A STORY FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON
This time around we do not intend to bring you all the crime that is happening in Doringkloof right now, but rather to entertain you with a short story.
Many years ago, before even our great-great-great-grand fathers trod this earth and the modern era had not yet even been thought of, and overcrowding was not a problem, there was a country far to the north of us. In one of the larger towns there lived a people who were starting to feel the pressure of too much urbanisation. And so it came to pass, that some of the more adventurous citizens decided to move away from the town into the open country-side where there were almost no people. However, that part of the country was also much wilder with wild beasts living in the forests all around their new settlement.
After a few years these people noticed that each year, as Christmas approached, some of the wild beasts came closer to the village to seek food (remember in the north, Christmas comes in winter time when food for the wild animals becomes scarce and so they seek food where they can). Most disconcerting were the bears, who came ever closer, eventually coming into the village at night to forage for food. This alarmed most of the people as the bears started to strip the bark off their fruit trees causing the trees to die, the few vegetables left in their veggie patch were uprooted and eaten, while every morning they had to pick up the rubbish strewn from their rubbish bins.
Eventually the villagers got together to determine how they were going to stop this menace. At the village meeting it was decided that anyone who observed the bears would use a whistle to rally the other villagers. On hearing the whistle all the able bodied men and women would sally out and drive the bears back into the woods. (An interesting note is that the villagers were mindful of the law and so they did not kill the bears but just frightened them away by sheer force of numbers.)
This worked for many a year and the villagers felt that they had sorted the problem out. In fact many villagers started to relax and some did not even respond when a single bear were spotted approaching the village. The village elders even asked some brave men to act as ‘bear chasers’, who would walk about the village, particularly at night and chase away any bears that were spotted coming into the village, driving them out with loud clappers. This worked for many years!
But then, as time went on, the number of bears coming into the village just before the start of the Christmas season started to increase again. At the same time the amount of volunteer ‘bear chasers’ had dropped, although most villagers were totally unaware of this. Sadly, by this time most villagers just rolled over in bed when they heard the whistle at night, thinking that the ‘bear chasers’ would be out there doing their job. Moreover, some residents had taken to sleeping with wads of wax in their ears so that their sleep would not be disturbed; saying that they needed a full night’s rest to cope with their farming activities during the day. Indeed, one bear even wandered into the village during the day. The lady who spotted him did the right thing and blew on her whistle as loud as she could. But her neighbours were just too busy with their lives to go to her aid and just simply ignored the whistle. Unfortunately that lady lost all that she had nurtured throughout the summer so that she could give her family a splendid Christmas dinner. By now, most of the villagers had the attitude that they were not expected to go out and chase the bears away, that was the job of the committee members and the ‘bear chasers’.
And so, each year the bears just kept on coming during the pre-Christmas period, slowly increasing in numbers, carrying off the villagers’ food that they were hoping to celebrate Christmas with. The elders eventually called a special meeting to appeal for support, while some residents even volunteered to sit as new members on the committee in order to bring fresh ideas in how to stop the bears!
But the bear menace just continued. Other than that, not much else changed! It appeared as if the villagers had accepted the status quo and so went on with their lives. One could notice that more and more rubbish bins were being left out on the pavements, while some villagers made little effort to secure their property against the bears in spite of the increased threat. Alarms were ignored and so life went on.
Apart from this sad festive season story, an interesting fact emerged while researching this bit of history. The name of that village was Thorn Valley. Amazing – apparently it was given that name because of the profusion of roses that grew wild in that place and made it such a pretty place to live, work and play.
The DNW Team wish all our Residents a secure festive season.