The Ruricolist is now available in print.

Fable of the Whale and the Squid

A whale once determined to settle between himself and the greatest of squids which was the more terrible, and thereby master of the ocean. So he sought out the terrible squid, and fought it. The deep was full of noise: blasts of killing sound, roars from carving jets of water; and the battle, watched by whales (for the squids did not care) was a jumble of teeth and tentacles, and something white in the lampless deep, and wrapped all around it long clouds of grasping sea-dark.

The whale won. The squid sank away where even whales could not follow. And all whales knew that it was a whale who was the master of the ocean. Then the watching whales left, and the victor – ragged, bleeding, exhausted – swam away alone to rest.

But now there were walls of noise against his sides – stunned, he could do nothing as three young whales tore him apart, to become the new masters of the ocean by killing the old.

Moral: The Ambitious and Successful forget that Ambition is common.