Divide Your Differences to Combine Your Resources

Once upon a time there were two communities of rabbits. They had lived near each other for a few generations, and they had a truce that had not been broken for several years. A truce because they had a long history of fighting behind. They lived on two separate sides of a small river. The river was large enough that it supplied both of them with water that they needed to live, but not big enough to keep them for crossing when the level was low.

On the east side of the river, there was an abundance of blueberries. Both rabbits loved blueberries. One the west side of the river was a huge crop of naturally growing lettuce. Rabbits love lettuce. Before the truce, each side would war agains the other side to try and take all they could before crossing back safely into their own territory. Every time this happened, there were many deaths. Finally they agreed that they would only send a team of six rabbits across, at the same time, but only when the river was low enough to cross, and only for a total of four hours. And most importantly, only at the same time.

Every time the river receded, two teams would gather one each side. One team, containing the six rabbits that would go and collect the food, and another, much larger team that would observe the “visiting” group to ensure they didn’t take more than they were allowed. After the allotted four hours, they would meet and ensure that each team had taken an equal share. They both agreed that this was the best method, but deep down they would love nothing more to destroy the other side’s community completely, and take all the resources for themselves.

Then one day, as they were gathered along the shores of the lowered river, preparing for their respective incursions, there was a huge, and long earthquake. The ground shook for what seemed like hours, and the distant mountains trembled, causing huge boulders to tumble down the mountainside. When the earthquake was over, they were shocked to see the river had completely change course. Not only had it completely changed course, it was nowhere to be seen. Both teams of rabbits immediately squared off, unsure of what to do. They were both terrified and excited at the same time. Each side saw this as a clear opportunity to demolish the other side once and for all, and take all the resources for themselves.

Finally, cooler heads prevailed, as they realized they had a much more pressing and potentially devastating problem. There was no water. Without any water they would surely die. They decided to form a survey team, a team that would go out in search of water. The two teams went back to their respective councils to choose team members. They smartest from each tribe were selected, and they met at the site of the old river. They agreed to share whatever they found, the threat of their mutual extinction overshadowing any hatred that they used to have.

The team set off. They searched for days, until they made a startling discovery. The river had split in two, about four miles upstream. The river had forked, running down the valley, encompassing an area containing both rabbit tribes.
At first the two tribes were perplexed. How would they manage? They survey team continued to search all the area between two rivers, which now contained both rabbit tribes, instead of separating them. They determined that not only was there an abundance of lettuce and blueberries, but there were various patches scattered all through their new mutual home. The two councils decided to merge into one, much larger council, and the rabbits quickly found that by combining their efforts, they could easily build a better community. After a time, they began to celebrate the day of the earthquake, as a time that split not only the river, but also their differences, and joined the two tribes into a powerful and abundant community.