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The Puppy Parable
John yawned lazily, reflecting on the night before, “Damn, what a night” he murmured. He gave his surroundings a quick look-over, seeing only empty streets, he continued walking. After a short-while, he heard a faint rustling sound. He closed in on the sound and ended up at the entrance of an alleyway. An open cardboard box is positioned in the alleyway and it appeared to be …. moving. John cautiously entered the alley and peers into the box only to be greeted by the sight of a litter of puppies, happily playing inside it. Suddenly, an old man appeared in front of him. John, astonished, jumped back, fearing that he is about to be mugged. The old man raised his hands to show that he was unarmed.
John had never seen a man, let alone an old man, like this before. He looked … odd. He wasn’t crouched and lurching; he moved with a brisk gait and stood tall and proud. His blue eyes glimmered with wisdom, his wrinkled skin, not showcasing weariness, but experience. He smiled at John. A grandfatherly smile, John thought.
“Who are you?” John asked.
The old man continued to smile. He bent down, reaching into the box, to delicately retrieve a pup.
“Do you want one?” The old man queried.
John, still somewhat shocked by his appearance, stammered “What?”
“Do you want a puppy? I know he doesn’t look like much now, but if you care for him, feed him, and train him, he will grow to love you. He will be your guardian and protect you from those who wish to do you harm.”
John, finally recovered from his initial shock, considered the proposal.
“I guess I could use some protection.”
The old man handed him the puppy.
“Before you go, I must warn you” The old man’s voice growing stern, but still kind. “Only use this pup to fend off aggressors, never use it to act out your own aggression.”
John nodded and, hurriedly, walked out of the alley.
Over time, the puppy grew. Its limbs became strong, its teeth, sharp, yet it only possessed a rudimentary intelligence. It needed John to guide it to its proper function.
One warm morning, John decided to take a stroll with his dog. While walking past an alley, he was attacked by two knife-wielding thugs. John, paralyzed by fear, froze. His dog, however, sprang into action, and made quick work of the thugs.
A few others had heard the commotion and went to investigate. They were greeted with the sight of a triumphant beast and a shaken owner.
It was time to use the dog for its proper purpose, as a safeguard of human life against its destroyers. Those who had witnessed the dog’s prowess also gathered around John and his guardian for protection.
John, along with his new companions, built a flourishing city. Every man and woman worked without fear that the fruits of their labor would be stolen by thugs, and they all prospered. Word spread of a safe and prosperous city, and more people came seeking a life free from tyranny in this burgeoning city. But this prosperity brought another kind of creature.
One afternoon, a group of citizens went to John with a few concerns. They suggested he use the dog to obtain goods by force. John, severely offended, immediately refused, but eventually gave in to their pressuring. They assured him that he was embarking on a great social good. He was uncertain, but accepted their demands.
As the goods were seized, the demands grew larger and larger. Soon there was more demand for goods than there were goods. John decided to put a stop to this but the group would not have it.
The dog was seized, and John was left helpless.
The sun was setting on the once prosperous city.
In the darkening gloom, John heard the dog snarling and saw the smiling faces of the group. They were talking too him, but he didn’t hear a word. His last thoughts were of the old man, he pictured the old man smiling, though the smile wasn’t joyful.
The old man said:
“The dog is under new ownership. You fed the dog, and loosened its leash, and now you are its next meal.”
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