The troll in the moat that guarded the castle

Once upon a time, there was a shining castle on a hill. It was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that under the law all men are created equal.

Texts from the founders of the castle promised the people they could speak their mind, practice their religion and defend themselves and their belongings. The founders were revered for their wisdom, and in the castle were many monuments and statues to honor them.

The good people thrived, and more good people came. Like all people, they were flawed. But they were always striving for a more perfect union for themselves and their castle.

To fulfill their promise of equality under the law, over half a million castle dwellers died in a great civil war among themselves. Twice they sailed across the seas to save the world – once from fascists and once from socialists. They put men on the moon.

This castle was revered everywhere.

But the world descended into darkness, lies, confusion and evil. Fascists calling themselves anti-fascists looted and burned. Thieves stole property in the name of “social justice.” Monuments and statues of the castle founders were torn down. The texts promising freedom were “reinterpreted.”

Oppressors censored, intimidated, shouted down, assaulted and cancelled those who dared to oppose their rampage. It was a time of barbarism.

The barbarians were not the newcomers. No, the newcomers – the refugees, freedom-seekers and other people looking for a better life – cherished the castle.

Rather, the barbarians were the long-time residents. Unlike the newcomers, some of the long-time residents were privileged not to have witnessed the destruction wrought by barbarians elsewhere. They felt guilty that their castle was prosperous and free while much of the world was not. Others were lazy people who needed rulers because liberty was too much work. Some were just bitter losers at life. Some were violent sociopaths.

To protect themselves from these home-grown barbarians, the people reluctantly built a moat around the castle. Into the moat, they put a giant orange troll to keep out the looting, thieving and lying barbarians.

The troll’s weapons were usually just strong talk, a bad odor, an ugly appearance, a baleful glance and an offensive personality. He carefully cultivated all that and delighted in earning a deplorable reputation.

It was rumored that this rascally troll could breathe fire, which would account for his famous fatuous flatulence, but nobody had actually seen that. The fire, I mean.

It worked. Barbarians want free stuff, not a fight. They fled.

But the barbarian sympathizers in the castle protected by the troll were repulsed by him. “We’re better than that,” they swaggered. “The troll is hateful,” they said hatefully. “He’s colluding with the barbarians,” they argued even as they themselves egged on the barbarians.

They wished and therefore concluded, “Once inside our castle, the barbarians will become civilized. Let’s get rid of the troll, and welcome the barbarians.”

More and more castle dwellers joined in. “Defund the troll” became a fashionable chant among effete princes and coiffed princesses. Even the otherwise honorable Sir Mitt signaled his virtue with a vote to exile the troll.

The troll’s approval ratings in the castle dropped. There was talk of replacing him with an old, decrepit, hair-sniffing, favor-selling, addict-fathering gaffester with hair plugs and tooth caps who used to be simply stupid before he grew senile.

The troll didn’t fear any of this. He’d made a living by frightening barbarians, after all.

As for the castle quislings, the troll had often stood up to feel-gooders naively nurturing their guilt. He even taunted and mooned them from his stinky moat since he didn’t get invited to their Chardonnay parties.

But he felt unappreciated. He enjoyed scaring away barbarians as he frolicked in the mist but he also wanted a little love. Trolls are human too, in a misanthropic sort of way.

One grey night it happened. The mighty troll went away and ceased his fearless roar.

Many people of the castle celebrated. Others, however, wondered what the barbarians would do now that the troll was gone.

They soon learned. The very next night, the barbarians swam across the toll-free, troll-free moat. They slaughtered every man, woman and child in the castle and ate them. Then they tore down the walls and burned what remained.

To this day, barbarians live in the un-rebuilt castle ruins where they conduct periodic pogroms among themselves to cleanse the mob of whomever dares to question their latest lie.

The big orange troll? He lives in infamy. And in Troll Tower where he sadly watches the world burn from his penthouse apartment.

His head is bent in sorrow and a tear rolls down his crusty wrinkled face.  He’s always looked horrible, and still does, but he loved those people and that place.

12 thoughts on “The troll in the moat that guarded the castle

  1. It’s a lovely tale, but the barbarians are a bit too noble and the orange troll a bit too ugly.
    My castle is guarded by a handsome prince and beautiful princess who care deeply about their people and work very hard to keep them safe.
    We peons work hard to protect our castle; we’re digging a deeper moat right now.

  2. Dr Beaton, What makes this hard for me is I have spent my life under a personal oath to “support and defend the Constitution ..” If you locked me in a cage with any of these (insert curse word) for a fight to the death to see which ideology wins, I would kill them without remorse or hesitation just to avoid the sufferings of so many generations to come. I hate their views and deceit in hiding what they really want to do. PS. The wife and I will be in Aspen on Thursday for dinner around 6, let know if you want to come by for a drink.

  3. To my eyes, the barbarians are the trolls in the moat, and the castle residents are the beautiful people stewarded along, in our case, by a fine and funny POTUS and a good and beautiful FLOTUS. It is my recollection — hardly infallible — that, in classical literature, trolls are under bridges that cross over a moat. They harass comms between castle and fields, not protect the castle or the fields. Brigands they are, barbarians in other costumes.

    Globalists, Communists, and Jihadis unite, for the moment, in convincing Americans that their status as a sovereign constitutional republic under the rule of law is hopeless and not worth caring about.

    That assertion, I submit, is a lie and its authors know that it is. Lies, as one may recall, stand not long, especially when faced early by full-spectrum pre-emption.

  4. I wonder how people like you who are opposed to abortion (and in some cases any form of birth control) can deal with the reality that far too many of today’s unwanted children (except the minority who are adopted by caring adoptive parents) are tomorrow’s sociopaths — mostly of the far left variety.

    • Your abortion point is a bit off-topic, but I’ll bite.

      I am indeed opposed to abortion in most circumstances, though I don’t think it should be outlawed (I’ve explained this in a column or two — I don’t think everything I’m opposed to should be outlawed). For the record, I’m also opposed to the death penalty for much of the same reasons.

      In differentiating yourself from me, Carlton, I gather that you’re actually in favor of abortion. That puts you in some very select company, my friend.

      • As is the case with most advocates of women’s rights to abortion — who are generally WAY more liberal than I am on other issues — I regard abortion as the least desirable form of birth control. But I regard it as the lesser of evils based on two principles:

        1. The interest of society in not having a large and increasing population of unwanted and therefore uncared-for children who grow up to be the sort of sociopaths that we see trashing American communities today, and

        2. The rights of women to control what is transpiring within their own bodies (especially when their pregnancy was forced upon them — often by close male relatives)..

        And, aside from that principle, the fact that a human fetus is no more biologically advanced than that of any other animal and as such is not yet capable of the ability (unique to humans and possibly a few other animals) to recognize its own existence. To the extent that the fetus may be able to experience pain — as is true of the many other animals that people kill for their own benefit — abortion can and should be done in a manner that is regulated to minimize any possible suffering. Sorry, but not sorry, if this advocacy of biological science to minimize the possible brief suffering of a fetus (never mind the lasting suffering of its mother and society in general) sounds too “technocratic.”

        In saying this, I recognize the biological reality that humans and many other animals have evolved as carnivores and omnivores — feeding on other animals — and regard that as being OK provided that we employ our superior intelligence and (hopefully) empathy to do it with minimal trauma to the other animals that we are killing. And I also recognize that many of these animals — particularly domesticated livestock — typically enjoy stress-free lives and would not even exist but for the efforts of humans. So, I’m not any PETA extremist.

        I also recognize that mass immigration into the U.S. by what Trump accurately if impolitely refers to as “shithole countries” is caused mainly by gross overpopulation in those countries. But the totally irrational response of Trump, in pandering to his ultra-conservative base, is to shut off aid to organizations that promote birth control in those countries if — HEAVEN FORBID! — they provide access to safe abortion as a final option.

        A prime example of why I don’t politically support extremists of either the right or left.

  5. The troll in the moat that guarded the castle…..thanks for the effort….now I don’t have to read “Harry Potter”, keep that pencil sharpened. P

  6. No disrespect intended, but, you know, I think I’ve read this story before, as told by some 17th-century English dude named Milton. The shining castle was a world, the moat was the vastness of space, the good people were represented by a woman who got suckered by the promise of “social justice” proffered by some slicker who slithered past the moat, and so on — just like you said. And, yeah, the Troll seemed to go away after that, for a long time, to some kind of Troll Tower. But I hear Milton’s sequel is pretty good. I think I’ll read it.

      • Milton’s Calvinism applies — we do appear to be talking about good and evil here, saints and sinners, even if the Troll doesn’t always seem saintly.

        In the days of the French Revolution, Wordsworth cried out, “Milton, thou should’st be living in this hour; / England hath need of thee.” I feel similarly regarding his Christian vision.

        Thanks for the taste of Blake.

  7. I am relieved to know somewhat conservatives actually reside in Aspen …. as I was a token conservative in Crested Butte. But after 14 years could no longer tolerate the Socialists movement of “what you worked for is mine” ! Blessings to All

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