Once Upon a Time, there was a lovely little village with happy people. The people were very pleased that they were allowed to elect their chief and also 15 elders for the village. Every day the people went to work, played and enjoyed their friends and families. They sang and danced at Carnivals.
They made wonderful foods and loved their little village very much. One day, a young boy went to the chief and asked him, “how is it that your village is so happy?”. The chief replied, “The people of the village work very hard. They pay gold coins to the village coffers and when they need to enjoy their old age, we pay back to them the gold coins”. The boy was intrigued and said to the chief, “you must have many gold coins for all these people to be so happy”. The chief replied,” we do have many gold coins, but lately, we are paying out many more gold coins then we are taking in to the village coffers”.
The boy paused and said ” what will happen to the people when the gold coins run out?”, and the chief said , “they will be very sad”. ” The people will not be happy and will not be able to play. They will not be able to make wonderful foods and they will cry bitter tears”. The boy then asked, “Can the 15 village elders fix the problem with the gold coins so the people will not cry?” And the chief replied, “they have been asked many times to fix the problem but fear the people will not like them when they tell them the gold coins will have to be reduced.” “In fact, we are paying 80 million more gold coins out each year than we are putting back in the village coffers”.
The boy said ” With a wise chief and 15 elders, can not a solution be found ?”
And the chief replied, “Perhaps, if all of us pull our wisdom together, we can make sure the gold coins do not run out and the people do not cry bitter tears”.”But, it has been many years that the gold has been running out, and the end is near”. “Hope is waning, and the people are going to cry”.
And, the little boy replied “I hope that you, good chief and the elders can show courage and wisdom and do what is needed for our village, so that the bitter tears are not shed, and the coins do not run out and we can ensure the future of our happy village.” “For to do otherwise, is cowardice”.
Submitted to AARP VI for publication by: Maria Ferreras, St. Thomas