Before we leave on the long pilgrimage to our forefathers’ homeland we gather vessels to fill with the water from the magical spring. Although it is heavy to carry on the slippery mountain trails we consider the water to be lucky. It is pure and clear, arising form deep within the earth, filtered through the sandy aquifer, arriving crystal clear and delicious. In the old days there was a superstition about drinking the water to be invited to return. When visitors arrived in the town that were undesirable to the townspeople they were all given beer to drink. The locals believed that once a person drank water from their enchanted spring, they would never leave. They had discovered this the hard way, and wanted to keep their precious resource to themselves. They became isolationists just when the rest of the world was hooking up with transportation, commerce, trade, and immigration. The elders wanted to maintain the purity of the water as well as the people’s thoughts.
These purity campaigns rarely result in a better environment. Somehow the strict rules, the isolation and control of learning, social recreation, and dress customs, had the effect for freezing time. The population survived, but only through sacrifice and very hard labor. They freely allowed anyone to leave, but continued to tell strangers there was no water in town, only beer. After a while the visitors stopped and the population dwindled. The few old true believers still living in the area were now too feeble to climb up to fetch the water from the spring for themselves, and nobody was left to do it for them. The enchantment was now completely wasted on them because it was just out of their reach. It was still flowing copiously as it had done for centuries, but only a handful of people even knew where the spring was.
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