The Island of Metanoia

Many years ago on an island, a big island called Metanoia, there were two tribes, one led by Leonaides and the other by Marcheen.
          They disliked each other, just as their grandparents had done before. At first Leonaides tribe was in power and later for most of the time, the Marcheen tribe.
          They were so jealous of each other, who had the best land, the biggest castles, the most beautiful women, the best poets, and most important, the best uniforms. Leonaides tribe had blue and Marcheen’s green.
          One very hot summer, and summers could get very hot in Metanoia, Leonaides and his men, and a few of their girlfriends, went for a gallop into the countryside.
          After a while they were sweating even more than the horses and they were just turning over the mountain towards the River Sniffy when they saw hundreds of tribesmen…..and you guessed it, they were in the green uniform of the Marcheens.
          Well Leonaides realised it was too late to retreat so he and his exhausted men jumped off their horses, threw of their armour, crawled to the river and fell in to the water to wash and drink.
          Marcheen’s men were doing the same. They had ridden many kilometres. They had in fact been going to attack Leonaides tribe. But now the men in blue and the men in green began to chat. They could even understand each other’s accents.
          And soon all the men, and the girlfriends were singing together and before long Leonaides and Marcheen joined in. The whole atmosphere changed. “We can’t go on fighting like this,’’ said Leonaides. “Let’s make Metanoia great again.”
          “Maybe,’’ he said, ‘’we could get some of the other small tribes to join us.’’ So, while the soldiers sang, and the sun went down, Leonaides and Marcheen, got a big board and scratched down all the thing wrong with Metanoia.
          First, Metanoia had no grass—it had trees, fruit and vegetables, but no one could get grass to seed grow. And so the people had no milk and no beef.
          “What can we do?’’ asked Leonaides. “I know,” said Marcheen, ‘’we’ll get hold of O’Higgi, the old sage or wise man who lives in the big cave on the big white mountain.
          So O’Higgi was brought before them. He was very nervous, not being in either of their tribes, so he quickly advised them. ‘‘Leonaides’’, he said, ‘’you must meet Ping, the King of China, and get him to sell you an enormous Cow.’’ “And you Marcheen,” O’Higgi said, “go to John Bull Island and get them to sell you a big Bull, they have many of those.”
          “And, he said,” don’t forget Leonaides to ask King Ping for some of China’s best grass seed.” Remember, said O’Higgi, the best cows are fed on grass.
          So Leonaides and Marcheen did what O’Higgi advised. And the following year there was grass growing all over Metanoia, the cows and the bulls increased in number, and all the Metanoians, even the poor ones, forever more had plenty of meat and milk.
          So children, the message of this story is that even your greatest enemies can become your friends if you work together on what you both want, and most important, listen to wise old people, even if they are not of your tribe, because sometimes they know more than you think.

Children’s Story, May 10, 2020

©Paul Murray
Dublin Unitarian Church