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By Walter Broeckx
Once a village had a goose. Nothing unusual in that of course. But in this case it was something special. Because this goose had a special quality. For every year in the month of May this goose laid an egg. Again you might say “nothing special”. For in my language there is an idiom saying every bird lays an egg in May. But this was a special egg.
Because it was a golden egg. The whole village knew about the egg. And people from other villages were very jealous because they didn’t have a goose that laid golden eggs. Not every year, not even every 10 years… most other villages had a goose that only produced the usual and everyday goose egg.
Of course the village was very happy with their goose. Because with the golden egg they could do great things. They built excellent houses for the villagers. They made sure they could live in excellent conditions. So every inhabitant of that village was very happy.
But after a while with the goose getting a bit older some started to complain. Because when the goose was young it produced eggs that weighed a lot. But with getting older the eggs became a bit smaller. Mind you they were still of very solid gold, but of course, as with everything that gets older, it started to shrink a bit.
So when the eggs started to get a bit smaller some people started to complain. Why can’t the goose produce the same eggs as before they asked? They just wouldn’t accept that all things change over time. And they forgot that instead of being happy about having a goose that produced golden eggs they started to moan.
People from other villages couldn’t understand why they were complaining and moaning. They didn’t have a goose that laid golden eggs. And in fact they where jealous even when the eggs became smaller. They had nothing to show for and the village with the goose with the golden eggs hat at least one golden egg every year.
But with not as much money to hand out to the villagers the moaning became louder and louder. The complaining became louder and louder. At some moments they even organised a march to the farm where the golden goose was kept. “Out with the goose!” they shouted. “We want more gold!” they shouted. They were wearing black scarves and pitchforks and torches in their march.
The goose was a bit afraid of the noise they produced. After all she couldn’t help it that the eggs became smaller. That is just down to the circle of life.
The leaders of the village couldn’t understand the moaners at all. And other sensible people also said to the moaners that instead of moaning they just should enjoy the fact that they had a goose that laid golden eggs as others weren’t that lucky.
But the moaners shouted back in an angry way: they weren’t happy with just some golden eggs. No it had to be big golden eggs. Only the big golden eggs would do for them. Size does matter for some.
With all that stress and shouting and swearing at the goose the unexpected thing happened…. the next egg the goose laid in May was… not a golden egg. No it was a regular egg that all gooses lay.
The more sensible people said, “oh well, we have been lucky for so long and who knows maybe next year she will again lay a golden egg.”
But those villagers who were very impatient and who wanted a golden egg now shouted at the top of their voices: “Enough! We want the goose to be slaughtered now! At first the eggs became smaller and now there is not even a single golden egg. Kill the beast!” they shouted. “Kill the beast!!! Replace her with another goose! We want a new goose! Any goose is better than this one!…” There was no stopping the protesters.
Again they organised marches. Even violence was used against people who defended the goose. And so to get the rest back in to the village the leaders of the village decided that they would slaughter the goose.
Chop when the axe, and the goose was beheaded. The goose that laid golden eggs was no more.
The leaders went to the market place in the big town and bought a new goose. It looked a promising goose. And they installed her in the former residence in the town farm. “Aha,” they said, “now this is a real goose. A much better one than that old one. Just wait and see what will happen in May!”
It was a long winter. A long cold winter. But the village was in high hopes for the month of May. And when the weather turned and spring came in the air there was a rise of hope and optimism. Now we would see what we would see… a big golden egg. Even bigger than the ones from the past, some said.
May came. And the goose prepared her nest as geese do when they are going to lay their egg.
The whole village was waiting with bated breath….. there was the egg…. they opened it…. but it wasn’t a golden egg. It wasn’t a silver egg. It wasn’t even a bronze egg. No it was just an egg as any other goose produced in the month of May.
“Oh what shall we do now?” the protesters shouted. “Our wealth and happiness might disappear they complained. Because without the golden eggs…they were just a village like any other village.”
But the wiser people had warned for this all along the time of protest. They had warned them to not kill the goose that laid golden eggs.
Alas, the goose with the golden eggs was gone. And the village had to live with the fact that they had slaughtered it. Maybe slaughtered it too soon.
But there was no way back to have golden eggs again. They would have to be patient and work hard like other villages to make their money.
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