The Priests, the Red Men and the Volcano

– Please, Merlin, tell me a story ?

“I know many stories,” I sighed.

– Please, tell me a story!

“All right. I’ll tell you the story of the Red Men.”

– Who are the Red Men ?

“They are men who painted their skin so they looked as if they were red.”

– Why would they do that ?

“They did that because their priest told them it would please the gods. See, the priests used to tell the tale of creation, and in that tale, they said the first Red Man was born from the union between the God of Fire and the Goddess of Earth.”
“The tribe lived near a volcano. It’s not a comfortable place to live, especially when you never know when some lava will come up to ruin your harvest, or when a volcanic bomb will tear a big hole in the roof or your house. But the Red Men didn’t mind too much, they were proud to live near the volcano, because the priests told them that the first Red Man was born there, of Fire and Earth.”

– Okay, so they were red men, but what happened to them?

“One day, they stopped painting their skin in red”.

– Why would they do that ?

“One day, the volcano erupted. Not the small coughs it used to do, no, a big, Pompei-like eruption. The survivors killed their priests and left.”

– That’s a stupid story. Why would they kill their priests?

“If there were no more priests, then nobody would tell them that they still had to live near the volcano, and that they were the offsprings of Fire and Earth, right?”

– Err… I suppose so. Still, it’s a lame story.

“Not from a priest’s point of view. See, it tells exactly what priests have to know about their job”.

– And what would that be?

“What priests have to know is that they don’t need to worry about meeting their gods’ expectations. That’s the easy part of priesthood.”

– Come on, priests have to do as their gods say!

“Gods aren’t picky, they just need some prayers, some good food, to be worshipped and get a little sacrifice here and there. It’s not difficult to please a god.”

– What is the hard part then?

“What they need to do is meet their followers’ expectations. That’s what makes priesthood such a dangerous line of work”.

– … (grumbles).

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