Extract from the diary of a farmer from the Kingdom of Harvest
For a while there had been neither many fruits and vegetables nor many different kinds of animals. Life had been filled with hunger and was duller without the joy of watching animals play in the meadows than any of us would have ever imagined. If the change hadn’t come, if we hadn’t been able to find new ways of plantation as well as new kinds of food, we would have all been weary of our lives in the frozen world much quicker.
As a farmer who spent most of her life surrounded by animals and working in the fields, I had been more than overwhelmed by the new circumstances I had found myself in after the world had turned to ice. I had barely survived the event people were now starting to call the Apocalypse, while my family – my parents and my sisters – had all died in their homes. At least I supposed they had, seeing that not one of their houses was left standing and nobody could step on the lands which had once been theirs. Instead of beautiful fields with blooming plants and meadows filled with cows and sheep, there were only ice and snow and some things which looked a lot like icicles coming from the ground. Nature wasn’t itself anymore and it had destroyed my former life and my family.
Although I had felt miserable at first and hadn’t thought I could survive another day without my family and without my fields and animals – which had been destroyed and killed in the events as well – I lived. I lived from one day to the next, trying very hard not to give up, not to lose hope. One day, I kept repeating to myself every day, almost like some kind of mantra, somebody will find a way to grow our food and breed animals again. One day somebody will make everything alright again. I went to bed, my stomach rumbling, and got up again the next morning, as hungry as the night before. The days I spent mainly rebuilding some kind of home for myself and helping new neighbours to do so as well. There were many areas of the world which had been lost to us human beings and, although most of the people in those areas had died, some survivors needed new places to live. Our world was smaller than before, smaller and colder and a lot crueler. But we lived.
As the days went by and I rebuild my little hut mostly out of ice, all of humanity began to fully grasp what the change would mean for us and the following generations. Where many different Kingdoms had been once, now only four small ones remained. Each one of the Kingdoms soon found its destiny and the part it would have to play in the new world.
I was one of those nature loving people who lived in the East, where at least some animals and plantations had been left mostly untouched by the events. For us it grew more and more obvious what we had to do in order to keep everybody alive. After days of hunger and despair had gone by, when we were so close to giving up, some of us decided that there had to be another way. A group of people from all over the easternmost Kingdom sat together for a week and a half to make a plan concerning the survival of humanity. From what I heard, similar meetings were held in the three other Kingdoms as well. Those people sat and talked and never once stopped thinking about what life could and should be like.
Until they finally had an idea.
Since most of the animals of the world were left to live in our Kingdom, we would have to focus on breeding them. We all would have to take care of them, make sure they were happy and fed. And we all would have to get as many products from them as we could. The cows needed to be milked and their milk, on the other hand, would need to either be conserved or processed into cheese and other things. The sheep needed to be kept inside so we could sheer them and make clothing out of their wool. And, as sadly as it always was, some of the animals would have to be slaughtered in order for all four Kingdoms to have at least some meat. The plantations which were still more or less intact needed to be studied by experienced farmers, so we could figure out how some fruits and vegetables were still growing in the harsh climate. They needed to be studied and we needed to find new ways of growing food. This, the group of people was sure, would only work if we got help from the most intelligent people of the four Kingdoms.
Luckily, the little group which had held a meeting in the northernmost Kingdom had come to the same conclusion.
After weeks of breeding, studying and searching for new foods, the world finally fell into some kind of normality. Everybody knew what he or she had to do. Everybody had a task essential for survival. And everybody was eager to do whatever he or she possibly could to make life a little less dull and desperate. All over the four Kingdoms people could be seen working and living again – no matter what their Kingdoms interests were. I myself found that working was the best way to get over the sadness and the losses left behind by the Apocalypse. Nothing else was as important or fulfilling anymore. There were only me and my new animals trying to save all of humanity. And I loved that.
As every human and every animal and every other living being grew more and more accustomed to the climate and the harsh conditions, life started to change for the better and new things and creatures could be seen everywhere.
The new generations of animals born into the world after the Apocalypse had thicker fur and were tougher than those which had been born into the old world. Their anatomies changed and they started to look different. If we hadn’t known it any better, we could have never said what kind of animals they were. Yet, although they were cows and sheep and other kinds of animals we had known for all our lives, we decided to rename them. The changes weren’t too extraordinary – we simply called them ice sheep and ice cows and ice chickens – but in some ways they marked the new life, the new era which might have started with many difficulties but had soon turned into a time of achievements.
And those animals weren’t the only ones we could find in our little Kingdom after a while.
New kinds evolved over the years and started to populate the meadows and the barns of every farmer there was. They had new abilities and new characteristics which proofed not only to be vital for their own survival but also for that of those animals which had been known before. All of them were funny-looking creatures and yet not one of us ever laughed about them, knowing that without them many things would have been different.
After working together with the North for a while, we also discovered new kinds of fruits and vegetables. They didn’t seem to mind the climate and the frozen ground in the slightest of ways. They were nourishing and delicious and soon helped to keep the whole world fed and happy. Nobody needed to go hungry for days anymore. Nobody had to suffer the pain of an empty, longing stomach anymore.
Every human being was fed and happy and alive.
I had been sad and desperate in the beginning, right after the event now known as the Apocalypse. My family had been killed and my lands had been destroyed. There had been nothing left that I had been able to live for. And yet I had never stopped to have at least some hope for the future. In the end, that little hope had saved my life. Because of it I had kept going and had lived from one day to the next. Now that the world had gone back to normality and life was somehow good again, I didn’t only live from one day to the next because of my little hope. I lived because I wanted to live and because I had something to live for again. So, thinking about my family in a rather happy way, I got up every day and went to work, falling into my bed at night, exhausted but satisfied and grateful for everything that humanity had achieved.