“Tell us a story daddy,” the kids asked.
“Nagh, not tonight, it’s time for bed.”
“Please, please,” they pleaded.
“Well, alright, but just one, then off to bed, OK?”
“Yeah yeah, we’ll be good.”
“OK, what story would you like to hear tonight? How about the one with the pirates and the buried treasure?”
“No no, we want to hear about the Mars mission and why the cities are gone.”
“I’ve told you that one about a hundred times now, are you sure you want to hear it again?”
“Yes yes, we want to hear about what happened.”
“Yeah, I suppose I should keep telling you that story, so that you’ll remember it and you’ll tell your kids about how mankind fell, and how we ended up in these caves. I want you to remember this story.”
“OK, gather around closer, and I will tell you what happened.”
“This is the same story my father told me a long time ago, and his father told him and his father told him, so listen carefully and you’ll know what happened.”
All the children gathered about the fire to listen to the story of mankind’s fall from the heavens, they had been told it many times before, but it was important that they remember, so that they too could tell this story of long long ago.
Then the bearded man began to tell the story.
It was a long time ago, man was a great builder and had just started to reach out into the stars. And he built great cities and had seemed to have overcome everything that was in his path. But this did not happen overnight, it took many centuries for man to learn how to do things, and to use his mind to improve his everyday life, and he was very good at this, so in time he became the master of all that was about this earth. He built great cities and roads and ships and planes and cars, and everything that one could think of.
“What’s a car? What’s a plane?” The kids asked.
“Well a car, is kind of like one of our wagons, but it didn’t have horses to pull it, it had metal parts that moved, and when they moved, the car would go along the roads.”
“Oh,” the kids said, still confused.
“And a plane was kind of like a car, except it flew in the air.”
“Wow,” the kids gasped.
Now, as I was saying, mankind seemed to have conquered just about everything, he had learned so much that he could do and go anywhere he wanted. He learned to live everywhere, in the deserts, in the mountains, on the oceans and even under the water, and the scientists were always coming up with new inventions and they were even able to make medicines that kept diseases away.
“What’s a scientist?” a kid asked.
“Ahem, do you mind if I tell the story? Well a scientist is a very, very smart man and he could use his brain to find out all kinds of things.”
Well, mankind became so smart, that one day they looked up into the stars and then they decided to build ships that would take them there, and they gathered their scientists together and they built giant rocket ships that could get them to the stars.
And then one day they finally sent men to the moon, way up there, and then they brought them home.
“Wow,” the kids gasped.
And the scientists were very careful, so they kept these men in a special room, just to make sure that they didn’t bring back any bugs from the moon, and after many weeks, the scientists decided that everything was safe, so they let these men out. And they had big parades and parties to celebrate this great event, and after awhile they sent more men to the moon and brought them back again.
Then man became so smart that he decided to build a great big house in space, so that the scientists could learn more. And they kept making the space house bigger and bigger, until finally it was big enough so that a lot of scientists could live up there for a very long time. They did scientists stuff up there, and they took measurements of all kinds of things. And they did this for many, many years, and then one day, the scientists decided to send some men to Mars, and to bring them back.
“Which one is Mars?”
“I’ve shown it to you, it’s the red one.”
“Why did they want to go to Mars?”
“I guess, they wanted to know what was there, and to see what it was like. Maybe they thought that there was some kind of life up there.”
It took a long time for the scientists to build a giant rocket ship and to find out how to get there. And when they had built their rocket ship, they sent seven men to Mars, it took about a year for them to get there and when they landed safely all the scientists were very happy. And these seven men stayed on Mars for about another year, before they came back home.
“Did they find anything up there?”
“Nope, just a lot of rocks and some frozen water I guess, but they did lots of tests and things while they were there.”
Then on their way home, the men stopped at the big space house and waited for about two weeks to make sure they didn’t bring back any bugs from Mars. And the scientists did all kinds of tests on them and looked at them very closely to make sure they were safe. So after the scientists did all the testing they could think of, they sent these seven men back to earth. And they had big parades and parties to celebrate, just like when men went to the moon.
Well it was about two months after they returned that things started to happen. First the big space house started to get holes in it and things kept falling apart and they couldn’t fix the holes fast enough, then the big space house exploded and killed all the scientists that were up there. Then the space ship that went to Mars started to get big holes in it too, and finally it was almost completely eaten away, by the blue fungus.
“The blue fungus? You mean like that stuff over there?”
“Yes, that’s right Josh, just like that blue fungus.”
“You see kids, that blue fungus is not from earth, it was brought back from Mars with those seven men, and it is what caused all the great cities to fall down.”
“That fungus? It doesn’t hurt anyone, mom even puts it in our stews.” Josh said.
“That’s right Josh, it doesn’t hurt us, and it doesn’t hurt the animals or the plants or anything else.”
“Then how did it make the cities fall down, and hurt everyone?”
“It’s harmless, to you and me, but it likes to eat metals, all kinds of metals. And the great cities were built using metal and once the blue fungus ate all the metals, the cities fell down. Everything used to be made from metal, and once it was all gone, the people started to fighting and there were wars about what was left and almost everyone died because we didn’t know how to live without metals.”
“But what about mom’s copper pot, she always cooks in? And how come the scientists in the big space house didn’t see it?
“Josh, the blue fungus only eats manmade metals, metals that man learned how to make from mixing other metals and rocks together, to form new types of metals. The fungus doesn’t eat natural metals like copper, or gold, or silver, just manmade metals. And that is what the great cities were mostly made of.”
“Why didn’t the scientists find it when the men came back from Mars?”
“Nobody knows, maybe it was too small to see, or maybe they didn’t know what to look for because it was a new fungus.”
“What does the story mean, dad?”
“I guess it means that man will never be as smart as he thinks he is.”
“Well, that’s enough for tonight. Off to bed you go, maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you a happier story about a sleeping beauty and a prince who rescues her.”.....