The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Welcome to the village of Patterling Dale,
A ghost town of memories, a tragic old tale
Oft told by the ancients, a story of truth
To instill deep respect in the hearts of the youth.
Patterling Dale was a city, you see,
Spread out in a valley at the edge of the sea,
A light shining bright, a rock of salvation,
The envy of villages across a great nation.
Built on a solid foundation of truth,
Patterling Dale bred not one man uncouth.
All of the citizens respected the Book,
Heeding its teaching without second look.
The Book was entrusted to Mortimer Glass
Who, as mayor that year, ran the village with class.
At meetings the mayor would read with much glee
Each and every command, each and every decree.
The code was as modest as tying a shoe,
The rules were so natural, so easy to do.
No citizen questioned—they made perfect sense—
Thus life in the Dale made worry past tense.
‘Til one day Flannigan Flickery Floo
Came to work in a shirt colored deep purple blue
“Flannigan, friend!” cried the mayor—he shook!
“You must wear bright red, like it says in the Book!”
“Or else?” questioned Flannigan, with a cock of his head,
What will happen to me if I do not wear red?”
“Why, you know the rules that come straight from the Top,
The town will be trampled by Korkadon Snop!”
“Korkadon Snop!” exclaimed Floo with a sneer.
“We haven’t seen those since . . . what was the year?”
“Precisely, my friend,” said the mayor, askew.
“The Book says ‘wear red,’ not a deep shade of blue.”
“Very well,” said Flannigan with a sigh and a smirk.
“I’ll go home and change out of my purplish shirt.
But I assure you, good man, that this won’t be the last
Time I question the guidance of that Book, Mayor Glass.”
The very next day Mr. Flickery Floo
Showed up early for work, and what did he do?
He wore red, indeed, but not like the rest—
The color again put Mayor Glass to the test.
“Flannigan Flickery Floo, you old cur,
I must ask you to follow the rules again, sir.
That dark shade of red, well, it won’t work to stop
Those man-eating beasts, the Korkadon Snop!”
Floo stood and he sighed and he folded his arms,
“I don’t see the fuss, I can’t see the harm
In flexing commands by the slightest degree—
Surely maroon won’t suspend that decree.”
“That decree!” cried the mayor—he shook and he trembled!
“A fool do you think I grossly resemble?!
You’ll bring down this town by opening the door
To not only this, but to much, much, much more!”
“It’s just a slight tweak,” yelled Horatio Newels.
“How bad can it get by this slight bend of rules?”
“I agree,” shouted Fiona Lattigus Slim.
“I don’t see the harm, do you, Clandish Jim?”
The mayor tried reasoning but soon was outnumbered,
So he slipped out the back and walked briskly and pondered
The absurdity of revolt, the danger it brought—
If he let it get further the town would be fraught.
Or worse, Mortimer thought with a shiver of fright,
The town could be trampled in less than a night.
The Book was quite clear on that point, and it spurred
His hope that the others would grow as concerned.
The next morning, however, Glass fell to his knees—
Two dozen—no, two hundred!—maroon shirts he did see.
“No harm and no foul,” said Flickery Floo,
Who’s dark shirt was striped with bright flashes of blue.
“Flannigan, Flannigan, what have you done?
You’ve opened the door to disaster bar none!”
The mayor appealed to the rest of the town,
But they shrugged their thin shoulders with heads hanging down.
“Mayor, oh Mayor, oh fair Mr. Glass,”
Said Flannigan Flickery Floo with panache.
He picked up the Book and threw it at him,
And the mayor fell flat and his vision grew dim.
“You see, Mr. Mayor, your threats go unheeded,
No mystery monster has appeared and stampeded,
So we’re taking you out and hanging you high
From a tree, Mr. Mortimer, where you’ll finally die.
“The Book,” breathed the mayor, “You know that it’s true.
Its word’s never failed us, its message, its view.”
He lifted his head off the floor and he saw
The townspeople turn and walk from the brawl.
“You’ll see,” said Glass as they dragged him away
To hang him from branches that very same day.
“You’ll see what your actions have done to this town—
Such simple decrees, but you’ve brought it all down.”
The blustering minority, the demanding few
Showed up the next day at work wearing blue.
The silent majority averted their eyes,
Choosing, instead, to live easier with lies.
They put up their Books, they talked so polite,
They forgot about the mayor and his nonsensical plight.
And after a year, or maybe much more,
The result of their actions finally opened the door.
They rushed in, the Korkadon Snop, those beasts,
And trampled poor Patterling Dale under feet.
The town to this day no longer exists
Except for a tree with a carving like this:
“In branches above swung Mortimer Glass
Who insisted decrees were more important than class.
See, no harm in not following the Book on the shelf,
Feel free to be you . . . feel free to be yourself.”
Copyright ©2015 by David C. Hughes