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The tale of two frightened villages

This tale can be found among the universe’s entries on the question why?

There is a tale my parents used to tell me.

The tale of two frightened villages

Once upon a time there were two villages. In one of the villages lived the Molos and in the other the Tiblies.
The Molos were afraid of the Tiblies and told their children never to go near the other village.
The Tiblies were afraid of the Molos and told their children never to go near the other village.
‘But why?’ I interrupted my parent.
And they smiled at me. ‘That, my child is the most important question. Always ask, Why? You see, the big trouble was that no one in either village asked that question. Each village kept to themselves and lived in fear. Until–‘
‘Until what?’ I nearly shouted.
‘Until an old woman from the Molos village dressed up like a Tiblies and went to find out what the Tiblies were like.’
‘And?’
‘And she was surprised that despite some differences, she couldn’t find out why anyone would be afraid of the Tiblies. And so eventually she asked an old woman, who was writing poetry for the upcoming village dance.
The poet looked puzzled and a little suspicious and said: “But everyone knows the Molos are terrible.”
“How does everyone know? And why would the Molos be terrible?”
“Are you questioning the wisdom of your parents?”
The Molos woman smiled. “Not their wisdom, but maybe their knowledge. Besides, if we understood why the Molos are terrible, maybe we could share our wisdom with them, and they wouldn’t have to be terrible any more.”‘
My parent paused.
‘What happened then?’
‘Eventually the Molos woman revealed herself, and the two women spent days talking to each other and trying to find out why their villages lived in fear of each other. Gradually they included more members of their villages into the conversations. And for a few weeks it looked as if the two villages could finally rid themselves of their fears. But then some small groups formed in each village, and they slaughtered members of the other village, proving just how dreadful their neighbours are. Among the dead were the two old women who had started the conversation.’
My parent paused again, then they added: ‘But the seed of Why?, the question of questions, had been sown, and so others attempted to expose the unfounded prejudices. Some more died. But decades later, the two villages finally made peace. And neither village lived in fear of the other any more.

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