Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom called Kona, there lived a little cocoa bean. He spent his days with his brothers and sisters, basking in the warm sunshine, growing up in the family pod, and dreaming of the day when he would reach ripe maturity.
He knew what would happen then: That he should be pulled from his shrubbery, taken from his pod, separated from his family, and tossed haphazardly amongst all the beans, both good and bad, of the kingdom. He knew that after drying came roasting and processing, but he was a truly brave little bean, and he welcomed the promised transformation. He knew that through the roasting, he would become something more, something greater, and something eternal.
And so the days passed, each one much like the other, with sunshine and rain, and sometimes-strong winds. But that little bean had a purpose, and it showed. His enthusiasm was so contagious that every bean in his pod shared his vision. Soon all the other pods were asking, and catching the energy, and by harvest time, all the cocoa plants on the plantation were bursting with the grand hope.
Nor had it done any harm that the manure came from particularly happy livestock. You see, they’d been so contentedly living for their greater reward, that the farmer and his family were well-nourished and taking time to study music and the arts. They sang while they worked, and the animals were so inspired by the cycle of fifths, and the barns were built on Phidias’ Golden Proportion, but that’s another story.
Meanwhile, the kingdom cocoa dealer saw enormous visions of dancing dollar signs at the Happy Bean Plantation. He bought up the entire crop, got the farmer’s son a seat in the Big City Symphony and proposed to the farmer’s daughter right there on the spot. The little bean was so happy that he gave his life to bring contentment to so many. He knew that this was only the beginning of his adventures.
And he was right! From there, he was shaped and molded into an entirely new form, and a remarkable, incomprehensible, unbelievable new form he became! He was blended with the finest ingredients and the purest flavors, sheathed in the sleekest, smoothest, sexiest shape that a chocolate can be, and then placed in an elegant casket with a roomful of other luscious chocolate creations.
That’s where he first started hearing the gossip. Surely these were lies—tales spun from bitter chocolates! Could it be that some of the most powerful lords of the chocolate world didn’t care about the things that really mattered the most? It just couldn’t—it mustn’t—be true that chocolate was created for joy, and that there were some who cared only for profit at others’ expense!
Valentine’s Day was fast approaching, and the brave little chocolate could hear furiously busy noises through his lid. Why didn’t these people sound happy? Why did the big voice sound so angry? Surely there wouldn’t be a bully involved with getting them to the people who were to enjoy them?
“No!” That brave little chocolate shouted, “This is wrong, and it must be stopped!” It was then that he knew that he was called to this time and place for a reason.
There are no coincidences in the world of chocolate. That’s why, although the chocolates were momentarily blinded, the lid opened to reveal several beautiful, but troubled-looking staff, and a man, who by his domineering expression, was obviously the evil warlord.
There was one woman who may have appeared to be powerless, but was clearly not without courage. The brave little chocolate fell in love with her at once. He might have melted, if the booming voice of the director didn’t turn his praline-center cold.
“When the princess finds our chocolates too bitter, then someone must pay! This is our biggest season, and I want each of your to pull your weight. You must find out what went wrong, and what you’re going to do about it. And because we’re losing money, none of you get paid until we’re #1 in the business!”
The eyes spoke volumes from the silent people who had no choice but to persevere. It was the tiny, courageous woman who spoke up, “Sir, do you know that the chocolate was bad, or was the princess simply reacting to the fact that the box had been intended for his mistress instead? That might make anyone bitter. Why don’t you taste one?”
Naturally, this was followed by a ten-minute monologue about nothing truly relative to the industry, except to perpetuate the miserable working conditions, and allow the evil chocolate lord to release his pent up fear and strife. As a final gesture to his words, “bitter is as bitter does,” he reached for the chocolates.
It was in slow motion that the brave little chocolate met the approaching claw. He saw his whole warm, sun-drenched life pass before his eyes, and he wondered if it really was meant to end this way. Could this be a chocolate-covered version of Dante’s Inferno? What of all the joy that passes around the fondue pot, or the laughter at the dessert buffet, or in the smouldering passions of potential lovers opening a box together? For this, he gave his all?
That last thought, that shattering of hope, was the brave little chocolate’s final gift to mankind. For you see, until that very moment, he was everything he longed to be. But in the hands of a heartless man, he had nothing acceptable to give. Was it the shock and disappointment? Was it angry intent, or misdirected energy? No one really knew for certain. What they saw was the evil chocolate warlord’s face go from heinous cruelty to self-righteous pride, to shock and stunned silence—albeit very brief—and then to wide-eyed terror. That’s when he fell over, and that was the end of him.
Ah, but for the rest, it was the beginning of a very happy ending.