Friday Night Story

A Child's Introduction to Terrorism, an excerpt from The Barn is Burning

There is a farm, not far from here, filled with all manner of animals.

Pigs, chickens, and many others live there.

Many of the animals graze in the fields.

On a warm day, a bull decided the donkeys were eating more than their share.

The bull attacked them with his horns, and caused a stampede.

But some of the donkeys did not panic, and together they turned him away.

The bull returned to the other cattle, but they were scared of him, and he left the herd.

A few of the older calves went with him.

The donkeys gathered, and the wisest donkey said, “We cannot fight the cattle alone.”

So the donkeys spoke to the sheep, and the wisest sheep said, “The cattle are not our enemies.”

So the donkeys and the sheep spoke to the cattle, and the wisest cow said, “Together we should be safe from those bulls.”

And for a time, they were. The bull could not attack so many hooves and teeth and horns. But he had an idea.

As morning came, just before the rooster crowed, the bulls put fire to the grain silos.

The cattle and the sheep and the donkeys, and every other kind of animal on the farm, gathered and watched as their feed burned.

The chickens clucked and ran about, saying, “Now we’ll all starve.”

Some of the animals joined those bulls.

Other animals looked to the farmer for protection, while some looked to each other.

The wisest of the animals met, not just the sheep and cattle and donkeys, but the fowl and the mammals, the rodents and the reptiles, and every other thing that lived on the farm.

And the wisest sheep said, “We’ve all been fools.”

And the wisest donkey agreed, “Whether we put our faith in our hooves and our teeth, or in the farmer…”

“Peace must come from putting our trust in each other, all of us standing together,” the wisest cow said.

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