Once there was a shepherd who lived on top of a hill. He ate and he drank and he looked at the village sheep all day, until he was bored. ‘How should I entertain myself?’ he thought. He wondered and he wondered until he came up with an idea. So he took a deep breath and shouted, ‘There is something rotten about this village. A revolution is coming!’
‘Revolution! Revolution!’ cried a boy who heard him, as he ran towards the hill along with hundreds of his friends, and the elders looked on in scorn and loathing. But there was no revolution.
‘Don’t cry revolution, dear shepherd!’ he said as he walked back to the village, weeping all the way. ‘There is no revolution.’
Soon, the shepherd was bored again. So he took a deep breath and shouted, ‘There is something rotten about this village. A revolution is coming!’
‘Revolution! Revolution!’ cried the boy, as he ran towards the hill along with thousands of his friends. Some elders joined them, and the others looked on in scorn and loathing. But there was no revolution.
‘Don’t cry revolution, dear shepherd!’ he said as he walked back to the village, weeping all the way. ‘There is no revolution.’
Soon, the shepherd was bored again. So he took a deep breath and shouted, ‘There is something rotten about this village. A revolution is coming!’
‘Revolution! Revolution!’ cried the boy, as he ran towards the hill along with tens of thousands of his friends and all the village elders. But there was no revolution.
At sunset, an old man found the boy sitting alone, weeping with his head between his knees. The old man comforted the boy and explained to him as they walked back to the village: ‘Everybody believes in a lie when it is told repeatedly.’
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The lion and the crow:
An angry crow took a swarm of birds to the lion’s den to complain about his excesses.
‘You are unfair and you are unjust and we cannot take it any more,’ he said to the lion, asking the king of the jungle to come out. ‘You no longer have the right to be the king.’
‘What do you plan to do about it?’ asked the lion from inside his den. ‘Do you want to fight me?’ His roar was so loud and so furious that it frightened many a bird into silence.
‘Oh we will not fight you,’ said the crow. ‘Haven’t you heard? Everyone has agreed to live in a democracy.’
The lion came out of his den and stretched his neck pretending to look at something far away.
‘What are you looking at?’ asked the crow.
‘Nothing,’ the lion replied. ‘Just some sly, hungry foxes coming this way with their boots on.’
The crow began to tremble with fear, and flapped his wings as he prepared to fly away.
‘Where are you going?’ asked the lion. ‘They will not bother you. After all, everyone has decided to live in a democracy.’
‘Yes, but I am not sure if the foxes have heard about it yet,’ replied the crow. And then he flew away.
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The fox and the crow:
There was once a crow who somehow got his claws on a piece of cheese. He was sitting on a tree on top of a hill holding the cheese in his beak, when he saw a fox approaching.
As sly as they come, the fox said to the crow, ‘If your voice is as beautiful as your face, and I am sure it is, I cannot imagine how motivating it would be for the animals of the jungle to hear you make a speech. You should be the prime minister!’
The crow, not quite humble to begin with, was delighted to hear the praise. So he gathered all the animals he could reach and opened his beak to squawk gibberish about why he should be the prime minister. As soon as his beak opened, the cheese fell down. The fox ran and grabbed the cheese.
‘That is not fair!’ complained the crow.
It sure is,’ replied the fox, trotting back to Rawalpindi. ‘You got the praise, and I got the cheese.’
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Crying over spilt milk:
A shepherd was once taking a bucket of milk from his farm on the hill down to the village. ‘I will give this milk to children and charm them,’ he thought. ‘And then they will tell their friends and family about how charming I am and I will build a reputation. And then they will tell the people from other villages about my reputation and I will become a legend. And then I will go to the king and tell him to bow his head before me because I am the new king.’
Engrossed in his dreams, he bowed his head like he would want the king to do. Off went the bucket from his head and all the milk was spilled.
‘Sigh,’ he said. ‘My dreams are spilled all over the roads of Islamabad.’

The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.

harris@nyu.edu

@cyborgasms