A certain village grew temporarily prosperous after eating a great amount of deer meat which they took too quickly from a nearby forest.
As the town grew, fewer deer remained in the forest. The town's dumpsters regularly overflowed, eventually attracting starving bears.
As one of the town's sanitary workers was taking out the trash, a bear mauled him.
Enraged, a mob of townspeople killed the bear. The mob set fire to the woods where they believed the dangerous bear lived. The fire quickly spread throughout the forest, driving even more starving bears into town.
As if waiting for the perfect moment, a bright and shiny circus rolled into the village with marching bands, dancing girls, clowns, balloons, banners, casino games and other distractions.
The ringmaster had painted big red letters on all the circus wagons, which the people read as the circus rolled through the streets:
"All townspeople are good and all bears are bad!"
"Bears are the worst!"
"All bears are terrible!"
"All problems are caused by bears!"
"Something must be done about bears!"
Enthralled by the circus's big performance, the crowd cheered as the ringmaster tossed what appeared to be gold nuggets.
The ringmaster pranced out in front of the crowd with a starving mother bear and her starving, almost dead, cubs he'd easily caught.
To loud applause, the ringmaster cut the throats of the chained cubs and began poking the mother bear behind the cage in the eye with a big sharp stick. The audience cheered even more:
"The tough ringmaster's taking revenge on the terrible bears! Poke the bear's eyes even harder!"
The mob cheered louder and louder. The vain ringmaster kept prancing around in front of the crowd, waving the sharp stick and poking the bear in the eye over and over and over and over and over, laughing and vainly bragging about his own great wisdom and glory as he did so.
"I'm a genius!" the ringmaster said. "Smarter than everyone! Smarter than God!"
"See! I told you so!" the ringmaster said triumphantly. "See with your own eyes total proof! See how dangerous! See how totally evil bears are! All the evil in all of existence is totally in the terrible bears!"
The ringmaster sharpened his stick.
"Of course, everyone knows it can only ever possibly be just bears and bears alone and no one else in this whole village who are capable of hurting your children!"
About this time, the ringmaster had his people pass around a money basket among the audience who were growing increasingly poor after they'd burned down their nearby forest.
Desperately hungry for more distraction than ever, the townspeople clamored to throw money in the basket. They also bought expensive tickets to next great circus show, which they purchased by taking on massive debt.
"This stick we have is pretty big, but we'll need an even LARGER and LONGER and SHARPER stick to create the perfect world, without bears!" the ringmaster proclaimed.
"We need MORE MONEY and MORE UNQUESTIONING ABSOLUTE LOYALTY AND PERSONAL DEVOTION TO THE CHARISMATIC RINGMASTER who will lead you triumphantly to the next forest by your neighboring village to kill every single one of these terrible bears before those demons come over here! Empty out your pockets! And I promise we'll totally take care of all the bears surrounding the nearby town for you!"
The people handed over what was left of their money, attention, time and energy. The ringmaster then passed around jugs of wine and torches, and started a chant:
"Kill all bears! Kill all bears! Kill all bears!"
The townspeople got drunk on the ringmaster's wine and kept chanting the slogan.
"Follow me to heaven with your torches!"
The ringmaster led the mob out of the big circus tent to the next town where there was another forest that the self-disciplined folks of the neighboring town had preserved.
When the villagers got to the next town, instead of going after bears, the drunken mob began setting their neighbors' homes on fire as they slept, killing not only the adults but also roasting their neighbors' children alive.
"Who cares?" the mob said.
"These neighbors are totally different than us! They saved their forest just to be close to bears, so these neighbors must be totally evil too! They're probably feeding bears! They must be in league with the devilish bears! We'll be perfectly safe if we just kill them all and let God sort them out, since God is obviously on our side!"
During the mayhem, nobody noticed the ringmaster quietly slip away behind the shadows of the flames in the night.
After spending all night burning down their neighbor's town and helping themselves to the deer out of their neighbors' forest, the hungover townspeople eventually stumbled back to their own deforested town at dawn.
All children in the village were gone.
The ringmaster and his great circus were nowhere to be found.
Not wanting to face the horror of who they truly are in the mirror or admit their terrible failure they had traded away their own children to the ringmaster who had not provided them with "safety" or "life," as promised, but had sold them into slavery, the townspeople reasoned:
"Our great ringmaster has just gone off to find the bigger stick he promised would bring us never-ending glory, wealth and perfect safety!
God bless our ringmaster!
And damn those terrible bears possessed by demons, who magically built a powerful machine that knew which key to totally rule our hearts, then opened our locked doorknobs with their paws!"