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I’m about to paint a little picture. If you are busy as WB Yeats might have said - “Horseman pass by.” - (but do sneak a look back sometime, a useful moral)
 
In the good old boom days lots of people lazed happily in the long grass soaking up the never ending summer sun. There was plenty of fruit dropping easily from the low hanging trees.
 
Right beside the idyllic picnic place was a beautiful orchard. The wall was low and even though the sign said “Forbidden Fruit” it was easy enough to jump over if you really wanted to.
 
But, with long lazy sunshine, plenty to eat and not much to worry about, why bother popping over the low orchard wall? The funny thing is, most people in Picnic Land could never understand why the farmer worked so hard at tending his crops even when the supply was plentiful, but he did and he was clearly a very proud, diligent and hard working man. It never occurred to him that the people he happily chatted with would one day ignore his boundaries and borders.
 
The evening news sent shock waves. The economy was creaking, groaning and spluttering to a grinding halt. Some would panic, others would stay calm, the good would quickly rise and - Oh Dear - the bad would become very obvious very quickly.
 
Back in Picnic Land the clouds were gathering and storms were brewing. Some were starting to panic and the farmer kept working quietly.
 
The happy lazy days were fast fading. Even the fruit on the low hanging trees started to wither but for some strange reason, the orchard fruit looked good. As time went by it looked very appealing and tempting. Some got so deluded they even began to think it was theirs.
 
As they packed up their picnics many realized just how unfit they had become, fat even. They had lazed too long and they had never questioned where the fruit was coming from or, for that matter who owned it.
 
As the thunder rolled a voice, often a leader of sorts in the good old days of Picnic Land, was overheard;
 
“I’m not bothered about this recession isn’t there plenty of fruit in that orchard?”
 
A young girl with integrity was stunned and quickly replied;
“But you can’t go in there; it says ‘forbidden fruit’. What’s more, it just would not be right.”
 
Leader of Sorts grew weary;
“Perhaps, but in a recession, it’s everyone for himself.”
 
Young girl looked perplexed;
“But don’t you think that is wrong?”
 
Leader of Sorts replied;
“Ah not at all, isn’t the wall really low anyway? If they had really wanted us to stay out wouldn’t they have built a big high wall in the first place?”
 
Young girl thought deeply and with sad eyes said;
“But the farmer trusted you, he laughed with you and he even brought you his fruit as a gift. He never ever saw the day when he would have to build a big wall to prevent you stealing.”
 
Leader of Sorts was growing tired;
“Listen, it’s like this, you must always do what is right for yourself in a storm. No matter what. It’s the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest”
 
Young girl reflected and realized they saw ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ very differently (she certainly saw Leader of Sorts in a new light). She decided it was better to say no more but she sure had learnt one big lesson. It is this;
 
When people are tested, when money is the real motive and when times are tough, it will be quick, easy and memorable to see who really has integrity and who got through the good old days with a liberal helping of superficial charm. One thing is for sure, you will certainly find out who to rely on in the future…..and where you will need extra high walls!