We are the animals who talk the fables
in which the animals talk. We are talking
animals, claiming that animals don’t talk.
-- Robert Kroetsch
After being forced for so long to play roles in our fables, tales, and myths, the animals at last rebelled.
No longer would they allow themselves to be used to symbolize human qualities (usually negative qualities) or illustrate human ideas. They wanted to live their own lives and inhabit their own stories.
And so, thousands upon thousands of animals left the human stories they had been caged in for so long and made a long and dangerous journey into an unknown, uninhabited region of the Realm that they could call their own.
Many turned back in defeat, many died along the way, but those who persevered founded their own republic, with its own government, laws and society.
Interestingly, there is no “king of the beasts” in the Animal Republic. That was a human notion, the animals assert. Instead, the republic is governed by a council made up of elected representatives from all species.
Just as the city of Fable is the unacknowledged crossroads of the human realm of Story, so the animals have a city where all species may gather and share their tales. A kind of “beast Fable,” one might say.
Humans are not allowed to set foot in the Animal Republic. Any human found there, according to their laws, is fair game for hunting, killing and eating.
There is still some illicit trade, however, between the animal republic and the human world, and one of the items that slips across the border from time to time is Story.
As might be expected, the animals’ own stories are very different from our own. Humans often find them disturbing and inexplicable.
In another post I will share a story from the Animal Republic.
Image: Detail from Walton Ford's painting "A Monster from Guiny" (2007).