Outcomes Offered

■ Conflict resolution

■ Willingness to communicate

■ Mutual sharing of resources

■ Working with others cooperatively

Once upon a time there were two countries that shared the same border. One country, ruled by a queen, was covered with rocks and stones. The other, ruled by a king, didn't have any.

That would have been okay, except that the queen looked over the border and wanted what the king had. "With clear land," she said, "we could grow crops and feed my people."

Now, the king was also looking across the border and wanted what the queen had. "With rocks," he said, "we could build houses, schools, and hospitals."

The queen said to her people, "We need to clear our land if we are going to eat. Throw all the stones over the border."

The people of the stoneless country went to their king and complained. "The people in the queen's country are throwing stones at us," they said.

"Don't we want stones to build houses, schools, and hospitals?" asked the king. "Let's declare war. The queen's people are poor and have no other weapons apart from their stones. If they keep throwing stones, we will have all the material we need to construct our buildings." So the war continued until the stoneless land was full of stones and the stony land was stoneless.

Both the king's and the queen's subjects were happy for a while. The queen's people grew crops on the clear land. The king's people built homes, schools, and hospitals . . . for a while.

Soon the queen became aware they had plenty of food but no stones to build new homes, schools, and hospitals. They had no stones to repair their old buildings.

On the other side of the border, the king's people now had lots of buildings but food was short and they were getting hungry.

"We need a war to get our stones back," said the queen, so another war was declared. Once more the stones were hurled across the border. The king's and queen's people kept fighting, wanting what the others had, but no one was happy.

Now, one year, a wandering court jester happened to stop and sit on a hill near the border. Seeing what was happening, he burst out laughing. "This is ridiculous," he said to himself and asked to meet with the king and queen, together.

When they sat down face to face, they weren't very friendly at first. "This is all your fault," said the king. "You started this by throwing stones at us."

"No, it is your fault," answered the queen. "You declared war on us to get our stones."

"Hang on, hang on," said the jester. "It isn't going to fix your problem if you're angry or blaming each other. One of you has stones. One of you has crops. And you each want what the other has until you get it ... and then you don't. How can we work it out so you don't go on fighting?"

The jester saw both the king and queen were thinking about his question. The king spoke first. "The stones are yours," he said to the queen. "The pastures are ours. Yet the jester is right. We both want what the other has. Maybe we could share. How would it be if we grew food for you and swapped it for the stones that we need. Maybe my people could teach some of your people how to farm and your people could teach us what they know about building. That way we could work together and not fight any more."

The queen agreed and the jester laughed happily. After the two countries began sharing what they had and were living together peacefully, the jester would often sit on his hill, watching the people come and go across the border, sharing food and stones.

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