The planet Salt was sparsely populated by the Salteens, a strong and happy people. They lived in simple cardboard dwellings and subsisted on a special kind of pebble, of which there was an abundant supply.
On the planet Pepper lived a progressive people, the Pepperonis. Unfortunately, they suffered from tyrants who oppressed the Pepperoni people, controlling their thoughts. The Pepperonis were numerous and prolific, and eventually occupied all the space on Pepper.
Some brave Pepperonis decided to escape the tyranny and over-crowding on Pepper and embark on the long and dangerous space voyage to Salt, where there was rumoured to be more room and fewer tyrants.
The Pepperonis, being somewhat advanced, had many trinkets. They were used to having their trinkets with them at all times, and so they filled their space-ship with a multitude of trinkets, hoping to befriend and appease the Salteens.
After many failed attempts, a few Pepperonis finally arrived on Salt. For the most part, the Salteens welcomed the Pepperonis. The Salteens coveted the trinkets of the Pepperonis, and agreed to allow the Pepperonis to occupy some of the space on Salt.
The Pepperonis made good use of the space they were given in exchange for the trinkets. Being a prolific people, they soon outnumbered the Salteens. The Salteens enjoyed the trinkets, and since they had an ample supply of pebbles, they stayed in their cardboard dwellings, playing with the trinkets and eating the pebbles.
After a time, the Salteens grew un-happy. The Pepperonis were taking up too much space, and playing with the trinkets was making the Salteens weak. They tried to send the Pepperonis home, but they were just too numerous. Besides, the Salteens had not learned how to make the trinkets which they so coveted, and therefore had to tolerate the Pepperonis. The once strong and happy Salteens tired of their diet of pebbles and became weaker and more un-happy, while the Pepperonis kept making better use of the space and so they prospered.
Soon, the Pepperonis needed more space. The Salteens did not want to give up any more space to the Pepperonis, but they could not live without the trinkets. The Pepperonis took the space from the Salteens, giving them more and more trinkets in return, which made the Pepperonis stronger and the Salteens weaker and more un-happy.
The Salteens felt resentment toward the Pepperonis who had taken their space. The Pepperonis felt resentment toward the Salteens, who were using more and more of the trinkets, forcing the Pepperonis to work long hours making the trinkets while the Salteens relaxed in their cardboard dwellings eating the pebbles.
One day, a space ship arrived from Pepper with bad news. Pepper had suffered a cataclysmic earthquake that had destroyed almost all the trinkets on the planet. Feeling some allegiance to their ancestral home, the Pepperonis began sending all the trinkets back to Pepper. As the trinkets of the Salteens wore out, they could not be replaced, and the Salteens became more and more un-happy and resentful.
Eventually, life became too difficult for the Pepperonis who had emmigrated to Salt. They worried about their homeland, and they grew tired of the shortage of trinkets and the resentment of the Salteens. Tyrants had begun to control the thoughts of the Pepperonis, so they built many space-ships, loaded all the trinkets aboard, and returned to Pepper, leaving the neo-tyrants behind. They re-built the planet Pepper, marinated the Pepper-tyrants in soya sauce, discovered birth-control and lived happily ever after.
The Salteens, left behind on their barren but spacious planet, had to go back to eating pebbles. They were weak and un-happy at first, and were furious at the Pepperoni tyrants left behind, who were of no use to the Salteens as the sum total of their knowledge was thought-control, not trinket-making. They piled pebbles on the tyrants until they occupied no space at all.
Gradually, the Salteens got used to not having any trinkets. Over time, the trinkets and the Pepperonis were but a faint memory. The Salteens became a strong and happy people once again. Each morning the Salteens would rise and admire their space, then spend the rest of the day in their cardboard dwellings, eating pebbles while the Salteen elders told strange legends of Pepperonis and trinkets.
(The writer of this piece has been warned by his employer, The Big Kahuna Pepperoni Company, that his writings are "offensive and culturally insensitive". Therefore, I have chosen, at his request, to keep his identity confidential - Larry)
Photo: A typical Salteen dwelling. Note the trinket in the front yard. A Salteen is demonstrating a traditional greeting. On the left we see a stockpile of pebbles.