Two nations once lived on an isle, side by side,
Each one emboldened by national pride,
Each viewing the other with fear and mistrust,
And believing their side was the one that was just.

The first of the nations was named Baradun.
On their flag was emblazoned a fiery sun.
They had long golden hair and they liked to wear red
Except during Spring when they wore green instead.

They worshipped a god who was awfully kind
And had everybody’s best interests in mind,
But now and again he’d get in a bad mood
And send plagues of insects to eat all their food.

Ayamadup was the name of this god.
In his right hand he carried a magical rod
Which he used to wreak havoc and terrible pain.
It was also quite handy for making it rain.

The second great country was called Faradoon.
Their flag bore an emblem which looked like the moon.
Their hair was dark brown and their eyebrows were thick.
They ate things that made Baradunians feel sick.

The god that they worshipped was also quite pleasant
As long as you regularly gave him a present
Of sacrificed sheep or a bowl of bull’s blood
Both of these made him feel ever so good.

Aymanotreel was this deity’s name
But to say it out loud was a cause of great shame.
He wore a spectacular flowing white gown
And a dazzling jewel sat atop his great crown.

As they eyed one another with familiar unease,
Both nations were struck by a deadly disease.
Bird song was drowned out by the screaming and crying
As hospitals filled with the dead and the dying.

More contagious than measles, more deadly than cancer.
The doctors could not give their patients an answer.
So they turned to the priests who recalled ancient lore
And stirred up their hearts to prepare them for war.

They told how the old scripts predicted their woes
And how only one thing could relieve them of those.
“When the rod and the jewel are once more made one,
The terrible blight will be finally gone.”

So the war drums did beat and with nationalist pride
They marched in the street with their friends by their side.
Both ready to face their abominable foe,
Off to the battle the two tribes did go.

The fighting was fierce and the blood it ran red.
Back at home many families mourned many dead.
Hatred grew stronger with every son lost
And they fought on, ignoring the terrible cost.

On the war raged with no sign of a winner.
The generals had trouble digesting their dinner.
With their god on their side, they’d been sure they would win
And be back home before the cruel winter set in.

Death from the war and death from the disease.
Each nation began to be brought to its knees.
As farms went untended and factories unmanned,
The spectre of famine now threatened both lands.

Then appeared an outsider from over the sea.
He spoke to both nations with authority.
“United you’ll stand, but divided you’ll fall.
You must give up this enmity once and for all.”

With reluctant acceptance they heeded his words
Men returned to their barracks and laid down their swords.
Then they followed the stranger to high on a hill
Where an old ruined temple stood quiet and still.

As they entered the temple, their eyes were amazed
By the beautiful art that time had not erased
On the wall straight ahead was a fabulous sight
With dazzling colours so vibrant and bright.

Two princes looked down standing shoulder to shoulder,
A symbol of strength from an age so much older.
A powerful symbol of brotherly love,
They stared at the gathering from high above.

One’s hair was golden, the other’s was dark.
The realisation was sudden and stark.
Both parties turned slowly and looked at the others.
Their peoples were cousins, descended from brothers.

Mistrust that had lingered for hundreds of years
Began to dissolve as they fought back the tears,
As they realized just how much potential had gone
When two nations forgot that two nations were one.

After many embraces and shaking of hands,
With regret in their hearts they returned to their lands.
The rod and the jewel were at last brought together
And the two nations ended their folly forever.

Pete Hughes is the creator of and regular contributor to the website of his jolly bovine chum Happy Cow. Read more by Pete at http://www.happycow.org.uk

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