Bedtime Story

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Samuel. Samuel’s family had settled on rough, rocky uncultivated land. Now that land was plowed, planted, irrigated, and fertilized, and Samuel’s family was famous for their large, juicy, sweet oranges.

Samuel once had a friend named Hassan. Hassan’s family herded sheep and cattle near Samuel’s home. After school when they had finished their chores, Samuel and Hassan would play ball together.

Samuel’s and Hassan’s families didn’t own their farms. Nobody in their entire region owned their own land. They were all tenants of a very old man who owned a large part of the world.

One day the old man died, and the other landowners formed a council to discuss what would become of his land. Samuel and Hassan’s families attended the meetings as well as all the other tenants.

Finally they reached a decision. The old man’s legacy would be divided among the tenants. Samuel’s family would inherit their farm, Hassan’s family would inherit their farm, and all the other families would inherit their farms.

The other tenants were happy with their portions, but they decided that Samuel’s family should not receive theirs.

That was because of the ancient books. Samuel’s family had a different book than all the other tenants. That made them infidels.

The book of the other tenants promised that Samuel’s family would never own their farm. Samuel’s family’s book promised that one day they would own their farm.

Everyone knew that only one book could be true.

Immediately after the council of landowners gave each family the deed to their property, the other tenants met with Hassan’s family.

"Move out of your farm for a little while," they told them. "We’re going to drive Samuel’s family into the Mediterranean. They might fight back, though, and we don’t want you to get caught in the crossfire. We must prove that our book is the true one."

So Hassan’s family left their farm and took refuge in a little camp near the other tenant’s farms, and the tenants joined together to drive Samuel’s family into the Mediterranean Sea.

Instead, Samuel’s family drove them back to their own farms.

When it was all over, Hassan’s family called to Samuel’s family from their little camp. "Give us back our farm!"

"No!" They replied. "We can no longer trust you. You might try to drive us into the Mediterranean again."

So Hassan’s family turned to the other tenants. "Let us come and live with you," they asked.

"You’re fine where you are," they replied. "We’ll soon drive the infidels out, and you will have their farm as well as yours."

Years and decades passed. They tried and tried but nobody could defeat Samuel’s family.

With each defeat, Hassan’s family became more embittered, angry, and filled with hatred. They taught their children that Samuel and his family were apes and pigs who would murder them and grind their bodies into their bread.

As their rage and hatred festered they became devious, prone to cowardly sneak attacks against the most defenseless and weak members of Samuel’s family, blowing their bodies to pieces.

Samuel’s family became adept at defending themselves from the attackers. They put up fences to keep Hassan’s family from blowing up their children. They trained the most vigilant watchmen in the world, who manned check points, inspected and interrogated Hassan’s family, but they couldn’t stop every murderer from getting in.

Yet Hassan’s family complained bitterly to the world that Samuel’s family had stolen their farm and that they were oppressing Hassan’s family with the fences and checkpoints.

The world said they must negotiate. So Samuel’s family told Hassan’s family that they would give them back their farm if they would admit they had a right to exist and promised to stop blowing up their children.

Hassan’s family said Samuel’s family did not have a right to exist. They had to prove that their book was the true.

Some of the other landowners were friends with Samuel and his family. They grieved when his little sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and grandmothers were blown to pieces. They knew that Samuel’s family had a right to a share of the old man’s legacy.

As their bitterness and hatred grew, some of the other tenants began to plan cowardly sneak attacks against the friends of Samuel’s family, blowing up defenseless citizens of those lands.

As they became more and more obsessed with proving their book was true, they required that their own citizens dress and behave as if they were living in the time when the ancient book was first written.

They stoned and beheaded men who didn’t grow the correct style of beard or women who didn’t swath their entire head and body in flowing black garments.

They now look beyond Samuel’s farm and vow they will not stop murdering until every infidel on earth either proclaims their book to be true or is killed.

They know that in order to achieve that, they will need a bigger bomb.

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