Once upon a time in a very vast land, the king was unsatisfied. For the ruler of such extensive domains, an insufficient number of subjects showed their love for him. Even worse, the courtiers sneered about it behind his back, taking their good life in this castle on the green hill for granted. One day he ordered the building of a monument, where it was decreed that all subjects, not least the courtiers, were to pay homage to him.
When the first of them arrived to fulfil the new decree, they could barely believe their eyes. In the middle of the courtyard was a small column of carved marble - not a head higher than a child in its playful years - that pointed like a spear towards the sky. Engraved in Roman letters in gold was the word "GREATNESS." The trumpets sounded and the herald announced that henceforth all subjects were to bow at least once a year before the greatest monument ever built. The king stood with his arms crossed over his considerable midriff, pretending to look askance as each subject bowed before the small block of marble. As the days passed, the subjects flowed in, and each one strove to outdo the last in fervor. "Hail to the greatest of great monuments ever built!" they cried out.
As the pilgrimages to GREATNESS overtook the attention of the land, the enemies of the kingdom grinned smugly. What better moment to achieve their goals than when so many in that seemingly unconquerable land appeared to be obsessed by a tiny, inconsequential slab of marble?
Suddenly it was dawn on the first day after the enemy had looted and pillaged. A few orphaned children dared to creep out of the ruins. Their clothes were in rags, and their hair and faces covered in a thin film of dust. Above all, they were hungry, and looked about to see what they might find to eat. There was nothing, and so to distract themselves from their hunger they wandered to the pile of broken marble, and began to play make-believe games with the pretty stone. These games sustained their spirits until one of them found some succulent roots in a vegetable patch. The children survived to become parents, and with their caring for one another, created a community on the ruins of the green hill. The monument remained a pile of stone with the gold-engraved letters split up on different pieces. Future generations made new words with them. Yet, no one ever mentioned that word again, and in that there was greatness.
Written in memory of the millions that perished in the Holocaust.
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