I Don’t Have the Time & What Can One Person Do?

Posted: March 29, 2011 by TheWild Webster in Fiction, Parables

Two men lived in the forest.  They both farmed, kept livestock and hunted the land.  They were neighbors.

One day the first man noticed that the wolves were getting closer to their steads so he went to the second man.  “Come neighbor, we must go on patrol to fend off the wolves that are coming closer to our doorsteps!”

“I’m sorry,” said the second.  “I do not have the time.  I must tend to my crops.”

So the first man set out alone but found there was not much one man could do.  Without help to chase the wolves he could only get one or two and did little to pose a deterrent to discourage them from staying in the area.

Instead he went home and dedicated his time to building up deterrents on his own property to at least scare the wolves from his own animals.  He suggested his neighbor do the same, but the neighbor just waved and pointed to his plow.  “Busy!” was all he could hear across the distance.

A few weeks later the first man noticed that the deer seemed to be dropping a large number of fawns.  He went to his neighbor again.  “Come friend, we must cull the deer herd.  I fear they may grow in number and threaten our crops!”

“I don’t have the time friend,” said the second.  “I already plannned to go hunting fowl to get myself meat.”

Again he set out alone but found the deer quickly grew spooky of him and that by himself he could only manage to bag a couple of animals.  He decided to head home and begin building fencing to go around his crops to keep the deer out.  He again suggested his neighbor do the same, but the neighbor was busy plucking and skinning his ducks.

A month or two passed and the first man noticed the beaver were building damns upon the river that ran through both of their property.  He again went to his fellow backwoodsman.

“I don’t have the time to go tear out beaver damns!  I need to smoke meat of the birds from my hunting!”

So one more time the man set out alone but found that by himself he could only do enough to remove a few damns before getting exhausted. So he focused on those damns closest to his own property.  He went home while some of his strength remained and began building up water walls around his own land just in case.  His neighbor was still busy in the smokehouse.

A few more weeks passed and the waters began to overflow the banks of the new beaver pond.  The torrents started to flood his neighbor’s farmland, completely destroying the crops and scattering all his animals.

The neighbor pulled out his meats and some bags of his grain and headed for high ground.  As he fled he noticed the wolves were killing his scattered livestock and tried to stop them before his entire herd perished.  But excited by their fresh kills the wolves set upon him as well.  The man was quickly overcome by the pack and had to leave his smoked meats to distract them, barely escaping with his own skin intact.

He returned to his bags of grain to find that while he was fighting the wolves, a herd of deer came by and tore open his sacks, eating them dry.

Once the wolves and the deer finally left him be, the second man went back to his destroyed homestead.  He looked across to his neighbor’s, who’s water wall was keeping his land dry.  He yelled across the new ‘moat’ created between his now-submerged land and his neighbor’s.

“Neighbor, I need your help!   My land is flooded by the waters diverted from the beaver damns.  My crops are destroyed and my animals run off and killed by a pack of wolves.  I tried to fight them off but had to leave them my meats to spare my own life.  While I was fighting the wolves the deer ate all my remaining grain.”

“Sorry, neighbor,” came the reply.  “I was too busy hunting wolves and deer, building my waterwall, erecting my fences and tearing out the damns on this end of the river.  So busy I didn’t fully tend to my own crops or finish curing and smoking my own meats.  I am afraid I must tend to that now, so I regret to inform you – I do not have the time!”

  1. […] I hate apathy.  I don’t like it when I am faced with futility.  So I was glad when my father told me how he deals with the problem.  Yeah, the Levins and Stabenows and the democrats in general always seem to win the state-wide elections in Michigan.  So last election cycle, my father looked around to see what he could do.  He watched the news and came up with an idea. […]

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