Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 13. 1969.
George Fyson Looks At — Godzown Farm
George Fyson Looks At
Once upon a time there was a big field. It was called godzone. It was fenced in on all sides, and there was a fence down the middle, with a gate. The fence divided the field in two. One half of the field was filled with cows, who did little else all day besides eat. They also fought each other in an attempt to get on each others' banks. All the time there was a struggling heap of cows somewhere in the field, which looked like a pyramid. On the bottom some cows drowned in the mud. The cows who fell off the pile marvelled all the more at those who happened to be on top, and joined in the fray with redoubled efforts.
The other half of the field was filled with people, who far outnumbered the cows. The people worked to feed the cows, who had a pretty good time of it. Sometimes the cows would wander round among the people, and kick them while they worked. Some cows were specially delegated to perform this task, which they did with great satisfaction.
The gate was open all the time, but only cows could go through it. They often went through to make sure that the people were working hard. The gate was controlled by a pompous small cow with a sonorous voice, who was appointed by the other cows to run their affairs for them.
Some cows wandered in more distant fields, where people worked even harder for them. In one distant field, though, the people were resisting. Several cows went over, and much effort was expended in kicking these people hard, and in trampling them in the mud. "If we don't trample them," said the cows, "they might come to godzone and trample us."
Even now and then, the cows held an election to decide who was to be gatekeeper. Sometimes people would ask why it was always cows who kept the gate, and why in fact the gate could not be shut so the people could work less, for themselves alone, and have more leisure time. Other people would reply: "But think of the cows ... it is cow nature to want to organise and control things. What would we do anyway if we had no cows to tell us what to do?" Other people again replied that it would be cruel to the cows to hamper their freedom by closing the gate. One of the cows who happened to be walking on some people at the time remarked that the open gate was one of the finest traditions of Godzone, and also that people did not need leisure time anyway, as all they did when they got it was to enjoy themselves.
On hewing these words, one of the more learned of the cows loaned over the fence and said: "You people would all be cows anyway if you were clever enough; you're just jealous. It's human nature to be a cow, its just that we have the achievement motivation and drive that people lack."
But people were only put off for a few years by these arguments. Some of them Still said: "Will you let us complete fairly in the elections for gatekeeper;' Of course the cows thought this quite an outrageous proposal, But some of them smirked to themselves and said: "What docs it matter, as long as they keep the gate open?" After much ado, and especially when it looked as if the people were intending to close the gate once and for all of their own accord, the second point of view among the cows prevailed. But they laid down one condition: the job of the gatekeeper was not so that the gate should be shut, but that it should be repaired and kept wide open when the cows passed through. What cow in her right mind could allow a person to close the gate?
So it was agreed. Only responsible people and cows, were allowed to compete in the elections. The people were told of all these decisions by the cows themselves. Any discussion among the people was quickly eliminated by the cows telling them, with kicks where necessary, to get back to work and not let the whole arrangement befouled up by a few who did not have the interests of all creatures at heart.
When the time for the elections came round, the candidates came forward. The people's candidate, Fatkirk, sat on the fence so that all people could see him. He also sat on the fence so that all the cows could see that he meant no harm and that he was not going to suggest anything to the people which would be unacceptable to the cows.
But Fatkirk was uncomfortable. In fact he looked and smelt so much like a cow that the people could not tell whether he was a cow or a person. He even made noises, and chewed like cows do. So, to prove he was a people's candidate, he told them about a red handkerchief he had in his pocket. He knew that if he waved this red handkerchief the people would see that he was not a cow, but he couldn't wave it because the cows, who were very suspicious and were watching everything he did, would have immediately charged him and knocked him into one of the huge cowpats that lay thick upon the ground. Besides, some of his best friends were cows.
So what he did was this. He said in a loud voice: "We people wish to dissociate ourselves from the action of the cows who go into distant fields to kick the people there." And then, very quickly afterwards, he said (so the people could hardly hear): "But we want the cows over there to stay and protect the gates and paths they are making over there. We can't have the people in those distant places stopping our cows making roads, paths and gates on their land. Our cows have a right to defend themselves if those people object. And you all know that the best method of defence is to attack. "The cows heaved a sigh of relief ... they would not have to bother to knock him off the fence after all.
Fatkirk then made a cunning move, of which he was very proud, for it took a lot of thought. He pulled up a corner of the red handkerchief so that the people just caught sight of it, then pushed it away again. Some people, close up to Fatkirk, were amazed at his daring ... for on the corner of the handkerchief was written; "We will not allow individual cows to have their own broadcasting stations. They must be content with the one they control through their committee!" He did not, of course, point out that people would not be allowed to have their own broadcasting stations, either as individuals or as a group. Those close to Fatkirk were spellbound by his revolutionary proposal. "He is standing for democracy among the cows," they said. "He won't put up with any cow disagreeing with the majority!"
The cows, however, were not impressed, None of them voted for him. Nor did the people, who couldn't quite understand how is proposals would affect them, Those who had set Fatkirk on the fence, and there were many of these because he was very heavy, did vote for him. However as the cows controlled the election anyway their candidate became gatekeeper.
So the cows were happy again. Peace returned, and they continued to grow fat.
But one day some people said; "Let's shut the gate; there are enough of us, and surely together we tan outwit the cows." When the word had got round, most people agreed, and they went and shut it.