Once upon an unspecified time ago there lived a great prophet.
Like all great prophets he was a human being. Like all human beings
he made mistakes. Nonetheless, in terms of the numbers of people
who came under the sway of his teachings, he was one of the greatest
prophets of history. He spoke of brotherhood, justice, and peace.
Like all prophets, among those who listened to his teachings
there were very few who actually understood what he was saying,
though many feigned understanding. When he died his vision died
with him. Of his surviving followers none had the prophet's uncanny
ability to define the problems which confronted them, nor his
phenomenal capacity to overcome those problems, nor his energy,
conviction, and devotion to his vision.
After the passing of the prophet, his immediate disciples
tried, to the best of their abilities, to keep their master's
vision alive. They chose some particularly memorable phrases which
the prophet had uttered and repeated them to the people. These
phrases quickly became slogans. They were endlessly repeated by
people who gave varying amounts of thought to the ideals behind
the words. So great a prophet was this man that only two generations
from the time he passed away, his vision of Utopia, perverted
by lack of reflection, had made such inroads into the minds of
the masses that he and his slogans were already well known.
An evil demon, who happened to be wandering through the
world, noticed the impact which the prophet had made upon the
people of the nation. The demon decided to use the situation for
his own evil ends. The demon, as all demons, had all the energy,
conviction, and devotion of any prophet. The difference was that
prophets are devoted to ideals, while demons are devoted to idols.
An idol being anything which flatters a demon's ego. So, to flatter
his vanity, the demon took the well-rooted slogans of the prophet,
and spoke to the people through these slogans.
The demon said: "Justice, Brotherhood, Peace."
And the people never bothered to look behind his words. As he
spoke he wove a strong but subtle web about himself.
One day, when Fate smiled, and his web was strong enough,
the demon tore the mask off his words, snared the people in his
web, and devoured them.