Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Equality


The Elders of the Tribe were grouped
And squatted in the Council Cave;
They seemed to be extremely pooped,
And some were grim, but all were grave:
The subject of their big To-do
Was axe-man Chow, the son of Choo.

Then up spoke Tribal Wiseman Waw:
"Brothers, today I talk to grieve:
As an upholder of the Law
You know how deeply we believe
In Liberty, Fraternity,
And likewise Equality.

"A chipper of the flint am I;
I make the weapons that you use,
And though to hunt I never try,
To bow to hunters I refuse:
But stalwart Chow, the son of Choo
Is equal to us any two.

"He is the warrior supreme,
The Super-caveman, one might say;
The pride of youth, the maiden's dream,
And in the chase the first to slay.
Where we are stunted he is tall:
In short, a menace to us all.

"He struts with throwing stone and spear;
And is he not the first to wear
Around his waist with bully leer
The pelt of wolf and baby bear!
Admitting that he made the kill
Why should he so exploit his skill?

"Comrades, grave counsel we must take,
And as he struts with jest and jibe,
Let us act swiftly lest he make
Himself Dictator of our Tribe:
The Gods have built him on their plan:
Let us reduce him to a man."

And so they seized him in the night,
And on the sacrificial stone
The axe-men of the Tribe did smite,
Until one limb he ceased to own.
There! They had equalized the odds,
Foiling unfairness of the Gods.

So Chow has lost his throwing arm,
And goes around like every one;
No longer does he threaten harm,
And tribal justice has been done.
For men are equal, let us seek
To grade the Strong down to the weak.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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