This village was different from many others because it was free. All the villagers were free to create their own businesses, to build their own houses, to go to their own churches, and free to argue with each other about their differences without fear of being at odds with a tyrant who would punish them for deviating from his decrees. Because of this, the villagers where very proud of their village, and above all else prized their individual rights. “Rights” was a word with an almost religious significance for most people in the village, as many of them had come from other villages where no one had rights, and some had grandparents who had been enslaved by other villagers before rights were made available to all.
The weavers noticed the uniqueness of the free village right away, and as they were exceptionally smart, realized that with all the buying and selling and arguing and debating that goes on in such a place, they would do well to offer their services as marketing consultants. And so they applied for a license and set up an office in the center of the village under an attractive sign that read "Weavers Marketing Inc."
From the beginning the weavers' business was steady. Many villagers who created good products and helpful services needed help in finding the best names and slogans that would make more people aware of what they had to offer. But there were also villagers whose only goal was to get rich, and so tried to sell inferior goods at superior prices. These were the ones most in need of the weavers’ services, and here is where the weavers' marketing brilliance was most evident.
There was a baker who sold tasteless lumps of flattened bread because he was too stingy to buy yeast. “Just call it ‘pure’ bread,” one weaver told him. “Yes,” said the other. “Make it clear that your keen health consciousness prevents you from using any ‘additives.’ Your slogan should be, 'The natural way. Bread as it should be.’ ” The baker’s profits tripled in a week.
There was also a carpenter who was too lazy to build sturdy furniture, so his chairs could support no one larger than a small child. “Just bill your craftsmanship as 'the fine china of furniture.’ ” One weaver told him. “Yes,” his partner added, “call it, ‘delicately elite.’ ” The carpenter was soon able to buy a large house on the outskirts of the village and retired early.
Such dealings in the office of Weavers Marketing Inc. went on for many years, and then one day three men called upon their talents for a very different purpose. “How can we help you?” They asked as the men entered the office. The new customers looked at each other with some hesitation. They were afraid their request might be met with disdain, but then one remembered that the weavers were known to be the least judgmental businessmen in the village, and one by one, they each explained what they wanted. “I want to marry my sister,” the first man said.
“I want to impregnate my grandmother,” said another. “She and I would like to start a new family." “I want to marry four women all at once,” said a third.
“Well,” asked one of the weavers, "what do you want from us?”
“We want…” replied one of the men as he paused to clear his throat, “We want you to make us legitimate. Most of the villagers are disgusted by our marriage pursuits, so that we’re looked down upon. No village church will host our wedding, and the village clerk won’t issue us a marriage license.”
“I’m sure this is difficult for you,” replied one of the weavers optimistically, “but at least this is a village where you’re free to argue with other villagers to convince them of your beliefs. Is that why you’ve come to us, to get the right words for the best arguments?"
“Not exactly,” replied the customer who wanted his sister for a bride. “To be honest, what we really have are desires, not arguments. We make arguments, but only to find a way to gratify our desires.”
“I see,” said one of the weavers. “It’s an urge more than an idea that drives you.”
“Well, yes. That’s one way of putting it,” replied the man who wanted four wives. “And ultimately, we don’t think argument will end in our favor. An emotional approach will be much more to our advantage than a rational one. What we really need is not an honest hearing, but sympathy. If somehow we can get the villagers to see us as victims instead of deviants, then their sympathy for us will eclipse their judgment about our behavior.”
“I see,” said one of the weavers pensively. They had never faced such a challenge. The two of them thought for several minutes as their clients waited hopefully, and then one rose from his seat in triumph.
“Rights!” He proclaimed. You’re not seeking to loosen the standards of behavior, or distort the concept of marriage, or to gratify your perverse desires. You only seek the rights enjoyed by all the other villagers, of which you’ve been so painfully deprived. You only want to be free as they are. Who in a free village as this one will be willing to deny another his rights?”
Their clients held strictly to the weavers’ advice, as they made teary-eyed pleas for their rights in every corner of the village. Soon they came to be known by all the villagers as “those who’d been denied their rights.” In a short time, villagers' views (and village laws) began to change. Stores in the village began to sell mother-aunt, and mother-great-grandmother, greeting cards. Honeymoon suites at village hotels began to include a number of separate chambers. And anyone suspected of questioning the rightness of these rights was banished from the village forever.