The Sacrifice

During the Iron Age, in the village of Tollund Fen there was a young man named Ben. Ben had been treated like a God since his conception. The reason for this was a prophecy foretold by the wise elders; the prophecy foretold that when Ben reached the age of eighteen years, he was destined to be called upon by the Gods, in which case he would fly to the heavens and become a God himself. Ben was allowed to do anything he wanted. He did not work the land, cook or clean, as all of these things were thought to be beneath him. All the other villagers gladly waited on him hand and foot, attending to his every need.

A week before Ben’s eighteenth birthday there was a big feast, using all of the villager’s food supplies (in the belief that Ben would replenish the villager’s stocks when he became a God). The feast lasted 6 days and 6 nights, with everyone overindulging themselves in celebration and jubilation of the upcoming fulfilment of the great prophecy.

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On the day of Ben’s eighteenth birthday, there was a large ceremony in which prayers were chanted, hymns were sung and a finale of cheers cried out aloud by all of the villagers. This was done to greet the Gods and let them know that Ben was ready to sacrifice his life on Earth, so that they could take Ben on his journey into the Kingdom of Heaven where he would fulfil the prophecy.

All the villagers had collected everything of value (jewels, statues, etc.) from their homes, and placed them around Ben and the tree that he was perched upon, so that he could take them up to heaven with him on his journey.

Ben formed a noose and secured the other end around a thick branch. He then placed the noose around his own neck. Before jumping off the branch that he was perched upon, Ben shouted, “You are to witness a miracle here today, now that I am detached from the earth I can fly to my new home, the Kingdom of Heaven!”

He jumped and waved his arms like a headless chicken waves its wings when its throat is cut. The villagers cheered, believing that he was in flight, but then he plummeted down towards the ground, until the noose, which was no longer slack, tightened around his throat. The crowd gasped and screamed, some begun praying that he would fly. A few moments passed, then the crowd heard the sound of Ben’s bowels being emptied (the natural reaction of mammals when they are hung by the neck).

As Ben’s corpse hung motionless, the crowd stood silently, shocked by the sight and disbelief. Eventually, the crowd turned as one, looking at the elders with angry expressions upon their faces, for they had realised that their whole way of life had been governed by a religion that had been based upon lies and deceit. A young man was the first to pick up a stone and throw it at the elders in anger, the rest of the villagers followed suit soon after. As the number of stones thrown increased, so did the size of the stones, until it was only rocks being thrown. This continued even after the elders had drawn their last breaths.

The villagers then walked back to the tree to cut Ben’s body down from the noose. They buried his body as a sign of respect, for Ben had unknowingly given his life for no reason, other than a false prophecy.

Having buried Ben and paid their respects, the villagers retrieved their valuables and were forced to become a nomadic tribe, as they had used all of food during the celebration.

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