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Feeding Big Man (a story for adults)

Once there was a village near the river
like other villages, but in this village stood a man
taller than the others, jolly and bright. He built huts,
ploughed fields, caught fish, forged tools.

There was nothing he couldn't do. He grew
faster, stronger, with each passing day 
while others so impressed with his speed
saw their own skills pale in comparison

So in awe of his strength they left him to his jobs
while they struck a committee, elected a chairman
wrote up a roster to feed, wash and clothe him.
Villagers laboured to keep him strong and beefy.

Big man got bigger, got stuck behind his door.
Couldn't leave his house, couldn't do his chores
so the villagers had to do them as well as care
for him in the style and manner to which

he was accustomed, his large appetite, rich tastes
too big for his humble home, he demanded more
– a castle or a mansion, while the villagers bore
the cost with their labour, health, and savings

they were tired, worn down, enslaved by his needs 
but what could they do? What could they say?
Trapped! Until a child crept with courage to the castle
late at night to plead and show the man how the village

had become so poor, so weary, her last feint hope 
for reason and compassion and he wept, overcome with guilt 
he thanked the child, promised to care for all, the way
he had been cared for. She ran home to tell her folks

who were relieved, happy, and praised the child
until the mayor and town planner heard the story
charged the girl with treason, banned her
from the village for going above her station.

Just who did she think she was to enter
the sacred castle of the big man? The good
villagers argued with their neighbours.
Was the child right or wrong? 

Alone with a broken heart she wandered hills
and valleys, starved and cold she died
in a distant valley by a different river
while villagers wrote laws and manners

so that no child would embarrass her elders
by showing more courage and gumption
than they. Never again. The lesson well learned
life got back to normal, a solemn duty bound

tradition, a weary acceptance, the sober 
second thought, everyone in their place.
A trap they felt but never dared talk about.
The way things are. 

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