Martin Auer: The Strange War, Stories for Peace Education

   
 

The Great War on Mars

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Translated by Kim Martin Metzger

Reviewed by Martin Auer

The Dreamer
The Blue Boy
Planet of the Carrots
Fear
Fear Again
The Strange People from Planet Hortus
When the Soldiers Came
Two Fighters
Man Against Man
The Great War on Mars
The Sun and the Moon
The Slave
The Farmers who Were Good at Numbers
The Strange War
Arobanai
Star Snake
Traffic Jam
At Your Own Doorstep
The Two Prisoners
Justice
The Bewitched Islands
Money
In the War
The Story of a Good King
Report to the United Solar Systems' Council
Open Words
The Bomb
Foreword
Author's comments
Download (All stories in one printer friendly file)
Guestbook
About the Translator
About the Author
Mail for Martin Auer
Licence
Creative Commons licence agreement

The Great War on Mars had come to an end.

Weary and sad of heart, the pink Gnuffs trudged home. "No more wars. Never again!" they moaned. They had lost the war.



Weary and sad, the purple Moffers also trudged home. "No more wars. Never again!" they groaned, even though they had won the war.

But on the battlefield lay almost as many dead Moffers as dead Gnuffs, and a terrible amount of green blood had been shed. The Supreme President of the Gnuffs and the High King of the Moffers met at the river that made up the border between their countries and agreed to a treaty.
"Never again shall there be a war between the Gnuffs and the Moffers," they promised each other. And in both countries the people held huge peace celebrations.

"Let’s send our general into retirement!" the Gnuffs cried at their celebration.



"Let’s give our field marshal the pink slip!" shouted the Moffers at their celebration.

"We’ll have the soldiers plant strawberries!" yelled the Gnuffs.



"We’ll give the soldiers sewing machines!" exclaimed the Moffers.

But the general of the Gnuffs said, "You can’t do that. If we no longer have a general or soldiers, then the Moffers will immediately fall upon us. We must have a strong, alert army so that there will never be another war!"



And the field marshal of the Moffers said, "You can’t do that. When the Gnuffs see that we no longer have an army, surely they’ll immediately take revenge for the lost war. So we need soldiers and a field marshal."

"Oh well, I guess you’re right," the Gnuffs grumbled.



"I suppose he must be right," muttered the Moffers.

And then everybody went home and back to work, the Gnuffs to their towers and the Moffers to their caves.

And the Gnuff general said to himself, "I don’t want another war again, but if I don’t show them that I’m an able general, they’ll send me into retirement." And he said to the Supreme President, "Our army is in need of more swords, so we won’t be attacked anymore. Please demand higher taxes, so that we can buy more swords from the blacksmiths." And the Supreme President did just that. And the blacksmiths said to themselves, "We don’t want another war, but if we sell lots of swords, we can afford the expensive schools for our children." And the blacksmith journeymen said to themselves, "We don’t want another war, but if we say we don’t want to make swords, our bosses will throw us out, and then our children will have nothing to eat."



And the field marshal of the Moffers said to himself, "I want peace, but if I don’t show them that I’m a capable field marshal, they might sack me." And he said to the Head King of the Moffers, "I heard the Gnuffs are buying swords for their army. Please raise the taxes, so that we can attract more soldiers to the army." And the Head King raised the taxes and more soldiers joined the army. And the Moffer farmers said to themselves, "We want peace, but if we don’t sell potatoes to the army, we won’t be able to pay the new taxes." And the tailors said, "We want peace. But the more soldiers there are in the army, the more uniforms we can sell." And the spear makers said, "We want peace, but the more soldiers there are, the more spears we can sell."

And then it happened that an inventor among the Gnuffs discovered a poison, a terribly strong poison. But to the Gnuffs it was harmless; it was only deadly to Moffers. "I don’t want to do anything bad to anybody," said the inventor to himself, "but if I keep my inventions to myself, I won’t be able to pay the milk lady." And in a book, he wrote how to produce the poison.



And then it happened that a Moffer professor discovered how to build a bomb that could destroy everything above ground but was harmless to Moffers because they lived in caves. "I wish no one harm," said the professor to himself, "but I have to make my discovery known, or else the people will think that I don’t know anything about my science." And he wrote a book explaining how to build the bomb. When the Moffer field marshal heard about it, he said to the Head King, "We really have to build this bomb because I heard that the Gnuffs have a terrible poison that they can use against us."

And the Gnuff general said to the Supreme President, "We really have to produce this poison because I heard that the Moffers have a dangerous bomb that they can use against us."


And so the poison was mixed...



...and the bomb was built.

And the Gnuffs built a huge spray gun that could spray the poison on the Moffers.



And the Gnuffs built a huge balloon that could carry the bomb to the Moffers.

Then the Supreme President of the Gnuffs said in a speech, "Now there can never again be a war because we want peace, and the Moffers will never dare attack us because we have the terrible poison."



And the Head King of the Moffers said in a speech, "Now there will always be peace because we don’t want war, and the Gnuffs will never dare attack us because we have the terrible bomb."



One day the Gnuff blacksmiths said, "We don’t have enough iron anymore for all the swords and plows and scythes and wagons that we could build. We’ve got to go to Iron Island and get iron!"



And the Moffer blacksmiths said, "We need more iron for our spears and wagons and plows and scythes. We have to go get iron from Iron Island!"

So the Gnuffs sent a ship to Iron Island...



...and the Moffers sent a ship to Iron Island too.

When the ships came back, the sailors told everybody at home that the others had also taken iron from Iron Island.

"The Moffers are taking our iron!" a Gnuff newspaper announced.



"The Gnuffs want all the iron for themselves!" announced a Moffer newspaper.

This was rather an exaggeration, but everybody knows that papers with exciting news sell better than those which say that everything is not so bad and one should maybe first have a look if maybe there wasn't enough iron for everyone. And newspaper people want to make a living just like everybody else.

And the Moffers once again became frightened of the Gnuffs...



...and the Gnuffs became frightened of the Moffers.

"We have to have Iron Island for ourselves," said some of the Gnuffs, "or there can be no peace."



"Iron Island must belong to us," said some of the Moffers, "or there’ll be another war!"

"If we don’t have iron for plows, we’ll have nothing to eat," said some of the Gnuffs, "and then our terrible poison won’t help us either!"



"If we don’t have any iron, we’ll starve," said some of the Moffers, "and then our huge bomb won’t do us any good either."

And the Gnuffs sent a warship to Iron Island...



...and the Moffers sent a warship to Iron Island.

And when the battle came to a draw...

...the Gnuffs sent another warship...



...and the Moffers sent another warship.

"We can’t allow them to build any warships!" said the Gnuff general and with his troops he attacked the Moffer’s shipyard.



"We have to prevent them from building ships," said the Moffer field marshal, and with his troops he attacked the Gnuff’s shipyard.

"They have attacked us!" yelled the Gnuffs.



"They have struck us!" yelled the Moffers.

"We wanted peace," said the Gnuff general, "but now it’s too late. We have to spray them with our poison before they drop the bomb on us!"



"We didn’t want war!" said the Moffer field marshal, "but now it’s too late. We have to drop the bomb on them before they spray us with poison."

And the spray gun was filled...



...and the big balloon was launched.

"Now their number’s up!" said the Gnuffs.



"Now their number’s up!" said the Moffers.

"And ours is too!" said the Gnuffs when they saw the balloon slowly rising.



"And ours is too!" said the Moffers when they saw the giant spray gun appear on the horizon.

"Maybe I shouldn’t have invented the poison after all!" said the inventor.



"Maybe I shouldn’t have invented the bomb after all!" said the professor.

"Maybe we shouldn’t have made any swords!" said the blacksmiths.



"Maybe we shouldn’t have made any spears!" said the spear makers.

"Maybe we shouldn’t have sewn any uniforms!" said the tailors.



"Maybe we shouldn’t have delivered any potatoes," said the farmers.

"Maybe we shouldn't have exaggerated so much" said the newspaper people.



"Maybe we should have stuck to the truth more" said the people who wrote the magazines.

"Maybe we shouldn’t have become soldiers," said the soldiers.

"Maybe we should have sent our general into retirement!" said the Gnuffs.



"Maybe we should have given our field marshal the pink slip!" said the Moffers.

...

And then a Gnuff said to his friends, "We can’t save ourselves anymore. But the Moffers – they weren’t any more stupid or mean than we were." And they climbed up onto the spray gun and knocked it over, just at the moment before it started spraying.



And a few Moffers said to each other, "Now we’re going to die because of our stupidity. But the Gnuffs at least ought to know that there were a few decent Moffers." And they grabbed hold of the ropes and climbed up to the balloon and exploded the bomb before it got to the Gnuffs.

"Moffers saved us!" the Gnuffs said, astonished when they saw that the bomb had not hurt them.



"Gnuffs gave their lives for us!" the Moffers whispered, completely amazed, when they noticed that the poison hadn’t hit them.

And then they all let their swords and spears drop to the ground, sat down on the ground and moaned, "Whew! That was a close call!" And because they were so relieved, many of them started crying.
Then they sent the general and the marshal into retirement, the Supreme President and the Head King too, and they said, "This time we’ve got to be smarter!"

   
 

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