Saturday, February 6, 2016


North of the farm, in the dusty corners where the animals had lots of space to roam, there was a pack of wild, rabid dogs that preyed on the swans, ducks and sheep that stayed there. They lived on the fringes of the farm, never submitting to the leadership of any farm manager. In the days of Goodhead, they killed swan after swan, duck after duck, sheep after sheep. Whatever they could not eat on the spot, they carried away to their hideouts to consume. Sometimes they dragged sheep and made them work in their hideouts or fleeced them for wool which they wore when they went on their raids.

Rumour had it that this pack of rabid dogs had begun going mental before Goodhead became farm manager. Slowly, as no farm manager had payed attention to the extreme northern corners of the farm, rabies spread among all of the dogs and puppies in the area. And they went mad, moving in packs through the farm, slavering as they went, biting and killing and taking animals away. In all, by the time White had become farm manager, they had taken or killed many thousands of animals all across the farm.

White had, in one of the rare moments when he broke his silence, sworn that he was not Goodhead who let rabies spread in the north of the farm and that Goodhead did nothing to stop these rabid dogs from operating with such efficiency. And indeed after he had taken over from Goodhead and begun to tie up all the animals that helped Goodhead plunder the farm, it seemed for a while that the rabid dogs had stopped raiding swans and ducks and sheep.

Groups of animals had in fact been protesting the way these rabid dogs operated. One prominent group, led by a German shepherd was created in response to a particular raid when Goodhead was farm manager which saw a few hundred lambs herded away violently by the rabid dogs. The German shepherd barked loudly throughout the farm to raise awareness about the plight of these lambs. Goodhead hated this German shepherd and thought that it was all an attempt to undermine him.

The German shepherd has kept at it for years, refusing to be distracted by anyone. Not even by the herding away of other sheep, the killing of lambs and the stealing of swans and ducks that the rabid dogs continued to do after those particular lambs were taken. Sheep and swans and ducks were affected, yes. Even other lambs. But the German shepherd insisted, the focus was on the return of lambs. Not any lambs. Those particular lambs.

Trying to cleanse the farm of rabies, armed farm hands conducted raids against the rabid dogs. Sometimes they would find rabid dogs. Sometimes they would rescue stolen lambs. Some armed farm hands died in the process. But everywhere they went they were severe, many times killing sheep and swans and ducks in addition to rabid dogs. Their severity was all in the process of ridding the farm of rabies they insisted. And they angrily denied it when animals accused them of murdering innocent farm animals in the process of hunting down rabid dogs.

Of all of lambs rescued by the farm hands, the German shepherd insisted, none of the ones it fought for was among. “And I will keep fighting,” the shepherd swore, “until those particular lambs are brought back to the farm unhurt.”

Each time lambs or sheep would run away from the hands of rabid dogs or be rescued by farm hands animals would peep, preparing to celebrate loudly and ask: “are those the German shepherd’s lambs?” And when it turned out not to be those lambs, they held back their jubilation and walked away with sullen faces.

Now, White, assured by his genocidal farm hand, Dick-Tai that he had rounded up a few rabid dogs and summarily shot them, and chased the rest out of the farm, made big speeches about having won the war against rabies and against rabid dogs.

“We have won. In the name of all the animal gods and all that we promised, we have won. Swans and ducks and sheep and lambs are now safe. Especially lambs. No one will be bitten. Sure, some of the rabid dogs while running away and starving might desperately try something. But I assure you, we have won. You can sleep now.”

And the farm hands of White tried to force the swans and ducks and sheep that were now taking refuge in different parts of the farm to go back to their former homes. All was well, they were assured. White needed to show the farm that he was in control. That no one was now scared to go back to the northern edges of the farm. But the swans were still afraid. And the ducks were still afraid. And the sheep were still afraid.

One of White’s most senior farm hands, a fox named Lime, known for the ferocity with which he attacked the enemies of whoever was feeding him, called all the animals that were known to spread news across the farm. He sat them down and spoke to them sternly.

“White is doing a lot on this farm. He has whitened our hearts and purified our souls. He has made miracles happen. This is the news you should spread across the farm. Not news of rabies. Not reports of cowardly rabid dogs. We have defeated rabid dogs. Carrying any news of a raid by rabid dogs is tacit support for rabid dogs. Carry the tales of White instead. Of his glory. Of his whiteness.”

And not very long after that it happened that a pack of rabid dogs walked into a large animal enclosure, bit many sheep, killed lambs and ducks and swans and set the whole enclosure ablaze.

And the animals who spread news across the farm were not sure whether to talk about this recent brazen raid of the rabid dogs.

And when somehow, news spread about the raid, White insisted on calling the rabid dogs mere cowards.

And the sheep and ducks and swans buried their dead.

And the German shepherd continued fighting for those particular lambs, secretly barking in the ears of any animal who questioned this, accusing them of disloyalty and sabotage.

And White’s farm hands insisted there were no more rabid dogs.

And the Whitist priests held hands with the farm hands and sang hymns to celebrate White.

And the volunteers working on the gargantuan statue of White, worked tirelessly.

And White, silent about the pain in his side, prepared to take a short trip from the farm to another farm far away that had resident veterinarians.

And no one could say what exactly caused the pain in White’s side.

And Whitist worshippers all across the farm chanted in unison:

In the name of the White father
And of the farm hands
And of the holy Whitists

Bless us White for we have sinned
Bless our thoughts
Bless our desires
Bless our intentions

Blessed be thy name
Thy will be done in every quarter among every animal species
Teach us to love your will
Teach us to be teachable
Teach us to trust your will even when your will may not be clear
Teach us to defend your will before it becomes your will
For thine are the decisions, the thoughts and the glory
For as long as you choose to be farm leader


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You fit vex, bet abeg no curse me. You hear?