They moved toward us on two legs tall as trees. With arms as thick as corn stalks they struck implements, producing that blood-curdling
din. But now we had to move and fast! For these terrorists tore huge corn stalks and thrashed us with our own fodder. They
ripped up bushes and branches to beat us to death. With horrible screams, an especially vicious mob crushed our eggs, jumping
and trampling and pounding with sticks. "Locusts," they screamed. "Kill the locusts!"
we piled upon each other in heaps. The enraged monsters threw fire on our huddled insects: load after load of burning leaves
and litter and straw they hurled upon us.
In ghastly panic we tried to flee every which way. But they surrounded
us, dug trenches in the ground, swept us in, cast more flame on us, shoveled more dirt upon us. We choked and burned and screamed
Yes, many of us escaped to the air. But were we any more victorious than those who met death on the ground? No! For though
in chaos and delirium my body was scattered to the sky, my soul was in the burning ditch in which I beheld Pagoda lie. A million
locusts were swept aloft in a whirlwind of confusion, I among that number. "FREEDOM!" they all shouted, "FREEDOM,
FREEDOM!" But "Pagoda, Pagoda!" was all that I could utter. I didn't fly - I was conveyed away, pressed in
a mass of whirring insects. And "Pagoda" I would cry with every spin and swirl.
But now a bug right by
my side heard my cries and offered counsel. "Things cannot be otherwise," he pronounced.
sake I answered him and asked what was his meaning. "What happened just now was indispensable," he continued, "a
necessary ingredient in this best of possible worlds."
"If this," I shot back, "is the best of
all possible worlds, what can the others be like?"
This philosopher, this Doctor Painloss as he called himself,
hastened to assure me that God is perfection, that He created a perfect universe, that what we see as evil is in reality part
of a grand and good design. Locusts must accept their lot - not try to understand or change it. "No doubt," the
good doctor went on, "God employed this expedient as a means to punish sinful insects."
of the millions of INNOCENTS who perished with the sinners? What about my Pagoda?"
I was furious now and prepared
to grapple with this wise bug. I strained with all my tormented mind to rebut his foolish argument. But an overpowering wind
tore me from him and bore me far to a distant continent.