What I learned from Tammy Wurtherington about Freedom
I learned much from Tammy
Tammy Wurtherington wrote a diary in 1883 that was recently discovered and was prepared for publication by myself (Reynold Jay). In her writing the reader will discover that Tammy was little more than a "Little Doll Girl." She loved to create and play with her dolls. As she became drawn into the lives of others she takes it upon herself to help those around her to find a better life. As we travel along with her on her many adventures in history we discover that much of the conflict has to do with "Freedom."
On her initial journey to Kira she is called upon to save the harvest from being confiscated by the evil sorceresses. We can concluded that the food was to be redistributed by the sorceresses as they wished or perhaps sold to foreigners in order to boost the kingdom's treasury. The fear, as one would expect, was that the Kakuna elves would be left with little to nothing for their efforts.
Others can make of this what they will. I knew a bit about history and could not help in seeing a comparison to Stalin's "collectivism" of the farms in Russia in 1932. For those not familiar with that historical event, allow me to summarize. The harvest was sold to foreign governments and is is estimated that ten million citizens/farmers of the Ukraine died of starvation. I look at the events in the Ukraine now and can easily understand why the citizens there resist the current takeover of the country by the Russians. One can imagine the hatred of the older folks for the Russians. It could be argued, based upon that event, that Stalin was the most evil man in history.
In Tammy's diary we see that Tammy immediately understands that the harvest belonged to the Kakuna and that it was a cause worth fighting for. "Freedom" was never mentioned in her accounting of her battle with the evil sorceresses; however as she moved to the ensuing encounters later in the Diary, she finds herself battling for freedom over and over again.
She joins the rebels in the American Revolutionary War in her next encounter. She sees that the King of England plans to use the colonies as a land that contributes its wealth to the mother country. That wealth is valuable to the King of England and worth sending Hessians to keep the colonists in line in order to collect it. So again we see that food, and wealth are at the center of the struggle. If we were to define freedom it might be that an individual might be best left alone and allowed to keep the fruits of his labors. Herein lies the struggle: there are those who wish to take away as much as they can (tyranny) and then others who wish to keep as much as they can (freedom).
In her travels to Switzerland, Tammy encounters the tiny villages of the Alps knowing that the Hapsburgs of Austria are going to march an all-powerful army through the land and cause unimaginable devastation. She discovers that the Swiss had bought off the Austrians many years earlier and the arrangement was that the Hapsburgs would leave the Swiss alone. The Swiss had bought and paid for their "freedom" AKA freedom from taxes. Arrangements during the dark ages were quickly forgotten as kings passed on and their sons took the reigns of government.
Tammy Discovers she is a Freedom Fighter
When Tammy meets William Tell, he correctly sums it up, "The Hapsburgs make up the rules as they see fit. When the torch is passed from one Hapsburg to another, each one decides if they will honor the previous charters. In that they are persons of little conscience, they make decisions based upon their power to wield a blade. Me thinks if they determine that they can collect taxes without much resistance they will do exactly that."
It is at this point that Tammy fully realizes what she has become: a freedom fighter. I came to realize that even a child can understand that taxes and tyranny ( both begin with the "T") are closely intertwined. I imagine that I am much like Tammy now and may fully understand for the first time why taxes can be a way of chocking freedom. Like most of us reading this, we were born into our time and place where taxes are a way of life and very much accepted as being needed.
The Swiss leaders let their freedom slip away when they allowed the Hapsburgs to issue a tax in order to build a road. From there it escalated in to an intolerable situation where the populace were grabbed off the streets and turned into slaves in order to build the roads. Of course, the evil Gessler (a Hapsburg tyrant) moved into the village, built a castle from the tax money and insisted that the Swiss bow down to worship his hat. One must ask, "How much of this are we going to take before we rebel?"
At the conclusion of the Declaration of Independence we find that the words of Zeke and Cedric have nailed the crux of the struggles they witnessed--
Tammy writes in her Diary.... Cedric and Zeke continued to use the flowery language they acquired in Philadelphia which I found to be quite amusing. We sat on the bed. I asked, "What have you learned from all this?"
Zeke said, "Forsooth, Mistress Wurtherington, I wonder what would have happened if King George III had been a fairly decent chap?" He lifted his tea cup daintily and brushed a napkin tidily across his lips.
Cedric said, "'Tis truly inquired as a gentlemen of most astute wisdom. For it is a question that will span the centuries and many a wise person will naught find a proper reply. Pray, consider, my humble opinion, Sir Zeke and that would be that we would be a colony at this very moment. His tyrannical treatment of the colonists, would be much like stirring up a hornet's nest when it would be better to leave it be."
Zeke said, "We could sayeth that King George the III did us a favor; for one who is content is naught to do much of anything."
When one encounters such wisdom in the pen of a ten-year-old over one-hundred years ago, you might begin to understand why this humble person felt the diary must be brought to fruition.