After Dinner Conversation

Volume 1, Issue 6, December 2020

David Shultz
Pages 84-107

Rainbow People Of The Glittering Glade

How do you judge the value of others; does society have the right to judge and exclude community members they feel are not living up to their full potential and/or are not benefiting the community? How do you judge value? In this work of philosophical short fiction, the story is told from the perspective of emissary who is sent by the kingdom to find a community in the middle of a shifting sand desert that is rumored to violate the fundamental laws of slavery, human sacrifice, and to worship false gods. A member of his group is injured while looking for the community. As the get closer to the community they find life-like statues of people in the desert. Some statues are moving, and repeating the same task in a loop, as they get closer to the community. Upon arrival, they are aided by the people and learn that the community has a strange disease that causes them to start turning to stone after puberty. The only cure is to be judged worthy by the community to go before their crystal god, to consume one of the people that has been turned to stone, and thus receive the anecdote to the disease. The traveling party is deemed worthy, and given the chance to take part in the ritual and escape death. One member refuses on religious grounds, and willingly accepts the stone-ification process. The leader of the group “goes native” and opts to live in the community forever. The third member of the group returns the original kingdom with a letter from the leader explaining what has happened. This story, like all After Dinner Conversation stories, has suggested discussion questions at the end.