Once upon a time, a band of vigorous tribesmen occupied a high and arid plain. They were surrounded by snow-covered peaks, and what little water they had trickled down from the glaciers and snowfields above. Water was precious to them, for their lives depended upon it. They took care not to waste a drop.
One day, a mighty man rose up among them and asked, “Why do we wait for such water as the mountains are willing to share? Why do we not dig a well?” So he began to dig. But there were in that land certain men who had been given authority to distribute the water. These men knew that if people could drink at will, then their power would end. And so these Authorities sought to defeat the well digger. When the well digger died, they stopped up his well and resumed their authority.
In spite of the Authorities, however, water continued to seep from the well digger’s well. Eventually, other mighty well diggers arose. The Authorities killed some of these. They stopped up the wells of others. But with each new well, the Authorities grew weaker. Soon many wells dotted the plain. People were at last able to drink freely, to water their herds and flocks, and to grow their crops. The Authorities lapsed into oblivion, for water was free to all.
After these things, a new king began to reign. He hired the best well diggers to dig a deep well. “This well,” he proclaimed, “is the Authorized Well. Let all drink freely from it!”
Read more about The Well and the Water: An Allegory