The Magical Izum Stones

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a little village of goblins. It was little because it was a village. If it were big, it would’ve been a city. But it wasn’t big, so it was a village. The goblins of this village grew crops and reared animals. They traded goods and painted pictures. They laughed and played and sang and drank. Sometimes they fought and argued and even killed. Life was sometimes tough, sometimes a delight. Sometimes joyous, sometimes a fright.

But one morning, things changed. Nobbina the Smith was out in the forest, vomiting over flowers. Wiping her lips, she heard a faint groaning. She followed the voice and there lay an old man, moaning, tossing and turning. When he saw Nobbina, the geriatric pleaded, “Give me a little water, oh short one. I am at the end of my days and don’t want to die parched”. Nobbina had a little bottle of water. She opened the cap and helped the old man drink it all. He smiled and said, “I have little to give you. But here, take this. It’s not much but it’s of no use to a corpse”.

Nobbina took the little blue gem held out by the old man whilst he murmured “This is a magical Izum Stone. Use it well”. With that, he drew his last breath. Nobbina walked away, confused about how she would use this piece of glass.

When she came back to the village, she showed the Izum Stone to the villagers. Everyone remarked at its beauty but didn’t think that it was magical. After all, who’d ever heard of an old man giving away magical trinkets? But as days turned to weeks, a change came upon the village. Crop yield started increasing. Goats gave more milk. A scout goblin found mines of copper and silver. Goblin scientists started inventing and discovering new things. The goblins found better ways to build houses, sew clothes, drive carts and send letters. Within a few months, it was as if the village had transformed. Little huts gave way to sturdy houses. More and more goblins traveled from afar to settle down in this little village which in the blink of an eye, became a goblin town.

“It was due to my Izum Stone. It’s simple to understand. Our lives were miserable. After I found it, see how good our lives have become.” Nobbina would claim proudly. Of course, everyone believed her. She became a heroine for the city. Mothers would ask her for advice. Fathers would ask her to help their business. She wrote books and thought pieces. Every schoolchild learned her name. The town council would not make a single decision without Nobbina the Smith’s blessing. They even named the town Nobbinapur in her honor.

But, all was not well within that little goblin town. A lot of goblins resented Nobbina. Sure, her Izum Stone had made things better, they’d argue, but it’d made things a lot worse too. “We don’t pray like we used to. Everyone’s too busy,” said Lenno the Prophet. Some goblins started listening to him and following his words. But, they couldn’t convince others than Nobbina’s Izum Stone was pure evil.

One day, something unusual happened. While Lenno was taking a stroll around the river bank, planning his next sermon, his eyes caught sight of something sparkly. He went close to examine it and saw a little green gem. “Why, it’s another Izum Stone”. He ran to the village, shouting, “Look at this, my dear goblins. I’ve found another Izum Stone. Look at it sparkle and shine. It’s bigger than Nobbina’s. And more powerful. Mark my words, this Izum Stone will solve every problem that we face today”.

And soon enough, his words came true. Thing started to improve even more. More and more towns started trading with Nobbinapur. Goblin doctors came up with newer and better medicines. Goblins started living longer, reading more, eating better. The little town of Nobbinapur was rechristened Lennonagar in the honor of the Green Izum Stone’s founder.

You might think this ended happily ever after. But it didn’t. After Nobbina and Lenno had been long cremated, their followers started fighting. Nobbinites believed the Green Izum Stone did nothing and all their success was due to the Blue Izum Stone. Lennoers believed otherwise. They’d fight and argue all day. Screaming, shouting and bickering. “You’re wrong. You’re not thinking straight.” the Nobbinites would shout. “What gives you the right to say I’m wrong? The scientists agree with me. We should destroy the Nobbina Stone and follow the Way of the Lenno” the Lennoers would retort back.

And so it went day and night with no end in sight. But one day, catastrophe struck. Wilpo the Laggard was on a hike through the mountains when he encountered a cave. And what a splendid sight beheld his eyes. Hundreds and thousands of Izum Stones. Purple and yellow and orange and white. He collected them by the dozen and ran to the village, shouting happily. After all, more Izum Stones meant more progress, right?

Alas, Wilpo could not have been more wrong. The city of Lennonagar prospered like never before but now every Izum Stone had its own following. There were factions and factions within factions. There were subgroups, supergroups, and alliances. Everyone claimed their Izum Stone was the best and would solve every problem if it were the *only* Izum Stone in the city. They all wanted to name the city after their own Izum Stone. Some wanted it called Farrisia after the yellow Farris Izum Stone which was believed to cure all disease. Some wanted it to be Gyanraj after the black Gyan stone of learning. The debates were never ending and escalated to fights. And battles. And wars. Hundreds of goblins perished due to the Izum Civil Wars. It seemed like the metropolis of Lennonagar was on the brink of collapse.

The Chief Goblin of Lennonagar was flummoxed. He knew he had to get rid of the Stoners as he called them. But he needed the stones to keep the city flourishing. Soon, he came upon an idea. First, he called for a ceasefire. Then, he invited all the goblins to a gathering and proclaimed.

“Noble goblins. We know all of you are angry. But we cannot keep up with this warfare any longer. We, the common folk, too want to know what the best Izum Stone is. But, war is no way to answer the question. So I propose this solution. First, we rename this city to Goblinvada as a temporary measure. Next, we will build a magnificent city a hundred miles from here for every follower of every Izum Stone. We will provide the city with food, water, recreation, sewage disposal… whatever you want. But, we only ask for two things. One, decide once and for all which is the Best Izum Stone and two, do so through non-violent debate and discussion. After all with towering intellects like yours, it shouldn’t take you more than a few weeks. Once all Izumian Groups have unanimously agreed upon the answer, we will name our city after the winning group and follow the way of the one True Izum Stone.”

The Stoners were overjoyed with the decision. After a long last, a chance to debate and prove the other side wrong without any distractions. Or fears of being beheaded. Once all Izumian Groups had been packed off to their new city, they got down to the serious business of proving Who is Right?. Nobbinites and Lennoers. Farissians and Petrocleeks. Gyanis and Wentovians. They debated endlessly and never backed down. They provided arguments, counter-arguments, facts, and rebuttals. They married and gave birth to new Stoners who continued the debates of their parents. And grandparents. And great-grandparents. And so on. But even as months turned into years and years turned into decades, no answer emerged.

Meanwhile, the goblins of Goblinvada went about their lives as usual. They laughed and played and sang and drank. They sold and bought things. They wrote, painted and danced. They studied, worked and donated to charity. They tried new recipes and went on vacations with their families. They took walks and ran marathons. Slowly, they even forgot that the Izum Stones even existed. But, the Stoners continued to debate and do so to this very day. Maybe, one day, they’ll give the rest of the goblins the answer. I sure hope they do, don’t you?