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Monday, December 11, 2006

Trolls and the Free Market System

A peaceful farmer once lived and worked at the edge of a great forest. He went into the forest each day to find firewood with which he cooked his food and warmed his home. He collected herbs and game there with which to feed himself and his family and heal their illnesses.

In the wood there lived several trolls. The farmer, to avoid problems with the trolls, brought them gifts of food, clothing, blankets and other necessities. In exchange, the trolls allowed the farmer to gather firewood, healing plants and hunt game within the forest.

The trolls constantly fought among themselves for supremacy, though what any one of them would have done had he truly ruled the forest was never really thought through. At last, the largest and most powerful of the trolls got it into his head that all this fighting and strife among himself and his brethren was really the fault of the farmer - forgetting, of course, that trolls had been fighting among themselves for centuries before the farmer ever settled along the borders of ther forest.

It never occurred to the trolls that they were better off than they had ever been before the farmer came along. They had good food, clothing and warm blankets in the winter. They looked upon the farmer and his productive lands with envy and purposed to kill the farmer and take all that he had for themselves.

The farmer got wind of the plot (trolls tend to talk too loud) and gathered up his family in the middle of the night and fled with his tools and his knowledge of farming and went to stay in the next valley over. There he waited.

The trolls, disappointed that they had not had the pleasure of killing the farmer, were nevertheless happy to have his farm and goods. They struggled for days to figure out how to make the farm equipment work and to coax food from the farmhouse kitchen, but to no avail. Soon they had eaten all the stores from the farm and were forced to return to foraging for their sustainance.

Unfortunately, during the years of trading with the farmer, the trolls had forgotten how to forage for themselves. They soon began to starve. They began to fight among themselves and soon there were only a few trolls left alive in the forest.

Meanwhile, the farmer had been making secret forays into the forest to see what the trolls were up to. When he knew that the trolls' in-fighting had made them defenseless and weak, he gathered his family and returned to the farm. Hearing that the farmer had returned, the remaining trolls tried one last desperate attack, but they were met with dogs and guns and pitchforks and were driven back into the forest.

The next day, a large force of men from several neighboring valleys joined the farmer and together they cleared the forest of trolls. Those who survived were driven far away where they were forced to scavenge just to stay alive. The new land was poor and no one wanted to trade with them anymore because of their reputation for treachery. Over time, the trolls became extinct and were never seen in the world again.

The Moral of the Story: Probably the one about not doing anything uncouth in your own nest works best for this one.

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