This new series of posts, categorized as BigBro’s Parables, are meant as a creative way to discuss issues in the autistic community. It emphasizes on the realities behind current practices in advocating for autism, as seen by yours truly. All characters appearing in the parables are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. But the plots, nonetheless, parallel facts and issues concerning the autistic community.
I chose to use parables for the same reason Jesus Christ used parables in talking to people: they look, but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear or understand.
“Listen, then, if you have ears!” -Matthew 13:9
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The Parable of the Talking Ram
Once upon a time, there lived a wild ram. He was different among other sheep that he was able to speak, act and think like humans do.
One day, a shepherd was looking for one of her missing sheep when she sounds that were as if someone was speaking. She looked closer to where the sounds were coming, and she saw the ram as he was talking to the butterflies and the flowers. Such was her disbelief when she saw him. “You’ve never heard sheep speaking, do you, milady?” the ram remarked.
“No,” the shepherd answered. “All my sheep bleat, but not speak how you do.”
“They can also speak,” the ram said. “Just give them a chance to do so.”
“You seem so amazing. Would you like to teach my sheep how to speak as well, and also inspire other shepherds?”
“Well,” the ram hesitated. “You see, I was driven away by my previous shepherds for being this way. They have never seen sheep talking like they did, and they sent me away here to the woods.”
“Don’t worry,” said the shepherd. “I will take care of you very well. I’m a shepherd from the open meadows. Would you like to follow me?”
“Well, milady, I have no other place to go other than these woods. I guess I can go out and see my fellow kind, can’t I?”
So the talking ram followed the shepherd to the open meadows, where her flock was. There were plenty of fluffy sheep, but he saw some sheepdogs bullying a lamb by stepping on him with their paws. The ram showed off the dogs his horns, ready to gore them off, and the dogs ran away from the lamb. The lamb, however limping and wounded, tried to come closer to the ram, but the ram came closer and licked the blood off the fleece of the young sheep. The lamb drew himself closer to the ram, and the female shepherd was touched by this sight.
So she immediately called her fellow shepherd, an animal-rights advocate, for him to see what she had found.
“Look what I found! A talking ram!” the shepherd said. The advocate suggested, “Well, why don’t we show him off to the townsfolk? That way, we can inspire other shepherds and animal-carers to train their animals well and be like your ram!”
“I’m not sure,” the shepherd said. “He doesn’t even know us. I just saw him in the woods, and to my surprise, one of my runts warmed up to him,” she added, referring to the lamb whom the dogs bullied.
“It’s not important where he came from or how you picked him up,” the advocate replied. “Let’s show him to the people as an excellent example of a great sheep!”
The shepherd agreed, and the talking ram was paraded around the streets of the town. People were amazed every time he talked like them, and the shepherds keep receiving gifts for the ram. The ram got some food for gifts, but the most of them, ones that are of gold, silver, and jewels, were kept by the shepherd and her companions.
While he was under the adulation of the townspeople, he saw the realities of what humans had been doing to his fellow sheep and other animals. He saw a pregnant nanny-goat being kicked by children out of jest, and an elderly bull being forced to haul mounds of hay on his back. And of course, the humans were harshly beating the cattle to make him rise up every time he falls from the burden.
He saw these things happening, but because of the gifts the people bring for him, he chose to keep mum. After weeks of being paraded in the streets, the shepherd and the advocate refused to accept food for the ram, and instead asked for gold and jewelry, without the ram being withheld food, which he gave to the lamb, the goat, the ox, and his other fellow animals, many of them who warmed up and became friends with him.
The talking ram, despite starving and seeing injustice, was patient and slow to anger, until he saw that his friends are now being sent to their deaths — the lamb for being what the shepherd called “a runt that must be culled,” the goat to be burnt as a sacrifice, and the ox to be rendered into tallow and leather by the advocate, who also worked as a butcher.
He had had enough, and one day, when he was once again paraded to the people, the talking ram finally spoke out: “Townsfolk, this has to stop. You have too much to give me and you worship me like a god, but what about my fellow animals? Do you give the same adulation to them as you give me? Look at what the shepherd and her cohorts are doing!” He gored at the cart holding the treasures people gave to the shepherd, and the cart broke, spilling out the good. “Come and get your money back! They are making a show out of animals for their own gain!”
The shepherd and the advocate, now robbed of their wealth, were very angry at the ram for exposing their fraud, and tried to kill the talking ram. But the ram ran away quickly, back to the woods, never to be seen again.