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Ainhoa Irazu Ibañez > Extracts

Narrative (short story and novel)

The Country that did not know war |

Once upon a time an amazing piece of news appeared in the newspaper: in the furthest corner of the earth, in the very place that rainbows are born, there was a country that did not know war!

It was the only country in the world that did not know war, the only peaceful country. There were no troops or armies there, no soldiers or service men and women, nor any police, and they all lived in absolute peace, without squabbling with each other. In that country they all had the same, a house and something to each and they were all happy. They were so happy that their laughter was contagious. For if anyone started laughing, everyone else around him or her would begin to laugh, too. They lived very happily and, naturally, they nearly always smiled. What do you need soldiers, service people and police officers for?

When the leader of the world’s most warlike country heard about this peaceful country, he rubbed his hands together. He was a very wicked person. “So they don’t know war. Well, they won’t know what guns, cannon or bombs are, either. They won’t know what to do to win a war. It will certainly be an easy country to conquer. We will fight against them.”

With this plan in mind, the leader of the warlike country sent a large police force to the peaceful country to bring its citizens under control.

He sent the police with guns, truncheons, walkie-talkies, helmets and everything… but the local inhabitants had never seen anything like that and believing that the foreigners were from another planet, they split their sides laughing:

“Where have you come from? Are you extraterrestrials?”

As their laughter was so contagious, everyone started laughing, including the police. The police returned after a few days, still laughing and having failed to conquer the country.

The leader of the most warlike country was prepared to do anything to conquer the peaceful country, and planned a second attack. In that second attack he sent masses of soldiers, each one as fearsome as the rest, with machine guns, pistols, bombs, cannon and everything.

However, the citizens were not frightened on that occasion, either, just the opposite, in fact: once again they split their sides laughing when they saw the soldiers looking so ridiculous:

“You’ve got it wrong. Carnival isn’t due to start until next week.”

As their laughter was so contagious, everyone started laughing, including the soldiers. The soldiers left a few days later, still laughing and having failed to conquer the citizens.

At the third attempt the leader himself went accompanied by huge bodyguards. The leader’s bodyguards were veritable giants, while he was a small man. That was why the citizens thought he looked like a puppet and the moment he began to speak, they split their sides laughing. Everyone began laughing, including the bodyguards. Only the leader scowled.

“I am the strongest leader in the world. Because the world’s most powerful weapons are in my hands.”

“And there is obviously something wrong with you, because you don’t know how to laugh,” the country’s wizard told him. “But let your appearance help to make people laugh.”

And the wizard turned the leader into a puppet. And that was the end of the story of the warlike leader, who had been turned into a puppet. Luckily, the story of the peaceful country is not over. No one has conquered that peaceful country yet, because everyone who goes there ends up laughing, and those who do not laugh end up being turned into puppets.

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