Letter: The wily Fox and his bridge: A Sakonnet fable


To the editor:

Once upon a time in the “Land of the Animals” there was a small state known as the “Grand Duchy of Chaff."  The Royal Governor was the Duke of Chaff. He was a simple donkey who viewed his role as mostly ceremonial. He deferred the actual governing of the state to an evil Fox and a group of subordinate goats who allegedly represented the citizens. The goats were loyal to the evil Fox and almost always voted as he told them. They were all of the same political party. In fact, there was only one party in the state.

At one corner of the Grand Duchy of Chaff there was a large island populated mostly by sheep.  Their livelihood depended largely on the grazing land and farms on the mainland, which they reached via an old bridge.  The bridge had fallen into disrepair. Consequently, the sheep were greatly relieved when the government in the royal castle began to build a replacement bridge. All was well until the new bridge neared completion. Then, the evil Fox announced that anyone who crossed the bridge would be required to pay him tribute every time that occurred.

The sheep appealed to the small group of goats who represented them at the castle.  The goats tried to get the evil Fox to rescind the tribute. They promised him that they would agree to vote in favor of a bill that was unpopular even among his usual loyalists if he would agree to keep the bridge as a free access route. He was a wily Fox and always got his way, so he agreed to do as asked. However, as soon as the unpopular bill was passed, the evil Fox reinstated his demand for bridge tribute. The island goats had been duped by the evil Fox.  They had agreed to bribe him with their votes, but the deal had failed.

Soon the sheep were required to pay the state one carrot each time anyone crossed the bridge.  Later the tribute was raised to five carrots.  Some of the sheep asked why the state needed so many carrots.  They were told that most of the carrots would be used to pay for projects at other parts of the state. Only a few would be needed to support maintenance of the new bridge.

The sheep were unhappy. However, being sheep, they paid the carrots and continued to reelect the same goats who had been duped by the evil Fox.

End of story.

C.  Roger Wallin



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