This is a story about Randy and June, who lived in the Land of Silence. Every day they walked five miles outside the city to pick walnuts from the walnut trees, which is how they got enough to eat. But in order to have a cot to sleep on and a well to wash their hands in, they had to pay several bushels of walnuts every month to the Big Time Swingers who made sure that everything ran smoothly.
The Big Time Swingers announced that due to rising skies and falling grasshoppers, Randy and June had to roll in more walnuts into City Hall every month.
Of course they were getting angry. “We don’t have time to watch the grass blades wave home,” said June to Randy.
“You know this is the Land of Silence,” said Randy. “We can’t talk about such things.” June shook her head and sighed. “There must be something we can do.”
By this time the Big Time Swingers were getting the message from the Army Ants that Randy and June were having a hard time keeping their mouths shut. “We’d better do something,” they said, “before everyone starts talking!” So the Swingers reduced the amount of the required walnuts. As a double-gifted bonus, Randy and June didn’t have to roll them anymore to City Hall. A new messenger service was established to pick them up.
“This is wonderful,” said June. “Maybe we can scrape together enough walnuts to buy a gum-drop tree!”
Randy thought for a moment. “Or maybe a motorized caterpillar car!”
To celebrate this new era of decreased walnut pocket picking, everyone in the Land of Silence was invited to a party under the biggest walnut tree in the middle of City Center. The Swingers brought along 10 buckets of cold lemonade and 12 dozen loaves of walnut bread, in addition to a special treat, a mock walnut spinach hamburger!
“Dear Ladies and Gentlemen” announced the first of the Swingers, while all the boys and girls laughed at being called Ladies and Gentlemen. “We are gathered here today for a special occasion. You know it is not often that people in the Land of Silence get together.” He cleared his throat. “Up until today, you have been trying to lead your lives on a thread…”
Someone from the assembly cried, “Walnuts!”
“…but today we begin a new era. We will operate on a shoestring budget. And in order to do so, we have cut back the number of walnuts you must roll to these very steps. But we of the Big Time Swingers have decided to allow you to collect sunflowers for pressed sunflower cakes, sunflower flowers, not to mention sunflower seeds.”
All the boys and girls in the Land of Silence looked at each other in unhappy amazement. But most of them said nothing.
(To be continued)