The village of Farthnum was founded over four hundred years ago by Lord Leunami, he created the village on the principles of fellowship, compassion and love. With these virtues he lead the village to a time of great prosperity. As Lord Leunami grew older he became ill, and eventually he died. In recognition of all he had done for the village they erected a statue of him in the centre of the village with his final words engraved on the base.
After Lord Leunami’s death the village decided that instead of an individual lord, they would be governed by a group of village elders. These elders would be elected by the people of the village, and would be charged with running the village based on the virtues laid down by the Lord. And this pattern of leadership kept the village in a state of harmony and prosperity for years to come.
One hundred and seventy seven years later the village was struck by a ruthless drought, the well dried up, the river ran empty, and the rain stopped. The nearest water source was seven miles away, so everyday people had to make the torturous walk, through searing heat to fetch the water. Unrest grew in the village and the elders were put under great pressure to find a solution.
One of the elders, Lady Lebesej, discovered the location of an underground spring in the centre of the village, directly under the statue of Lord Leumani. She brought the information before the village and suggested that the statue be knocked down so a well could be built in its place. There was instant uproar, across Farthnum many discussions were had concerning what would happen to the statue, eventually two elders were given the chance to speak to the whole village to say what should happen.
First Lady Lebesej addressed the village “I do not understand why this is a question. The statue is meaningless if we do not live by the morals that it lays down before us. How can we say that we live by compassion if we let our children thirst? Without enough water the brain starves; creativity, imagination and intelligence are all affected. I desire only the best for our children, and as long as we continue to waste time we are not achieving that.”
Afterwards Sir Laab was given the chance to speak. “I have lived in this village my entire life, through the most bitter winters and the hottest summers. I remember playing games around our statue and so the last words of Lord Leumani are ingrained in me. Look at the fellowship we have, with people selflessly traveling for water every day. All we need to do is trust that the water will return, no drought lasts for ever after all.”
After several hours of endless discussion, the elders decided that next week they would have a village wide vote, that way whatever happened it would at least be supported by as many people as possible. Thus everyone went home and thought about what had been said, they sat around with one another and discussed the issue with only their friends.
There were many tensions whenever the friends of Lebesej and the friends of Laab met in the streets, several arguments broke out in the streets as a result. Yet those who had not yet made a decision were bullied the most; pressured from both sides to decide, several even left the village because the pressure was too vile.
Worse was yet to come for it was then that the rumours started. People were reminded that Lebesej had not been born in Farthnum, she had moved into the village with her husband and son only a few years ago. How could she truly understand the needs of the village?
Rumours were also shared about Laab, he had the biggest family. He got the largest water ration. He wasn’t suffering like the rest of the villagers. He was using his large family to win through politics. Others said that secretly his own wife disagreed with him but felt to scared to say anything. How could he care about the village?
The day of the of vote came and went. Nobody remembers what decision was made but in truth it didn’t matter, either way the same thing would had happened. Shouting was used from the start and insults were just as freely used. A stone was thrown at the statue, and then a single vicious slap followed. Survivors tell of a bitter silence filled with hatred lasting only a few moments… More stones and punches followed, chaos had arrived and the riot lasted all night.
By morning not a single house was left un-torched, the village had been utterly destroyed. Most people had fled in the night, others did not stay long past sunrise. By noon only Lebesej remained by the feet of the still standing statue, she sat there clutching in her arms the lifeless body of her son.
As legend goes it was then that it started to rain. The drops of rain landed on the statue, and rolled down the face of Leumani like tears. Dripping onto the stone chest and then off and onto the engraving of his final words…
“Live by compassion and fellowship. And value this above all other things, love one another.”