【明報專訊】Maybe it was laughing gas, maybe it was something else, no one knows; but for a brief period — peace. Respite from the vicious cycle of accusations, violence and hatred. The demigods were mightily pleased and looked forward to a nice break. Let's have a celebration, they decided. There hasn't been any peace on earth since humans appeared. Let's enjoy it while it lasts!
Suddenly, they noticed that Hope and Fear were absent. ''I hope they haven't gone down to stir up things,'' muttered Chaos. ''I'm looking forward to a well-earned vacation.''
''What are you saying? Of course not!'' cried the others. ''They're probably having a game of Go (圍棋). Let's go have a look.''
Indeed the two inseparable pals (死黨) were absorbed in their usual game, each trying to outmanoeuvre the other. Fear is usually the stronger player but somehow, Hope manages to turn things around even in the most dire situations.
''So, who's the winner,'' asked Chaos, impatient as usual. ''When you two left Earth, terror and despair took your place. There were quite a few casualties...''
''Yes, we're aware of that. However, we demigods never interfere with the work of demogorgons like terror and despair, which devour their victims alive. The lucky ones manage to overcome these demons and emerge stronger and wiser. A really ''terrible'' lesson, if you'll pardon the pun.''
''So how long have you two been at this game?'' asked the newbie.
''Since forever!'' replied the friends in unison. ''All young animals need to learn to fear the lurking dangers that can kill them in an instant. Fear is a stern and fair teacher who trains them to keep their wits about them (警醒) and stay safe.
''But isn't it rather gloomy to live with fear all day?'' asked the newbie.
''That's why we have Hope — to brighten their hearts and minds. Hope will never abandon anyone; but sometimes, much to our regret, some people abandon hope.'' Then they turned back to their never-ending game in earnest (認真).
■Something to discuss
There is a popular saying, ''The way to hell is paved with good intentions.'' Have you done any well-meaning actions which have backfired?