The thin man and the muscular man from A Tale of Two Orangs. Painted by Juan Artola Miranda for Word & Sorcery.

A Tale of Two Orangs (Mexican Fable)

A Tale of Two Orangs is a fable I wrote after reading The Ant and the Grasshopper by Aesop. It tells us we should prepare for the worst, and there’s wisdom in that, to be sure. But how could a small ant refuse the demands of a large grasshopper? I had to write a rejoinder.

Slashes made by an enraged barbarian fabulist.

A long time ago, when the jungles were lush and green, there were two orangs, Boriol and Fariol. They roamed the land together, hunting for fruits and nuts, diving for crayfish and oysters, and gathering herbs and spices. They shared their spoils equally, but they had different habits when it came to eating. 

Boriol had an eager appetite, gobbling up his entire share of food as soon as he got it, filling his face and swelling his belly. Fariol was prudent and temperate, eating only enough to satisfy his hunger, saving the rest in a secret stash.

Alas, a terrible drought struck the land. The rivers dried up, the plants withered, and the animals fled or died. Food became scarce and precious. Boriol, who had saved nothing, found himself with nothing to eat. 

Fariol fancied himself fortunate, for he had amassed a rich hoard of nuts and seeds and jerky. That is, until Boriol knocked at his door, demanding a share of the food. Boriol was a large and fearsome man. Fariol had little choice but to comply with his demands, giving away half of what he had.

The drought lasted for a long time. When the rain came again, Boriol was much thinner than before, having survived for months on just his body fat. With great regret, he buried Fariol’s bones beneath the palapa they used to sit under together.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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