Once upon a time…
…there was a village by the sea. It was a beautiful village. The villagers loved the land and the sea and took care of each other. Oh, sometimes they didn’t all agree with each other, but they did all agree that the village was a wonderful place to live.
As happens in many villages, an ogre came to live in the village. He opened a shop that sold coconuts, but not regular coconuts for this was a magical village, these were special talking coconuts. The talking coconuts helped the villagers know what everyone was doing in the village. If someone was having a party in one part of the village, the talking coconuts would let those living in other parts of the village know about it so they could all come and enjoy the party. The talking coconut business was good.
The ogre was very friendly with some villagers, but mean to others. He would tell some of the villagers that if they didn’t buy his coconuts, he would tell others about how bad they were, even if they were not bad at all. He would use his magical power to be sure that the talking coconuts said bad things about the people who did not buy his coconuts. They did not want other villagers to think they were bad, so they bought the talking coconuts from the ogre. But they did not like the ogre. They did not dare say so out loud for fear that the ogre might hear. So the whole village went on buying talking coconuts from the ogre for many years.
The villagers who the ogre was always nice to could not understand why other villagers did not like the ogre. His talking coconuts always said nice things about them. If the ogre’s friends did anything bad, the talking coconuts did not ever talk about it.
And so the village lived in fear of the ogre and his talking coconuts.
Then one day the ogre grew weary of the coconut business. He traveled to far off lands. His talking coconuts told all the villagers about the ogre’s travels and the ogre’s opinions about the village and the villagers. The more tired he became of the coconut business, the more often he traveled. The serfs who took care of his talking coconuts and sold them in his shop worked very hard when the ogre was away. They worked long hours and when the ogre was in the village, had to listen to the shouts of the ogre.
The ogre liked to shout and let the other villagers know that he was the ogre and he and only he, had the talking coconuts. Meanwhile many of the villagers did not like the ogre or how he treated them or his serfs. But they were nice to him because he controlled the talking coconuts. And he reminded them often that he controlled the talking coconuts.
One day, he decided that since everyone was nice to him, he should sell the coconut shop and become one of the lords of the village. The ogre already thought he knew everything about the village, so being one of the lords would be easy.
And so, the ogre set about finding someone to buy his coconut shop so he could be a lord. He looked far and wide, but every time someone looked at the ledgers of the coconut shop, they decided it was too risky. They couldn’t understand how he counted his coconuts. Finally, a couple from another small village decided to buy the coconut shop. The ogre changed his mind several times, before he was really sure he wanted to give up the power of owning the talking coconut shop.
Finally the day came and the ogre sold the shop. Right away the ogre felt the power of the talking coconuts slipping away. He didn’t like that-not one bit. He wanted the power back, so he began telling everyone in the village that the new owners were bad people. They were not going to take good care of the coconut shop or the serfs that worked there. Why, he was sure they would run out of talking coconuts within a year. Then, the ogre would get the coconut shop and all his power back.
But alas! The new owners were kind people, who respected the villagers and the serfs who took care of the talking coconuts. Soon villagers learned that the new people did not say bad things about people, whether they bought their talking coconuts or not.
Some villagers were so happy to be free of the ogre, they laughed and danced and bought more coconuts than before. But mostly, the villagers were relieved that they did not have to buy coconuts for fear of what the ogre would say about them to the talking coconuts.
Meanwhile the ogre discovered that without the power of the talking coconuts, not many villagers wanted him to be one of the village lords. And he left the village.
The talking coconut shop moved to a happier spot, where villagers could come and go anytime they wanted. The coconuts still talked, but now they talked to the villagers about all the fun and happy things happening in the village-the good news about what a great place the village was to work and play.
And the village lived happily ever after.