ON-LINE EDITION ONLY: “The Good Gazelle”

A great achievement! A small group of gazelle in central Africa became self aware and began passing the trait to their offspring. A method was developed that allowed for the “awakening” of other gazelle, the phenomenon swept across the plain. The method was not perfect; some gazelle did not take to the awakening. After becoming self aware some Gazelle experienced what was called “awakening sickness” the predominate symptoms of the sickness included depression and a sometimes violent resistance to the new life style. Typically the symptoms did not extend beyond the first generation.

It wasn’t long before the Gazelle discovered the knowledge of good and evil through the depth of emotion that accompanies awareness. The pain of losing loved ones was overwhelming and undoubtedly evil, the joy of new life, exhilarating and surely good. As self aware creatures the Gazelle knew it was their calling to destroy evil so Good could be allowed to grow. A method was developed to eliminate the evil predatory animals of the African plains for they caused much pain and suffering. The bravest and strongest Gazelle were enlisted into the Service of Good. Many Gazelle lost there lives in what came to be called the Forty Year War Against Evil. The method for coaxing the alligators out of the rivers was particularly costly, but the wise council members deemed a Greater Good necessary to continue the annual migration to ungrazed pasture. The war was won and the celebration was enormous. Those who gave their lives in the line of duty were honored on an annual basis. Gazelle were free to roam wherever they pleased and Good was able to thrive. For decades Gazelle continued to increase in numbers along with all grazing animals. The annual mass migration was a yearly success, losing only small numbers of Gazelle to old age and minor accidents.

After decades of exponential population increase and success it was noticed that less and less grassland was available for grazing and the growth of Good was beginning to plateau. After some research it was the council discovered the grasslands to the north and south did not have enough time for regrowth between migrations. For the time being the Gazelle could not see the source of this new evil. Each year less and less grassland was available to the Gazelle. It wasn’t long before the Gazelle started to die from starvation and evil once again reigned in the prairie. A meeting was held with all council members. After long deliberation the source of the evil was unveiled. Gazelle were dieing because the other grazing animals were eating too much of the Gazelle’s grass. It was understood by the council that all “unaware” grazing animals were evil, for it was they who were consuming the grass and causing Good Gazelle to starve. The methods of the 40 Year War Against Evil were once again implemented and their unprecedented success was surely validation of the Good they were doing. It became known as the One Year War of Good. The Gazelle were amazed at how ignorant they had been in the past. They had allowed evil to grow and thrive in their very presence, surely that mistake would never again be allowed to happen. Now that all evil had been eliminated the grass began to grow once again and a seemingly unlimited supply of grassland was available to the Gazelle. At first the annual migration was not even necessary. The Gazelle once again began to multiply and Good was able to grow. Peace and harmony ruled the plains.

After a few years the Gazelle had grazed off the plain to the south and were forced to continue their annual migration to the north in order to allow the grassland to the south time to regrow. Over the next many years Good reigned and the Gazelle population continued to grow. The annual migration line extended as far as the eye could see.

At first only the keenly observant noticed upon return from the north that the grassland in the south was thinner with each year’s passing, but it wasn’t long before the bellies of the less than observant began to grumble. The Gazelle demanded answers. Had evil returned’ From what source’ The council met regularly but could not discover the source of evil. It was decided that to discuss such matters might strengthen evil and was itself evil; from that point no Gazelle could speak of the thinning grasslands without being deemed a source of evil and removed. The annual migration continued and the grassland to the north began to thin equally, but it was not discussed. Gazelle began to starve and die. The migration continued and the situation became desperate. Like always, when the land to the south began to thin the migration began. It had been the shortest grazing in the south yet and the migration began early.

The council members who were elected to lead the group set off. The line of Gazelle extended for 100s of miles. It was quickly noticed that the grass along the northern route was the thinnest it had ever been. When they arrived in the northern grassland they were only allowed to stay for a short time before the thinning grass forced them to begin on the southern route. Bellies were growling but had they eaten their fill the Gazelle at the end of the line would get nothing. Everyone was hungry. The leading group made the journey south eating as little grass a possible knowing that Good would provide a full plain of grass once they returned to the southern pasture.

Their bellies empty and their legs weak the leading Gazelle struggled to climb the final hill anxious to see the miles of green on the other side. When they reached the top of the hill they fully understood the source of evil. A large group of ghastly looking Gazelle, surely evil, had grazed off the southern pasture. Not a single blade of grass was anywhere in sight. Before they were seen the Gazelle who led the migration devised a plan very similar to the methods used in the 40 Year War Against Evil and the One Year War of Good. With what strength was left in them the leading members lashed out at the evil creatures and cut them down without mercy. The evil Gazelle were destroyed in one fell swoop. But there were more Gazelle, in fact, many more. The slaughter continued. Good would surely triumph for the evil Gazelle were putting up little to no resistance, many falling with a single blow, some with feeble attempts at self defense. Suddenly the sobering shriek of a fawn stayed the hand of the attack and a blanket of silence covered the scene like a still morning fog. Out of breath and sobbing the fawn’s shriek became words “the end of the line has not yet left on the annual migration, we have grazed off the southern pasture and are starving. You have come back to take our place in line. You are the EVIL!”