The Worm

He saw the worm, exposed to the hot sun and dry air, and felt pity. “Worm–my friend–are you alright?”

“No!  I have been forcefully removed from my environment.  All I ever wanted was to live untill I was old enough to produce children.  But I was torn away from my home, and now I will die here, childless and

The man furrowed his brow.  “That doesn’t sound fair at all.”  

After hesitating a moment, for which he immediately felt guilty, he softened his countenance and said, “come, enter into me and you will have a new home.  Drink my body fluids, let their nutrients nourish you.  Live in me and you will grow enough to produce children.”

“How different you are from other men!  Most hate me and oppress me.”

“Yes, I suppose am indeed kind.”  The man thought about the shameful selfishness of other men, and shook his head solemnly.  He himself, he concluded, must simply have a more developed sense of what’s right than them, though it probably wasn’t their fault.  

“But also,” he added, after realizing a better reason for lodging the worm, “I am sure we will become great friends, and I am sure that one day you and your children will grow strong enough to return the favor!”

“Of course!  You are very wise for knowing this.”

Weeks passed, and though the man was pleased with his newfound purpose, and would often tell the other men about his worm friend and how much he was helping him, he could eventually no longer ignore the growing hunger and sickness he felt in his body.

“Worm, it seems to me that much of my food–very much, lately–is not being used by my body.”  He searched carefully for the right words to use so as to not offend his poor guest.  “Would you happen to know
anything about that?”

“In fact I do.  Frankly, I’m a bit concerned that it took you this long to ask.  You see, even though you claim to want to help me, your body is actively fighting me.  This is exactly the same oppression that I have endured from other men.  Perhaps you are just like them: concerned only with food, and not doing what’s right.  You have so much food here in your stomach, do you really think you need it all?”

The man was moved.  “I deserve this sick feeling, for being so greedy. I give you my word, I will investigate this injustice that is being done to you.  When I find the organ in my body that hurts you, I will cut it out.”

“Such a novel, forward-thinking promise you have made!”

The man was pleased.  But with passing time his sickness grew, and no quantity of food could satiate.  So at last, left with no other option, he planted himself in his cellar, and ate.  Feces accumulated below him, but still he ate.  “I must not fail my friend.  I must not be an oppressive man.”

“Then you must try harder,” scolded the worm.  “Your body is failing and can no longer provide me with what I need.  I suspect this whole arrangement was a plot from the very beginning.  You have tricked me. You are the worst kind of oppressor, because you lied to me.  I have a right to nutrition, and despite your empty bloviation, I have not been given enough.  Though I must now die, I dream and hope that my 27,000 children will each one day hatch and find a righteous man who truly believes in worm rights.  Until that day, and even beyond it, I will curse you from the depths of worm hell.”

Tears poured down the man’s rotting emaciated cheeks.  “Please… please forgive me,” were his last words.

7 thoughts on “The Worm”

  1. What a revolting tale.
    I can only hope that you – like Jesus – have spoken unto us in parables.

    Here’s one of mine…
    There was a road, in a beautiful forest, upon which were five-acre lots.
    These lots, for the most part, were bought by people who could not afford to buy them. People who borrowed to buy, then to build, for the purpose of allowing in renters to pay their loans off, for them, while “their” properties accrued in value.
    Since the renters did not own these lots and these houses, they did not behave as those who did own theirs.
    They cut down the trees, trashed the houses, dumped garbage and old vehicles, bore countless offspring, who screamed insanely throughout the days.
    In the nights, they drank alcohol, took drugs, shot at each other, and could not be reasoned with.
    The beautiful forested road became a rural version of an inner-city ghetto, complete with food-banks, second-hand depots, and crack-houses.
    Ah, I will stop there: the parable is becoming ugly…

    My only defense against any of this is to become uber-tolerant, as opposed to the kind of tolerance claimed by those to whom I must now extend tolerance.
    If anyone has a better idea, I am all ears.

  2. This little fable has something of the memory-hook quality of Animal Farm. You might want to forget it, but you can’t…

    But it is worth noting that without a transcendental perspective on the meaning and purpose of life, all possible fables are (at root) horrible stories about who is eating whom.

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