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By vincent

By strange circumstances a large group of people once found themselves trapped on a desolate island in the middle of the ocean. The island – they called it Cursed Island - was nearly inhabitable. It was overrun by several wild, vicious bloodthirsty animals that often devoured the people unawares. The only place of safety for them was Safe Haven Island, a rich and secure island within sight of Cursed Island but separated from it by the hostile ocean.

Now the people trapped on the island were a proud lot. They refused to call on God to deliver them, instead they attempted to use their own abilities to escape from the island. And a lot they did too!

First they applied themselves to the arduous task of building a ship. Their plan was for them all to embark on it and sail for Safe Haven. After five months of painstaking labour, they succeeded in constructing a very large magnificent ship they believed capable of carrying them all out of the island.

On the night of the completion of the monstrous ship, the people held an orgy to celebrate their impending freedom. They drank freely, bragged about their achievements, and boasted that not even God could stop them.

But that night a furious storm, such as they had never experienced, blew upon the island. The next morning the people rushed to the dock and beheld their labour broken to bits of useless pieces. They wailed and cursed till they were exhausted.

After some time the people came together and decided to build smaller ships. The smaller ships, they reasoned, would not be easily torn apart by a storm, and if a storm did destroy a ship, the people that were on it could board the next nearest one. So they applied themselves again to labour, and after some time, their striving produced twenty-nine small ships.

They boarded the ships with all their belongings and sailed away in groups. They sailed peacefully for a while, and when they saw that they were actually making real progress towards Safe Haven, they began to celebrate. But unknown to any of them, submerged reefs surrounded the island, and around these reefs, the current was strong. Once a ship sailed too close to the reefs, the current carried it violently along, and slammed its hull against the unseen reefs causing the ship to immediately sink.

In this way the whole fleet of ships sank and the people who survived swam for shore, dragging whatever possessions they could salvage from the wrecks.

Again the relentless people decided to construct rafts. They reasoned that the rafts would float above the reefs.

One day, before the rafts were completed, a scientist approached the leaders of the people with the incredible news that a way out of the island had been given to them by God. He told them that some days ago, deep in the night, the earth had trembled gently for a time, and it had struck him then that something spectacular must have happened. The next morning he had begun to scour the island and towards evening he found it: a narrow strip of rock that led all the way to Safe Haven which had come up out of the sea. He urged them to come with him at once to Safe Haven before they lost more people to the insatiable beasts on Cursed Island.

When the scientist finished his earnest appeal, the leaders were incredulous; some laughed at him, while others asked themselves if it was not the poor scientist’s own mind that had trembled and shifted that night.

When the scientist saw that the leaders had not believed him, he went to the shore where majority of the people were engaged in the construction of rafts. He shouted at them that all their labour was needless for a way to Safe Haven had been given them by God. The people out of curiosity suspended their labour and asked him to explain what he meant. When he had told them what he told the leaders, many of them began to laugh and question his sanity. How can a path come up out of the sea, and in the most despised and obscure part of the island, they asked. But some of the people noted the sincere, earnest way in which he implored them to come with him, and chose to accompany him on the journey.

Early the next morning, before the new group departed for Safe Haven, they went to the people and informed them that they would fire three rockets as a sign that they had arrived safely. And they would fire three rockets continuously every third month from the day they landed to show that they were okay. The scientist then advised them not to hesitate to take the journey whenever they had a change of heart.

All week long, the people on Cursed Island watched to see if the scientist and his group had really made it. They were not disappointed for most of them saw three rockets rise in succession from Safe Haven three days later. Some of the people who saw the sign of the rockets went immediately to find the path described to them by the scientist; others argued that what they all had seen were just the normal volcanic emissions common on cursed island.

From then on, each third month, the people saw the rockets rise from Safe Haven. More of them made the journey after these signs; but a number of them stubbornly persisted in finding their own way to Safe Haven.

The rafts had been a fiasco; and the last I heard, they were researching ‘Jumping Boats’ - boats that, through some complicated engineering wonder, would have the ability to jump from the dock of Cursed Island to the shores of Safe Haven.

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24 Feb, 2013
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