Bacaoco: Will RP's 'savior' transform into The Monster?-A A +A
Saturday, May 15, 2010
ONCE there was a village nestled at the foot of a mountain. The agricultural land in the village was very fertile. The grazing lands were luscious. There was abundant water for the villagers, their crops and their animals.
The villagers were peace-loving people. They excelled in farming and they also had a knack in enticing their animals to produce the most meat, milk and eggs. Thus, the villagers were supposedly self-sufficient and should not want for their needs.
However, fear and hunger had been haunting the village as far as the village elders can remember.
On top of the mountain that looms over the village lived a monster. The monster demands that the cream of the crop, the best produce, the fattest animals and the freshest milk and eggs should be given to him as tribute. The villagers had to content themselves only with the monster's left-overs.
If the villagers fail to provide the tribute, if they scrimp on their tribute or if they try in any way to short-change the monster, great devastation and harm will befall the village. The monster will swoop down from his mountain lair in the dead of the night, burn the standing crops, slaughter the animals and kill any villager who might resist.
Despite this constant threat and intimidation which the villagers face, they still did not lose hope that, someday, the monster's evil reign will end. Towards this goal, the villagers picked the most physically promising young man in the village and train him in all aspects of combat.
Every year, just before the harvest comes, the village sends its fighter up the mountain to do battle with the monster. It has been the prayer of every villager that, one day, they will see their fighter descending the mountain with the monster's head at the tip of his spear.
The day came when it was Pedro's turn to do battle with the monster. His younger brother, Jose, implored him not to go but Pedro was compelled by his duty to risk and even give up his life to free the villagers from the monster's clutches.
Off went Pedro up the mountain. On that same night, the din of battle echoed all over the village. People were unable to sleep because of the noise. They were keeping their fingers crossed that their hero can slay the monster.
When the noise subsided and the sun peeked from over the mountain, the villagers gazed up the mountain trail, hoping to see their hero descending the path with the monster's head.
Morning turned to noon and noon to night. Another day passed and yet another. Almost a week after Pedro left, the villagers hung their heads and acknowledged yet another victory by the hideous monster.
Jose was inconsolable over the loss of his brother, Pedro. He ran to the hut of the village elders and demanded an audience. When it was granted to him, Jose begged for the chance to avenge his brother by being the one who will do battle with the monster before harvest time comes next year.
The elders, understanding the sentiments of Jose due to the loss of his brother, acceded to his request. They called upon all the fighting men of the village to teach Jose all that they know about combat. Jose did not disappoint them as he exhibited unparalleled eagerness to learn and untiring dedication to practice all that he can absorb about the deadly crafts.
When the day of reckoning came, Jose marched off to the mountains with his heart filled with a burning desire to avenge his brother's death.
Jose came upon the monster and engaged him in combat. Furious was the fighting and long was the battle. Fierce shouts and thunderous blows echoed from the mountain down to the village well past midnight and into the early hours of dawn.
Finally, Jose was able to subdue and mount the monster. He sat astride the monster, his knees pinning its hairy arms. With his left forearm wedged against the monster's throat, Jose plunged his dagger deep into the monster's heart.
The monster expelled a smelly breath, seemingly its last. Jose cupped his hands over his forehead, still grappling with the realization that he had succeeded in slaying the monster where countless young men before him had failed. Moreover, he was overwhelmed by his feeling that he had finally avenged his brother's death.
The sun was creeping over the mountain and bathing its top with the soft glow of light when the monster stirred. Gazing at the monster's face for the first time in the light of dawn, Jose was dumbfounded to recognize his dying brother's face.
"Pedro!" Jose exclaimed as he crouched beside his brother, cradling Pedro's head in his hands. "Pedro!" the bewildered Jose kept repeating.
"Jose," his brother whispered as he drew his last breath. "The greatest challenge is not in defeating the monster. It is easy enough to kill the monster. The greatest battle is resisting the temptation to become THE MONSTER once you have slain him."
* * *
I once read this story during my college years but I can no longer recall where I read it. Hence, I can't provide due credit to its author. Worse (for me, at least), I had to rewrite it to share it with you.
Can the next president resist the temptation of transforming into The Monster?
As historian and moralist Baron Acton said in 1887, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
(For reactions and suggestions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)