Reign of Error: Chapter Two

Our cleaning droid, CD-2, is crashing on a blue-greenish planet, but what is happening on the planet below? Read on to find out!

“…I must return to the village before it turns dark.”

Isaac had been searching for wild berries all day long.

“Father will be very angry if I come home too late.”

There were seasons in which the rocky plain lay bestrewn with stubby bushes heavy with ripe berries. But the plants were scarce this year, and their berries small.

“Maybe in this cave I’ll find some mushrooms.”

As Isaac cautiously entered the cave, images of his ill-tempered father flashed before his mind’s eye. Actually, Isaac didn’t really care what his father thought. He was still angry with him for what had happened during the celebration of the new moon.

This year’s harvest had not been a good one, and the villagers blamed their chief, Isaac’s father, for a quarrel with a neighboring village. The Council of Elders had said that the gods needed to be appeased by a sacrifice. To ensure the sincerity of the atonement, something everyone cared about needed to be sacrificed. For this reason, it was decreed that the chief was to sacrifice Isaac, his only son! The chief himself was sure to regret this, but the villagers, too, paid a price. For it was an old tradition that the remnants of a sacrificed lamb were eaten by the attendants of the offering, but if Isaac were to be sacrificed, there would be no chance of feasting.

The ceremony had been carefully prepared, and Isaac lay tied down on an altar. After a ceremonial dance, the villagers arranged themselves in a semi-circle at some distance from the altar, which stood in their center. When the roll of the drums stopped, the chief stepped forward, and solemnly walked towards the altar. Except for the soft patting of his sandals in the sand, complete silence lay over the scene. Having reached the altar, the chief halted. With closed eyes, he slowly raised the ceremonial blade above his head and above the altar on which his son lay. As the dagger hovered menacingly above Isaac’s chest, the chief threw one last despairing look at his son.

Just as he was about to plunge the knife into his victim, he saw something moving in the bushes behind the altar. He lowered his arms and let out a joyous cry when he saw what had caused the rustling. “The gods do not want his blood to be spilled!” He said, pointing to the boy. “They have provided us with a lamb.” The villagers were amazed at seeing in the shrubs a young ram, its horns entangled in the twining leafage. It bleated hysterically as the chief approached it with his shimmering knife in his hand. “We must sacrifice this animal instead of my son. The gods will it!”

From the bystanders rose murmurs of suspicion – Hadn’t the Elders said that it was Isaac that needed to be slain? The words of the chief evoked only some uncertain cheers. The villagers seemed reluctant to let their chief get off this lightly. “Behold, it has reddened hoofs!” The villagers thronged to see for themselves the true sign of the Wargod. When they realized that they would go home with a full belly after all, they assented to the change of plans. And so it happened that a poor, innocent lamb was cruelly slain instead of Isaac...

Will the stories of Isaac and CD-2 come together? Find out for yourself in next week’s episode of ‘The reign of Error’. Don’t forget to subscribe to the updates on this blog so that you receive the next episode automatically! 

Click here to read Chapter Three of ‘Reign of Error’

About fbenedictus

Philosopher of physics at Amsterdam University College and Utrecht University, managing editor for Foundations of Physics and international paraclimbing athlete
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2 Responses to Reign of Error: Chapter Two

  1. Pingback: Reign of Error: Chapter One | The Tricycle Down The Rabbit Hole

  2. Pingback: Reign of Error: Chapter Three | The Tricycle Down The Rabbit Hole

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