All For The Sake Of The Dance

Once upon a time, there was a fertile little kingdom nestled under tall mountains which protected it on one side while a thorny swampland guarded it’s other. Only one path led between the two, too small for an army, but just the right size for a merchant, and so it was that the little kingdom was well protected, and very wealthy.
In the middle of the kingdom was a beautiful city that glistened and glittered like a giant jewel. The king lived here, and every morning he would host a dance wherein all the people of the kingdom would come and laugh and play, dancing to their heart’s content. It was a beautiful way to start their day, full of sunshine and mirth. It was a very happy time.
Then one day the king died, and both of his sons wanted to be king in his place. One half of the people supported one prince, the other half the other. War broke out, and soon the country was devastated, the city ruined, and both armies dead. Only a handful of people remained, and that handful would every morning, come together and dance in the broken hall.
One day a traveler came, the first traveler in many years. He had come to this place when he was young, and remembered places he had loved. He wandered the ruins of the city, weeping for each monument crumbled, and burying each memory ruined, each hope and dream destroyed.
On the third day of his wanderings he came to the old dancing hall. The roof was gone, nothing but broken pillars remained to mark the spot. Ivy had covered everything except the center, where he saw what he first took to be a funeral procession, but watching closer he saw to be a dance. There was no music, no fancy cloths, and their expressions were sad, but it was indeed a dance.
“What is this?” the traveler asked loudly. No one stopped dancing, no one cared anymore. The traveler asked again and again, and still no one answered. Perhaps they could not hear. At last the traveler grabbed a little old lady as she danced by. She scowled at him but forced to stop she finally answered.
“What is this? – This is the dance young man, this is the dance.”
“But why do you dance?” asked the traveler “ without music in a broken hall?”
The old lady replied, “It’s what we have always done, it’s the only thing we have left.” Then she broke away and went back into the mindless dance.
Then on a cue, as if the music had stopped, the dancers stopped. Though they had no way of knowing it, had there been a clock it would have just struck twelve. The dancers scattered into multiple directions, and soon the traveler heard the sounds of battle below, from the same people who had just been dancing. The traveler wondered if they remembered why they fought any more than they remembered why they danced.
The traveler sat and pondered this strange happening for the rest of the day. At last he decided that he could not let this go on, and so the next day he began to take action.
Each morning when the dance ended the traveler would follow one of the dancers and when he caught up with them, he would ask them a question.
To the first, a skinny man with nimble fingers, he asked – “don’t you think the dance would be better with music?”
“That it would.” said the man. The traveler gave him an old harp he had found, and the next day the man sat on the remnants of the broken stage. He played a simple tune, and the dance began to sound like a dance again.
To the second, a large man with wide shoulders, the traveler asked – “don’t you think the dance would be better if the hall were rebuilt?”
“That it would.” said the man. The traveler gave him a mason’s hammer, and that very day the hall began to rise again.
To the third, a small woman with delicate features, the traveler asked – “Don’t you think the dance would be better if everyone had fine cloths?
“That it would.” said the lady. To her the traveler gave a length of cloth he had found.

Many years later a traveler came, the first traveler in many years. He had come to this place when he was young, and remembered places he had loved.
He found a different city now, built on the ruins of the old. It was smaller than it once was, but as happy and prosperous as it had ever been, and in the center of the city their was a great dance hall, built by many hands together, where every morning the well dressed people would come and dance to the music of a great band.
Above the gate of the city was engraved– All for the sake of the dance.
theologian theologian
18-21, M
Mar 26, 2012