A cool factoid: documentation of Tolkien reading this story exists, he talked about it a couple of times in interviews. The story by Lord Dunsany is a classic fable complete with a moral lesson. So without further delay, the review!
The story starts out by describing the sweet life of Chu-bu. Chu-bu, a local deity, basks in the love of the people. One of their favorite chants is “there is none but Chu-bu.” And he loves this mantra, he thinks about his awesomeness daily and appreciates when people acknowledge it. His diet was decadent, enjoying the labor of the lower people, high in fat and honey. His appearance shines of polished mahogany; the most expensive money could buy.
Now, Chu-bu probably thought that his power would remain unchecked, that he could tell the people what to do and that they would always praise him. But one day he learned a harsh lesson. There are also the other branches, ahem, I mean gods. Enter Sheemish.
Sheemish starts to stink up the place. Chu-bu doesn’t like sharing his power, as he clearly is the best, and only idol people should worship. But the people are not convinced. And so using his favorite emotion Chu-bu angrily tweeted a demand for an earthquake, to reinstate his fabulous power. But, it just happened to turn out that Sheemish also tried to create an earthquake. He wanted to show the capabilities of his furious power if left unchecked. So immediately Chu-bu willed that the quake wouldn’t occur. And though all the idols in authority threw their weight around, no change ever occurred.
As a last resort, Chu-bu receded into his old habit of making fun of those he didn’t like. He brought it to the attention of the people that Sheemish had dirt on his head, and he smugly rested with ease, enjoying his undefiled head. But still, the people did not see the greatness that only belonged to Chu-bu. So, again both gods picked back up the banner to create the earthquake and willed it into existence. The quake injured the common folk, and the temple of justice fell upon the idols heads. And no one went to rebuild it. For they saw both as terrible gods.
And just to make the story complete, the narrator talks about Chu-bu’s chubby hands stuck up in the air.
My goal is not to have this blog be political. It is about the art. But one thing that is great about reading fantasy is when we can apply it to our own lives. All I could think about when reading this story was the current state of our government. We need leaders that don’t tear things down. And, we need leaders that care more about the people and less about their personal gain. This story should be required reading for our politicians. And this isn’t about one side or the other. Both teams are falling into blind revenge mode, just like Chu-bu and Sheemish. Just like everyone, I am rooting for certain outcomes, but a little sportsmanship would be nice. Please use your constitutional rights to make your voices heard: protest, call your representatives, volunteer for informational groups, and most importantly, in two and four years, vote out those who do not represent the people. For they are not doing their job.