In our time, there lived a lovely queen in the queendom of Lakeland who owned a shimmering emerald necklace. This necklace had magical powers from which her lake drew strength and health. It dazzled in summer, and twinkled all winter long. People would come from far and near to visit and to contemplate its radiance. They would picnic by its shoreline, and swim in its lake. Over time, the visitors grew to love this necklace so completely that they decided to stay. Yet they never questioned the secret of the necklace’s power; they never wondered why fish floated and ducked glided in its lake, nor ever asked why frogs leapt along its shoreline. It never occurred to them to trace the source of the intoxicating scent emanating from the waters. What made sunbeams, like sequins, dance upon water as calm and clear as liquid glass? What made it possible for the moon to mirror itself in reflection?
Birds, too, dwelt in this wondrous place. They warbled each morning, to welcome the day. They played hide-and-seek in the branches of towering, protective trees. The duets of Jiminy Crickets and ribitting frogs filled the luminous night sky like a concert in Spirit’s hall. Fireflies flitted through the shadows of the darkened forest, enchanting onlookers with their flickering lights. This idyll continued for a long while, and the inhabitants of Lakeland assumed it would last forever.
One fateful day, Lakeland was invaded by the Silly Citizens of Silliland. The Queen of the Lake was rendered helpless. The invaders tore her magic necklace. They sickened the pristine waters of the lake with poisons they believed to be food. The Silly Citizens of Silliland can’t tell the difference between poisons and food. The water churned and seethed as Sillian hordes roared through it, spewing noxious fumes from the motors of their boats. The lake rebelled. The ravaged water turned purple with rage. Weeds sprouted and rose in protest. Delicate fish dived into hiding because they sensed something fishy; the frightened frogs croaked, and the anxious ducks ducked!
These same Sillians, who had so carelessly ripped the magic necklace, began to worry. When enough of these Silly Citizens began to worry they began to worry together, and this collective worry grew into a town meeting. At this worried, worrisome town meeting a cry arose, like the rising of the weeds in the lake. “A lake doctor! A lake doctor! Enough of our Silliness! What we need is a lake doctor!” (When Silly Citizens hurt themselves and each other, they end up crying for a doctor.)
The Sillians called the Lake Doctor’s secretary to make an appointment to get on a waiting list for an appointment, and months later the Lake Doctor’s secretary called the Top Sillian to make an appointment for an appointment. After more months of patient waiting, the great day of the doctor’s arrival finally came. This simple country doctor (and a good thing, too, for there was a dire doctor shortage in Lakeland, and there was only one of him) traveled in a rowboat, and all the Sillians lined the lake shore in anticipation of the doctor’s diagnosis. Dr. Waters proceeded slowly, in deep concentration, as he removed specimens of lake water and poured them into glass jars which he kept in a box. Gravely, he shook his head. Dr. Waters dismissed the Sillians, and held a private consultation with the Queen of the Lake. “I shall have a talk with the Silly Creatures,’ he authoritatively stated, “and instruct them.”
Dr. Waters held a lecture at the town hall and lectured to the Sillians. “You Silly Creatures!” he declared. “You have made the lake sick with your Silly Ways, and now it is seriously ill. If you truly want your lake restored to health, you must first restore THE MAGIC NECKLACE. In order to do this you must plant bushes, which will nourish the soil, and all manner of lawn fertilizing and weed sprays must cease!” So the Sillians united and bought bushes, and planted them along the shoreline. In summer, little Sillians would serve drinks to the thirsty bushes and gently pat earth around their roots to help them stand tall and straight. The bigger Sillians, who still persisted with motor-boating, drove slowly in order not to disturb the bushes by making too many waves.
Each year the bushes grew a little taller, and each year the Sillians planted more bushes. Reassured, the frightened frogs, the anxious ducks, and the traumatized fish surfaced. The warning weeds receded, and the lake glowed with health and well-being once more.
In healing the lake, the Sillians healed themselves. As the little Sillians grew, they grew out of being Sillians and rose to the stature of Lakelanders. They raised their children to respect the water and to love the land by recounting the tale of how the Queen of the Lake had her magic necklace restored.
TO BE CONTINUED, WE INTEND…