Reign of Error: Chapter Five

Previously in ‘Reign of Error’: the village elders consider a cleaning droid, which has crashed down from a space-ship, as the emissary of their Wargod, whom they ask for advice in important political matters. The cleaning droid doesn’t understand the questions, but randomly beeps and flashes red and green lights, which the elders interpret as either disapproval or approval – how long will this reign of error last?

Read ‘Reign of Error’ from the start (=link to ‘Prologue’)

The village had been thriving during the first several years since the arrival of The Emissary. The harvests, too, were from now on protected by a wooden enclosure whose construction The Emissary had ratified. The quarrel with the neighboring town had grown into an armed conflict, and for the hitherto irenic villagers, this meant a boost in weapons trade and craftsmanship. The tide turned when the newly formed guild of weavers pronounced itself against the slaughter of what they called their ‘colleagues’. It didn’t take long for the issue to be on everyone’s mind. The weavers were accused of being quixotic radicals, whilst they in turn accused their opponents of barbarous cruelty. The only way the Chief could prevent them from flying at each other’s throats, was by asking The Emissary whether the Wargod approved of killing animals. Upon hearing that the Wargod did not approve of this, the weavers were finally listened to, and the villagers became vegetarians – eating meat became a capital crime.


This decision marked the end of a prosperous era. The villagers had become used to an ever-increasing extent of their trade, when suddenly they found that, as vegetarians, they had far fewer goods to trade. Animal hides, tools made out of bones, and their famous rejuvenation potion based on lamb’s blood all of a sudden vanished from their once opulent markets. Matters got worse when it became clear that the protein-deficient youths, clad in bark and armed only with wooden sticks were no longer a match for the raiding parties from neighboring towns whose inhabitants shot their bony arrows at them with sinewy bows. As the young people tended to move away, and the elderly gradually died out, the village became a mere shadow of the blooming town it had once been.


Amidst the decaying ruins of the town hall, it was the aged prophet Aron who preached a return to the old ways. “We have become,” he said, “like the lamb in the Old Poem, whom, lured by hunger into the shepherd’s arms, was cruelly slaughtered when he forgot to run away, his youthful vigor gradually eaten away by the warmth and shelter he had found.” Spurred by a swell of his audience, he continued with a loud voice, “shall we, likewise, consign to oblivion our ability to save ourselves?” He paused. “Or do we shed, like the wise oak, the rotten and infected branches at our extremes?” His clamorous voice grew calmer when he quoted from an ancient text. “Once, an old oak was trimmed by a wood-cutter. The oak was laughed at by a young maple tree which stood nearby him. How could he so calmly allow himself to be violated? But when the wind began to blow fiercely, the maple tree was torn up by her roots, trying to hold on to her uppermost leaves, while the bared old oak remained unharmed.” Aron looked around his audience, and continued; now almost whispering “Let us learn from this ancient wisdom. Let us not cling to the agent of our demise.” His tone again became one of great intensity. “We must oust the weaverish Emissary, and return to the peace-loving people we once were!” As he yelled these words, he pointed towards the cottage in which the Pot was on its pedestal.


The discontented and deprived villagers were easily swayed by Aron’s words. The Council of Elders was reinstated, and the pot was abandoned. It was transported to a deep and moist subterranean grotto, where it was disgracefully left to mold and decay.

Read ‘Reign of Error’ from the start (=link to ‘Prologue’)

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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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1 Response to Reign of Error: Chapter Five

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

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