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The Village

There once was a frolicking, fortunate, man named Felix, who lived a simple life of honest work and modest pleasures. This portly, bearded man had a boisterous sense of humor and made clever pranks that were enjoyed by the other folk living in his village, but there was one inhabitant who was definitely not laughing at his antics.

In a small, isolated cabin on the edge of the village was a bitter, old, grey-haired man named Darren. When he wasn’t working the land or meticulously maintaining his property, he would make his way into town to criticize the other townsfolk – including small children and adolescents who were having otherwise wholesome, harmless fun.

“You should be studying or doing chores, young man!” Darren says with a shrill tone while waving his cane and adjusting his spectacles.

A few young children hurriedly grab the ball they were playing with and stand closer to the buildings in the main part of the village. They stand there with their heads lowered as Darren continues grumbling.

Overhearing the commotion, Felix walks towards the children, and they draw closer to him in turn. Standing in-between children and the aging Darren, he says, “Certainly a little afternoon play isn’t hurting anyone.”

“That’s not the point, young man!” Darren replies. “They shouldn’t develop bad habits. Though, it’s clearly many seasons too late for some of us.” He pokes the rotund Felix in his midsection with his cane, and his face turns sour for a moment before he shakes his head.

“I could say the same of you” Felix says with a smirk. “I may overdo it sometimes, but I’d rather be like a sweet dessert than withered grapes. Perhaps you need a little reminder of the season in your life when you could appreciate a sweet reward.”

“Nonsense!” Darren replies. “I was just as disciplined then as I am now, foolish young man. Don’t think you can persuade me otherwise.” With another shake of his cane, and a dismissive wave of his free hand, he walks away from the center of the village towards his lonely cabin.

Felix turns to the children, and with a impish expression he says to them, “It seems to me that he forgot that play isn’t just about games and competition. Sometimes it’s just fun to see what happens.” The children look at each other, then back at Felix, and they all chuckle together in the fading light of the day.

In the days that followed, the frolicking Felix and the neighborhood children set their sights on the stern, humorless Darren. Every morning before dawn, with the help of the three younger boys, Felix wakes up Darren with a cacophony of wind instruments– playing music with the boys near his doorstep before slipping away into the brush.

When Darren would come into the village, the boys would hide behind buildings and stores to play loudly on their instruments out of sight. As the days progressed, other boys – including quite a few adolescents, joined in on the fun.

“I hope you know that this is certainly not appropriate!” Darren says angrily. “You have much better things you could be doing with your time.”

But instead of answering the all too serious Darren, more townsfolk joined in –with instruments of many other kinds. The myriad of musical instruments in the village continued mocking the stern, serious Darren – no longer heeding his bitter words, until his angry protest was buried in a wall of sound.

The frolicking Felix leads the other villagers to the center of the settlement, and when everyone stops playing their instruments, he says, “Mockery is far better than humoring the humorless.”