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Folklore of the Founding of Gustavia
As recounted by Edwin Gore
Gustavia is known for it’s rich folklore. Perhaps no Gustavian folklore is richer than the lore of how the country began. This folklore doesn’t match official records, but many Gustavians believe that it is the actual true origin.
The nation of Gustavia was founded in the late 1700’s in the region between the borders of Kazakhstan and Ukraine. It was to this area that disenfranchised members of the Hapsburg dynasty – outcasts deemed genetic monsters and unfit for rule – had fled. Their palettes uncleft and their blood fully coagulant, they had tucked their barely noticeable vestigial tails between their legs and set their eyes, which were neither crossed nor walled, to the east.
Making their way out of Austria they traveled to the the lands around Khadjibey, on coast of the Black Sea, finding no place that would take them. After many months of hardship, living off of little more than the abundant supplies they carried with them and what could be pillaged by their men-at-arms from the poor villages they passed through, they left Khadjibey to the east, entering what the ignorant peasants referred to, in whispers, as the lost lands.
Though they had been settled many times of the course of history, these “lost lands” never remained long in the grip of men, for the region was plagued by bears. The forests teemed with black and brown bears, while the frigid north and the highlands swarmed with saber-toothed bears unlike any seen outside the region.
In a cycle that would repeat itself throughout the generations men would settle the land during the winter months, while the bears slept, safe in their caves. When spring came the bears would sweep across the land, ravaging the settlements, and devouring every living creature, then doze off as winter arrived. After a month or so, not having heard from their cousins, new settlers would come and the cycle would begin again. Finally, after many, many lives were lost some brave, quasi-literate soul survived long enough to leave a note – ”Bear! Bear! Argh! They eets me!”, which was found the following winter.
After that men avoided the region, and while they spoke of them in whispers, none of these whispers were directed at lost Hapsburgs, for those who met them thought that being “eets” by a bear might go a long way to improve their attitude, and make up for some the pillaging.
So, in the early winter, they set off to the east, following the Don River. While the climate was inhospitable, the land itself seemed to welcome them. The region was dotted with empty settlements, ready for them to settle into, most them the already supplied with abundant fire wood, and decorated with interesting abstract interior and exterior paint jobs in dark red and muddy browns, which the group took to be a quaint local custom.
Baffled at the lack of inhabitants, the former Hapsburgs moved in, and for several months life was good. Throughout the winter they burned the stores of wood they found, supplementing this with pieces of the elaborate carriages that had carried them into this new land. They feasted on their remaining supplies, though towards the end of the winter they found themselves having to butcher and eat the Lipizzan stallions that had survived the journey East.
When spring finally arrived, and the snows began to melt, the peasants, who remained alive and uneaten only through their quick wits and determination, went out into the fallow fields and began to sow seeds in preparation for the the seasons of growth to come.
It was then that tragedy struck, as the bears awoke and began to sweep across the land, devouring, as was their custom, everything in their path. However, unlike the simple folk that had tried to settle this land before them, these former Hapsburgs had centuries of culture and political sophistication on their side. After offering several peasants to the bears to satiate their hungers, the Hapsburgs began to treat with the bears, forging an alliance from the bonds they knew best, by inter-marrying. Soon the bonds of blood between the Hapsburgs and the bears were strong. Within a few years the bears, as a distinct species, had dwindled in numbers to almost nothing, their fierce ursine bloodline co-mingled with that of the wily Hapsburgs . Those few true-blooded bears that remained retreated to the wild, clinging fiercely to their native customs.
For several decades things continued in this fashion, a new nation taking shape in these lost lands, where the peasants toiled day and night to provide sustenance for the Man/Bear ruling class.
Such a system was, of course unsustainable.
As has happened throughout history, the man-animal-hybrid ruling class was oppressive, and the peasants did not enjoy the fruits of their labor, instead seeing it all devoured by the ravenous maws of the elites, only the scraps falling onto their own plates.
So it was that in 1832 Gustav Antonivich, a peasant farmer, began to foment dissent. His radical political and economic theory – that those who grew the food should get to eat most, if maybe not all of it – turned the society on it’s head. Within a year the ruling class, who were essentially unable to do anything for themselves, were overthrown in a bloody revolution, and a system put in place whereby the peasants worked the land and kept what they grew for themselves, rather than giving it to someone else just because that person’s grandfather had sex with a bear.
In his honor this new nation was named Gustavia; the first worker’s paradise. While the winter’s remained cold, the land was fertile and the Spring, Summer and Fall provided for the citizen’s of Gustavia. The wild bears, no longer feeling that their native way of live was threatened, made peace with the workers, and ate no more of them than was absolutely necessary to survive. The thankful worker’s of Gustavia have acknowledged their sacrifice by making them the nation’s symbol of strength and independence.
Gustav, however, was not satisfied. Gustavia provided for the people’s needs today, but he saw a new world coming, a world in which the farming of beets and other root vegetables would not be enough to allow his nation to remain secure. The future would require industry, and factories, things that Gustavia did not have. Not having the resources or the knowledge to develop these things, he initiated the first of his five year plans. Unable to build factories, Gustavia would create factory workers, on the assumption that this would lead, inevitably, to factories in the future. Barns throughout the country were converted to “Factory Worker Education Centers” where former farmers would toil day and night taking rocks, logs and other raw materials and pounding them with beets until the workers fully understood the industrial process. These processed rocks and other debris were then exported to other, less fortunate countries, usually at a loss to Gustavia
It’s rumored that in 1855 a young Karl Marx toured Gustavia’s FWECs, marveling at the industry of the Gustavians and the quality of the factory process. Decades later a young Lenin, traveling through Gustavia as he fled Russia for France, supported himself for a summer as a line inspector in one of Gustavia’s FWECs, where he was inspired by the success of the now ancient worker’s revolt and later attempted to duplicate this system of top-down planned economy in his own later Russian revolution.
In fact, it was this Russian revolution that laid the groundwork for the greatest victory of Gustavia. In 1945, after the defeat of Germany, the Soviet Union, longtime political and economic allies of the Gustavians asked the Gustavian Ruling Council of Factory Farmers to join their new political bloc and share in the wealth and prestige that would be the reward of all workers. The council, eager to finally have the resources to build actual factories, voted unanimously to join, and decided to change the name of the country to the Joyous Proletariat of the Alliance of Gustavia, partially to reflect their coming industrialization, but mostly because they liked the initials.
Since that day JPAG has been a central part of the Soviet Union. While the decisions may come from Moscow, the ideas come from JPAG, which, with over 150 years of experience, is the foremost Worker’s Nation in the world and the wellspring of ideas and culture for the Eastern Bloc. Whether it’s communal economic theory, political savvy, or root-vegetable cuisine, all eyes turn to Gustavia!