came time to lift, he lifted half as much; and when it came time to run, he ran half as fast; and when it came time to push, he pushed half as far; and when it came time to pull, he pulled half as hard…

Advertisements
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: