ago there was a bitter war between the kingdoms of Scythia and Bohemia.
It began when the Scythian king, Lobo the Bold, claimed by ancient
right some lands on the Bohemian seacoast, which he invaded, slaughtering
the Bohemians who had lived there peacefully for many generations.
Bohemian king, Clement the Just, raised a great army and defeated
Scythia, not only reclaiming the disputed lands but at last killing
all the Scythian warriors, including Lobo himself.
soldiers, returning home, reported that they had found that the
barbarous Scythians had practiced cannibalism, eating the bodies
of some of the gentle Bohemians they had killed on the seacoast.
In time this story grew worse and worse, until the Bohemians believed
that the Scythians had eaten more than a million of their countrymen.
Lobo himself, it was said, had eaten 50 Bohemians at one sitting!
a philosopher, spoke to the Bohemian senate: "These stories
are impossible. No more than 80,000 Bohemians lived on the seacoast;
and though Lobo was undoubtedly a savage, even the cruelest and
most ravenous cannibal could not eat 50 men in a year, much less
a single meal."
this the senators were exceedingly angry. "Musidorus has insulted
our dead!" they cried. "He defends Lobo and his cannibals!
He is spewing hate against Bohemia! He is a traitor!"
so," said Musidorus. "I do not deny that Lobo committed
great evil; I only doubt that he performed miracles."
senate was not assuaged. Some said that Musidorus was subversive
of Bohemian patriotism; others demanded his death for treason. He
was fortunate to leave the senate unharmed, though with a stern
warning against propagating his opinions.
it was rumored among the common people that Musidorus had favored
the Scythians during the war and mocked the memory of the Bohemians
who had been devoured. Many said he denied that cannibalism had
occurred at all; others held that he actually applauded it. Some
held both opinions at once.
King Clement himself summoned Musidorus. "I am sorry to hear
these reports of you, Musidorus," he said, "for I have
always esteemed you as a wise philosopher and a loyal Bohemian."
Musidorus replied modestly that whether or not he deserved to be
called wise, he was indeed a loyal Bohemian, but merely questioned
whether Lobo and the Scythians could have performed such prodigious
feats of cannibalism as they were accused of.
all in vain. "Your words," the king said, "can only
comfort our enemies and call in question the justice of our heroic
war. Our brave soldiers have not shed their blood in the struggle
against cannibalism so that idle philosophers, sitting safely at
home, could mock their sacrifice, spew hate against their country,
praise Lobo, and encourage men to eat each other as the Scythians
do." He banished Musidorus from the kingdom.
royal command, the Bohemian chroniclers were to speak no good of
Musidorus in their annals. His books were destroyed, his disciples
dispersed, his house razed to the ground. He died in exile, protesting
to the end that he abhorred cannibalism and loved Bohemia.
time Musidorusís reputation became even more odious. It was said
of him that he approved of cannibalism and had been secretly in
the pay of the Scythians. Some even said that he was a cannibal
himself. His memory was reviled, and nobody dared to take his part.
The official chroniclers wrote that under the guise of teaching
philosophy he had craftily tried to introduce cannibalism among
the Bohemians. Succeeding generations recalled him as Musidorus
then on Bohemian philosophers, in order to teach at the National
Academy, were required to curse the names of Lobo and Musidorus,
and to take a solemn oath that they would never preach the detested
doctrine of cannibalism. Yet the common people continued to suspect
that philosophy inclined menís minds to secret sympathy with cannibals.
later, Bohemian scholars discovered copies of Musidorusís books
that had escaped destruction. They were puzzled to find that these
books neither preached cannibalism nor indeed made any mention of
it. They concluded that Musidorus had been afraid to set down his
true opinions in writing.
was Bohemia, by ceaseless vigilance, spared the scourge of cannibalism
for all time.
© 2000 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate