Article Overview:  Part IV of Legends of Vigilance tells a story of how the Land of Poverty became the Land of Prosperity.   It reveals the Third Secret of Vigilance, one that helped the people rid the Land of the Beast of Terror.   If you haven't read the First Three Installments, use the links to go them and start at the beginning, when the Beast of Terror ruled the Land.    Go to Part I of V   Go to Part II of V   Go to Part III of V     Go to Part IV of V   Go to Part V of V


Tuesday--December 23, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 832
The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance--Part IV of V
The Third Secret Of Vigilance
"Parable of The Ant,  The Leaf And The Sea"

Cliff McKenzie

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Dec. 23, 2003 -- It was the fourth night of the Legend of Vigilance Story, and the children were filled with candy and hot chocolate and sparkling eagerness to hear the next episode.
      They were curious about the sheet hanging on the wall near the Sentinel's Great Chair.   On it, scribed with charcoal, was a formula:
                                                     RA x's 3 C's = V

It was the fourth night of the Legend of Vigilance Story

        "My Little Ones, how happy you look tonight.   In just 48 hours, Santa will come.   Christmas will once more be a happy day for all the children, for the entire Land of Prosperity.  But," he paused and swept his big, strong hand over the heads of the children pressed into a smiley circle before him, " wasn't always that way.   Long ago, during the reign of the Beast of Terror, such a night like this was cold, unfriendly, frightening."
        Mary, a Little One with chipmunk cheeks rouged by the crisp night, pointed toward the sheet that hung against the wall.   "Is that our story, Sentinel?  Are we going to learn about math tonight?"
        "Ha," the Sentinel replied.  "You are very smart, Mary.   Yes.   That is part of the story.   It is the Math of Vigilance, and I will tell you about it in a moment.  But, for now, let me tell you about how the people of the Land of Poverty found the third secret to chasing the Beast of Terror away.    Can anyone tell me what the first two Secrets of Vigilance are that we've already learned?"    

Timmy responded that the Beast made people feel In-Timmy-Day-Shine

          Timmy's hand shot up.  "Last night, Sentinel, we learned that the Beast brought darkness to the Land by making people feel small and helpless.    He made them feel  In-Timmy-Day-Shine!" 
           The Little Ones giggled in unison.
          "That's right, Timmy.   The Beasts wings sucked up the sunlight and put a blanket of darkness over all the people's hopes and dreams.   And the Stranger reminded them they were not small, but as big as, as strong as the Beast.  Conviction in their own self worth and value helped them stand up to him. That was the Second Secret of Vigilance."
           "And...and..." stammered a little girl who held a piece of rock candy up so all could see...."and when we hear the Beast try to bully us and say mean things, we say:  I'm Rubber You're Glue, Everything You Say Bounces Off Me And Sticks On You!  That's the Second Secret, right?"
           "Very good.   Conviction means we stand up for ourselves and others.   We don't let anyone beat us up or make us feel badly, from the outside or inside.   If we are brave, we see the sunlight.  We see our hope and dreams, and not our nightmares.  The Beast wants us to hide in the dark of ourselves. He wants to Intimidate us.  But we don't let him, right?"
          "But, we're going backwards, children.  What's the First Secret?  Can you remember?"

"We stand on each other's shoulders and we grow so tall and strong and together chase the Beast away"

        "It's Cee Our Unity Repels A Great Enemy," shouted out a boy with rich mocha skin that glistening in the firelight.   "It's the Courage we need to fight the Fear of the Beast.   And, we get it from each other.   We stand on each other's shoulders and we grow so tall and are so strong the Beast runs away! Courage to fight the Beast's Fear, that's the First Secret."
          The Sentinel leaned back and twirled his beard with his fingers.   "Ah, you are so smart, Little Ones.   You have learned so much.  I am very proud of you.  And so are your Mothers, Fathers, and Grandparents of Vigilance, and all your Loved Ones.   Give these Little Ones a big hand."
         Standing around the perimeter of the room, the Parents and Loved Ones of Vigilance clapped for their children, grandchildren and the Little One's they loved.
         As the applause quieted, the Sentinel's Voice grew serious.  "I'm going to tell you a story about two children, a boy and girl, who escaped the Land of Prosperity in search of the final Secret of Vigilance.    The Stranger told this story long ago, and I will share it again with you."  The Sentinel paused, took a deep breath and continued.
       "The two children were brother and sister.  They decided to find the Final Secret of Vigilance because no one in the Land of Poverty could find it anywhere.   They packed food in their back-backs and slipped away from the shadow of the Beast using their new-found Courage and Conviction to brave the Fear and shine light on the Darkness of Intimidation.   

Mary pressed the shell to her ears hoping to hear the final secret

         "They made their way to the edge of the earth where the sea separated land and water. There were convinced the answer would be here, at the ends of the earth.   They had heard that shells could speak, so they picked up many different ones and listened to the sounds of the sea captured within. 
        "The children pressed them to their ears, hoping to hear the Final Secret.   Sister Mary turned to her brother, Billy.   Billy, she said, do you hear anything?    No, he replied, only the sound of the sea."  
       The Sentinel pretended to hold a shell to his ear and urged the Little Ones to follow suit.   Small hands pressed imaginary shells to their ears.
      "Sister Mary picked up many shells of all sizes, big, small, curved ones, flat ones and listened like a Robin in the spring for the sound of a worm.   Brother Billy did the same until nearly all the shells on the beach had been tried.  Finally, Brother Billy picked up a conch shell that looked like a curly ram's horn, and placed it against his ear, now sore and red from the rough edges of the shells scraping against his skin.     He was about to put it down when he thought he heard something.    Sister, he yelled, come and listen.  He handed the shell to Sister Mary who put it gently to her ear.  Yes, she said, I hear something. doesn't seem to be coming from the shell.   I think....I think...     Sister Mary removed the shell from her ear and cocked her ear to the wind.   At first she heard only the rustling of the reeds nestled near the sand.  She moved closer to them.   Yes, she said, I think I hear something..."
       The Sentinel leaned forward with his hand near his ear, as though he were listening to the wind.   He let the room grow very, very silent as his eyes grew as large as goose eggs.
      "Lo and behold, Sister Mary heard a small Voice saying--Come Place Ant In Sea.  Come Place Ant In Sea."
       The Sentinel exaggerated the words.  The children leaned ever so close.

The children placed the ant on a green leaf and into the sea

        "I hear it too, said Brother Billy.    Come Place Ant In Sea, he repeated.  The brother and sister began to look closely at the reeds for the little squeaky Voice saying over and over, Come Place Ant In Sea.  Finally, they spotted it!   A tiny ant with a round black head and shiny body with skinny legs, was crawling up to the top of a swaying reed and calling out: Come Place Ant In Sea 
       "Sister Mary and Brother Billy knelt  next to the reed and studied the ant.  Its antenna wiggled and its big eyes, stuck on each side of its shovel-shaped head, rolled up and down and sideways.   Come Place Ant In Sea it cried.     Brother Billy looked at his sister and said: I think the ant wants us to put him in the sea. I think so too, replied his sister.  Brother Billy searched the sandy soil and spotted a large green leaf." 
       The Sentinel pretended to look down on the floor and scooped up a make-believe leaf as he went on with the story.  " I'll make you a boat, Mister Ant, Billy said.   You can sail safely on it.  Come Place Ant In Sea, the creature squeaked.   Sister Mary found a small stick and pushed it against the reed to make a bridge.  The ant crawled onto it.  Brother Billy held up the curved leaf shaped not unlike the bow of a boat.  He urged the ant off the stick and onto the leaf.   Sister Mary and Brother Billy waded into the water, holding the ant and leaf just above the surface.   Come Place Ant In Sea, squeaked the ant. Come Place Ant In Sea   Okay, said Billy, and gently set the leaf on the lapping surface of the water.  Slowly, the ant began to drift out toward the horizon atop its makeshift sailing craft.  The wind began to blow and the leaf and ant grew smaller....and smaller....and smaller..."
        The Sentinel's Voice grew softer and smaller as he spoke until he was whispering and no sounds came out of his mouth.  The children leaned forward so far their noses almost touched the wooden floor.  There was a long silence before the Sentinel spoke.
        "Now, children, how long do you think Brother Billy and Sister Mary stood and watched the ant drifting away?"
       A Little One sitting near the Sentinel's boots thrust up his hand. "I think, maybe, until it got dark?"
       "Good answer.   Anyone else?"
       "Maybe, until they got hungry and cold and had to go home?"
       Another child offered:  "Until they couldn't see the ant any more?"
       "Until they couldn't hear it any more?"
       The Sentinel nodded to each answer.   "The children helped the ant out and then stood for a long while watching it drift away.   When it disappeared, they grew cold and hungry and lonely for their parents, just as many of you said.   They had come to find the third secret of the Beast of the Terror's rule over the Land of Prosperity, but they found nothing but an ant who wanted to go into the sea.  When you try very hard to do something and it doesn't work, what do you do?"      

"Complacency means giving up on your hopes and dreams"

          The children thought over the question.  "You give up!"
        "That is what some people do," said the Sentinel.   "Some people just give up.   They say, 'Why try anymore, it doesn't work.'   They throw up their hands and quit trying.   And that was the Third Secret they learned.   They learned the little ant was the answer to their quest."
         "But, Sentinel, I don't understand.  The ant wanted to go into the water, didn't it?   How did they give up.  They just watched the ant do what it wanted to do, to go into the sea."
         "No. Not quite.  The ant was telling Sister Mary and Brother Billy not that it wanted to go into the sea, but the Third Secret Of Vigilance.   The ant didn't want to go into the sea at all.   Instead, he wanted the children to understand the message. Come Place Ant In Sea  He was saying in ant words:  Com-plac-en-cy."
          "Complacency?  What does that mean, Sentinel?"
          "Well, it means giving up on your hopes and dreams, Timmy.  It means getting tired of trying.  It means you no longer care.  Remember when I asked how long you thought Brother Billy and Sister Mary watched the ant drift away?   The question was, how long were they Vigilant?   How long did they care about the ant?"
         "But they were cold and hungry."  

"People give up trying and become Come Place Ant...Sea"

        "Sometimes," the Sentinel said, we have to fight hard to keep trying.  Had they kept looking, they would have seen the wind change blow the ant back to the shore.   But they left too soon.   The ant was counting on them being there so he could tell them he didn't want to go out to sea, but that he was a messenger.  That he had the Third Secret Of Vigilance.  But, Billy and Mary were gone.   They gave up on finding the secret when they had it all the time..  And that's what happens to people who become Complacent.  They give up trying to do the right thing.   They become Come Place Ant In Sea!"
         "I get it," Timmy said.   "The people of the Land of Poverty gave up on fighting the Beast of Terror.  When they gave up, the Beast won.  Right?"
         "That's right, Timmy.   See, the Beast of Terror tried to make you give up on many things.  You might be brave for a moment or two, but what will keep you from letting your bravery melt like snow in Spring back into Fear and Intimidation?   Complacency is like water dripping on a rock.   It wears down our Courage and Conviction.   Like learning how to play the violin.   You know you just can't do it, and when you try, you make awful sounds with the bow screeching over the strings.  So, you quit trying.  You become Complacent.  You just stop.   People give up on many things in life because they are too hard, or so it seems.   And, the people in the Land of Poverty had given up fighting the Beast of Terror.   They gave up finding the Secrets of Vigilance, until the Stranger came and told them the Stories of Vigilance."
           "Sentinel, how do you know when to give up or not?   How long do you stand in the water waiting for the ant on the leaf to come back?"  
            "That is such a good question.   Let's look at the formula for the answer.  You see, the people of the Land of Poverty asked the Stranger the same question.   How do you know when to Not Stop Trying?   He gave them this formula to destroy Complacency.
                                                     RA x's 3 C's=V
          "This is a simple formula, children.   It simply says Right Actions Times the Children's Children's Children Equal Vigilance.    All that means is when you are doing the right thing, you know it is the right thing if it helps other children both today and tomorrow.   Like, being nice to someone who is sad or unhappy is the right thing to do today and for the children tomorrow.  Sure, you could walk past someone and not smile or say hello because they looked sad or lonely.  Or, you could go up to them and be nice and friendly with them, and try to help them be happy.   If everyone passed by a sad and lonely person, soon the world be all sad and lonely because don't we all get sad and lonely sometimes?"  

"Right Action means we care..."

        "Yes.  I feel that way sometimes when I think my brother is being mean to me," said Little Linda, poking at her brother.  
         "And sometimes I feel that nobody wants to play with me.   Sometimes I cry," said another child.
          That's what the formula does, children.   Complacency means we don't care.   Right Action for the Children's Children's Children's sake means we care about today and tomorrow.   The Beast of Terror threatening the Land today will threaten it tomorrow and the next day if people don't stand up to the Beast."
          Linda jumped and down.  "You need Courage, Conviction and Right Actions that help the children in the future.  You need all three to fight the Beast of Terror and make the Land of Prosperity, right Sentinel?  Right?"

"The people learned that Courage, Conviction and Right Actions benefit future children and help drive the Beast away"

        "You are right , Little One.    And that's what the people of the Land of Poverty learned that night.  They learned that it took Courage, Conviction and Right Actions that benefit future children, the Children's Children's Children to drive the Beast of Terror away.   They learned that removing Complacency from  Land of Poverty  would turn it into the Land of Prosperity."
         "So, what did they do, Sentinel?   How did they finally get the Beast to leave the land now that they had the Three Secrets of Vigilance."
         "Ahhh," the Sentinel said touching his nose, "we'll find that out tomorrow night.    But for now, let's have one final cup of chocolate before we all go home and pledge to ourselves that we'll always think about doing the right thing not just for ourselves and for our families and friends, but also for the future of all the children."
        "Yes, we'll all remember never to put an ant on a leaf and send it out to the sea," said Little Linda as she and the other children stood and clapped and laughed and hugged and then ran to the table filled with steaming cups of hot chocolate.

                                  Go to Part V of V

(For print-friendly version if Part IV, click here

Dec. 22--The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance: Part III of V

©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design