Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. Do you miss Borneo? Yes, said Harlan. What do you miss most? I miss it all, said Harlan, the beauty, the peace, the danger, the poverty. You miss the poverty? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. Wouldn’t it be nicer, said Blurtso, without the poverty? Not, said Harlan, if it just becomes a playground for the rich. Oh, said Blurtso. What do you think about international aid? I think it’s often misguided, said Harlan, and there’s nothing worse than convincing someone they need something that they didn’t need before.
Hello, said the devil. Hello, said Blurtso. I see you’ve come to buy a trombone. Have I? said Blurtso. You must have, said the devil. I don’t think I need a trombone, said Blurtso. You don’t? said the devil. I already have two, said Blurtso. Two trombones! said the devil, you must be very happy! Yes, said Blurtso, I am. Do you want to give me one of your trombones? Absolutely not, said Blurtso. You are happier with two trombones instead of one? said the devil. Yes, said Blurtso, I’m fond of my trombones. Well, said the devil, if you are happier with two instead of one, it stands to reason that you would be happier with three instead of two. Yes, said Blurtso, that stands to reason. And if three makes you happier than two, four would make you happier than three. Four trombones? said Blurtso. Absolutely, said the devil, and five and six. I’m not sure, said Blurtso, there must be a point of diminishing trombones. Diminishing trombones? said the devil. When more becomes less, said Blurtso. More becomes less? said the devil, that makes no sense. I suppose it doesn’t, said Blurtso, admiring a trombone out of the corner of his eye.
Would you like to hear a bedtime story? said Bonny. Oh yes! said Ditto. Oh yes! said Virginia. What’s it called? said Ditto. It’s called, said Bonny, “Enough is Enough.” That’s a strange name, said Virginia. Yes, said Ditto, a very strange name. It’s a story about a little donkey and a little girl, said Bonny. Named Ditto and Virginia? said Ditto. Yes, said Bonny. Oh boy, said Ditto, I can hardly wait! Yes, said Virginia, please tell us! Very well, said Bonny, it goes like this:
Once upon a time there was a donkey named Ditto. Ditto lived in a castle on the edge of a river. The castle was ruled by a king named Rupert. Across the river was a castle and a king named Richard. The river that separated the two castles was wide and black. It flowed from the remains of a forest that was deep and green.
The two castles made enormous demands on the land. They consumed wood from the forest, water from the river, and every kind of fruit, vegetable and animal they could eat. They consumed so much that soon they would have nothing left, but they couldn’t imagine living any other way. Their life seemed as natural to them as the contaminated air they breathed, and the contaminated land they worked.
Now, Ditto was a mischievous donkey who liked to wander off. One day, when he was wandering, he came to a bridge that crossed the river, and half-way across he met a girl named Virginia.
“I’ve got to go home,” said Virginia.
“So do I,” said Ditto.
“King Richard closes the bridge at dusk,” said Virginia.
“King Richard?” said Ditto. “You mean King Rupert.”
“No,” said Virginia, “I mean King Richard.”
Ditto had never met someone from the castle of King Richard and Virginia had never met someone from the castle of King Rupert. But though Virginia had been taught to hate everyone from the castle of King Rupert and Ditto had been taught to hate everyone from the castle of King Richard, Ditto couldn’t hate Virginia and Virginia couldn’t hate Ditto, because they had already begun to like each other before they remembered they were supposed to hate each other.
King Rupert and King Richard hated everything about each other, even though they were exactly the same. They hated each other because they each wanted all of the land and all of the water and even all of the air. Because neither one ever had enough of anything. They were insatiable. They ate so fast that they didn’t taste their food, and they were in such a hurry that they never enjoyed anything. They could never have enough, and what was worse, they had been so unsatisfied for so long that they both believed there was no other way to be.
Sometimes the peasants got angry and restless and began to complain. And whenever they did, the Kings would hold a jousting tournament to distract them, or they would rekindle the war with the enemy castle, and then the peasants would turn their anger on the enemy castle and forget for the time being to hold their own king accountable.
Both Ditto and Virginia knew that they would be punished if they were found playing together. The only place they could play and not be seen was in the woods, so, with some trepidation, they began to play on the fringes of the forest. One day when Virginia was chasing a butterfly, and Ditto was following, the butterfly flew so deep into the forest that Ditto and Virginia became lost. Ditto and Virginia were very scared when they realized they were lost.
They began to realize that they didn’t need a big castle and they didn’t need the excess. They learned the lessons of the forest of Enough is Enough.
“We should return to our castles and teach them all that we’ve learned,” said Virginia.
“Yes,” said Ditto, “and we could plant trees on the land and clean up the river.”
And so Ditto returned to the castle of King Rupert and Virginia returned to the castle of King Richard. Ditto told King Rupert all that he had learned in the Forest of Enough is Enough, and Virginia told King Richard all that she had learned. As soon as King Rupert heard what he heard and King Richard heard what he heard, the two kings called an immediate truce to their fighting and held a secret meeting deep in one of the rooms of the castle of King Rupert.
The next day King Rupert announced that he had encountered a threat even greater than King Richard, and King Richard announced he had encountered a threat even greater than King Rupert, and that King Rupert and King Richard were going to unite to overcome this new threat. And the next day the armies of King Rupert and King Richard charged into the remains of the forest of Enough is Enough and razed it to the ground.
“Now,” said King Rupert and King Richard in unison, “we can get back to hating each other and consuming what we want to.”