The Olives and the Grapes

A very, very long time ago
In a magical place called “Palacetown”
There lived a family known as “The Grapes”

They believed that the Great King
Had decreed that Palacetown
Belonged to them
And their children and their children’s children

But one day a new landlord took over Palacetown
And kicked out the Grapes
So, with no home of their own,
The Grapes spread apart
To many different places

Sadly, in almost every place they went
They were treated very badly
In some places so terribly
That it wasn’t clear if the Grapes would even survive

Meanwhile, in Palacetown
One landlord after another took over
And came to rule over
And mistreat the Olives
Who had been living there for a long time
Since the Grapes had left

A funny thing about the Olives
They also believed that the Great King
Had decreed Palacetown to them
And their children and their children’s children
Just like the Grapes did

As you can see
Palacetown was a very important place
To both the Grapes and the Olives
And to others
Including another big family
Known collectively as the Passion Fruits

Many years passed
And the Grapes continued to suffer
In every place they went
Some remembered Palacetown
And came there to live

And as things kept getting worse for the Grapes
In other places
More started coming

Some of them were content to live alongside the Olives
And even considered them cousins
Some of the Olives were content to live alongside the Grapes
But some Olives felt threatened
Especially after some of the Grapes started taking things over
And started to say that Palacetown really belonged to them

In a very, very bad place ruled by the Not-us
The most terrible things of all started to be done to the Grapes

A small number of them escaped
But where could they go?
They were scared that what was happening with the Not-us
Would happen to them again and again
And they were tired of running

Some believed that the only way to protect themselves
Was to have a real home of their own again
And many of them had never given up the idea
That the Great King wanted that home to be Palacetown

And then when an invitation was sent out
Not by the occupants, but by new overlords
To come and establish a home there
That’s what many of them did

Some of the leaders of the Grapes
Had even told their followers
That nobody lived in Palacetown
Or at least nobody important

But the Olives lived there
And had lived there and had suffered there
For many years
But it was almost like nobody seemed to notice
Or care about that

Meanwhile, to complicate matters even more
Some of the leaders of the Olives
Had been listening to and working with the Not-us
And told their followers horrible things about the Grapes

Many of the Olives
Who were already angry at the Grapes
For starting to take their home away from them
Began to believe those horrible things

And so, because of all of this mess
The Olives and the Grapes starting hating each other

Many of the Grapes
Came to believe that the Olives were really beasts
And couldn’t take care of Palacetown
And many of the Olives
Came to believe that the Grapes were actually devils
That had to be stopped

So, sadly
The Grapes and the Olives started fighting

And some Grapes
Started doing things to the Olives
That were almost like the things that had just been done to them
In other places
In order to drive the Olives out of Palacetown
And claim it once again as theirs

Not all of the Grapes liked this
They hadn’t really understood about the Olives before they arrived
But they were desperate
And they believed that it was what the Great King had wanted
So they turned their heads
And accepted it

And as a result
Many of the Olives fled Palacetown
Just like the Grapes had fled from the Not-us
But some of the Olives fought
To drive out the Grapes
Believing that that was really what the Great King had wanted

Soon the landlord
Decided to divide up the land
Giving half to the Grapes
And half to the Olives
Or should we say taking half from the Olives

Some leaders of the Olives
Wanted to fight
To take back all of Palacetown
Some leaders of the Grapes
Wanted to fight
To take all of Palacetown, too

And, so, there was a huge battle
Neighboring places got involved
Some to help the Olives
Some to benefit themselves
Some because they hated the Grapes

And out of this big fight
Most of what was Palacetown
Now became “Is-grape”
And the rest of it
Was held by those neighbors

And the Olives?
Most of them were left
Living in not so great places
Now owned by those neighbors

And the ones that stayed
Were treated like they didn’t belong there anymore
Because they weren’t Grapes

Now it was the Olives
That needed a home of their own
But they believed
Like the Grapes had
That that home should be Palacetown

There were more big fights
Is-grape got bigger and stronger
It took over some of those nearby areas
On which Olives lived
Saying that they were part
Of what the Great King had once given them

The Olives grew more hopeless
And desperate
And mad
And kept on attacking Grapes
And the Grapes attacked back
And forth

The Grapes said
That when they attacked the Olives
It was to protect the home
That they had always dreamed of

But when they looked at the Olives
They didn’t see the real faces
Of people they had mistreated
They saw instead
The faces of the bad people
Who had mistreated them over the years

The Olives said
That when they attacked the Grapes
It was to reclaim the home
That they now dreamed of

But when they looked at the Grapes
They didn’t see people
Who had been chased and terrorized
All over the world
They saw instead
Some giant evil force
That somehow actually controlled the world

And, so, the world chose up sides
Some of it supporting the Grapes
And some of it supporting the Olives
And at times it seemed
That this would lead to the biggest fight of all
In the whole wide world

Some of the supporters of the Grapes
Were only using them for their own interests
They really didn’t care much about the Grapes
But cared even less about the Olives

Some of the supporters of the Olives
Didn’t really care about them either
But they still held that same hatred of the Grapes
That they had learned from the Not-us

And then there were some
Who wanted peace
But it seemed impossible
Maybe they could split up the land again?
Have an Is-grape and a Palacetown
Side by side?

That possible solution started growing
But some Olives thought it wasn’t enough
And some Grapes thought it was too much
And neither group trusted the other
Or felt safe living side by side

And even if they could solve that problem
There was one that seemed insurmountable
And that was the status of Gem-salem

You see
Gem-Salem was a place of special importance
For the Grapes
And the Olives
Not to mention the Passion Fruits

And even if they managed
To live side by side
Gem-salem was smack dab in the middle
Of the part that would belong to the Grapes

The Olives needed to get to Gem-salem
Its magic was as necessary for them as Olives
As the Grapes felt it necessary for them as Grapes

But even if the Grapes allowed them to visit
That’s all they would ever be, visitors
And they’d have to travel through Grape land
They didn’t think that was fair or safe
Or what the Great King wanted

Both sides worried about their safety
There was already lots of fighting going on
On the outsides of Is-grape

With Grapes attacking Olives
To keep them out
And in their place

And Olives attacking Grapes
Sometimes in horrible ways
That reminded the Grapes
Of the horrors of their past

Those horrors should have been a lesson
In how not to treat people
The Grapes had always been better than that
But sometimes lessons can be mislearned

And fear and hate and desperation
Can be blinding
As became the case
For both sides

They say that all roads lead to Gem-salem

But they’re winding and perilous ones
Where does the answer lie?
Would it be to divide? Could it be to unite?
A Gem-salem forever at odds
Or a Gem-salem for the world

It would take some imagination
And some dedication
And some courage
And some sacrifice

But those
Are in short supply
In Is-grape
Or Palacetown
Or whatever you want to call it

And meanwhile
The children of the children of the children
Of the Olives and the Grapes
Are doomed to hate
And to fight
And worse

And to forget
That these two special fruits
Come from the very same seed.