Once upon a time in the land of Anywhere, in a world long since forgotten, there lived, in the fine and prosperous city of Anyplace, a Successful and Entrepreneurial Young Man. At the age of just 27 this young man had already established a highly successful business manufacturing and distributing handbags and briefcases. The Young Man had a Sharp Eye for Style And Fashion, what’s more, he was a shrewd Self-Publicist and his products (which also had the Unique Selling Point and Added Bonus of being the only handbags and briefcases on the market made from Finest Troll Skin) quickly became Quite The Thing To Have For Celebrities and The Young And Fashionable.
The Young Man soon became wealthy and bought himself a Lovely Home in the Finest Part Of Town. He enjoyed a Lavish Lifestyle and an Exciting Social Life and came to accrue to himself Considerable Social Standing: no Party or Social Event was properly important unless he was attending.
Now in the land of Anywhere, the fifth day after the Fairy Solstice is National Troll Day. This day is not a celebration of Trolls (for Trolls are widely Feared And Despised throughout the land of Anywhere) but rather a celebration of the Battle Of Troll Field, a battle that had taken place some 300 years previously: the culmination of Centuries Of Conflict between people and Trolls in which a Huge Defeat with Massive Loss Of Life was inflicted upon the Troll Population (some lily-livered Liberal Types like to refer to it as a genocide, but tell that to the much-revered Perfect Parents whose Beautiful Child was recently stolen, and no doubt eaten, by Trolls). This famous battle marked the end of Troll Dominance in Anywhere. Nowadays Trolls are no more troublesome than the Pirates that afflict the Eastern shores of Anywhere: an unpleasant but only Occasional Nuisance.
The Battle Of Troll Field is celebrated every National Troll Day in the city of Anyplace with a dramatic and stunning spectacle: The Running Of The Trolls. This involves taking six captured Trolls and letting them free in the streets of Anyplace. To ensure that the Trolls are not too formidable, before they are released they are drugged and their kneecaps shattered with hammers. In front of them runs a brave (perhaps foolhardy) group of young men and women who taunt the Trolls and tempt them down a pre-defined route, lined with crowds, which leads to a large stadium where, in front of a huge number of enthusiastic spectators, the Trolls will be further baited, stabbed, beaten and finally killed. I agree that this does sound a rather Repugnant Spectacle but before you Throw Stones In Glass Houses, remember that in the land of Anywhere Trolls are regarded as animals and look how you treat animals in your own world.
One particular year, our Successful Young Man (Shrewd Self-Publicist that he was) decided that it would be a Public Relations Coup if he were to Run With The Trolls.
And so he did. Sadly, there would be a Most Ironic And Unfortunate Turn Of Events.
Amongst the crowd running from the Trolls was a young lady who had, just the day previous, purchased a fine Troll skin handbag, manufactured by our very own Successful Young Man’s company. She was so proud of her new handbag that she had, perhaps inadvisedly, brought it with her to the Running Of The Trolls. She had been told that the Trolls would be drugged, that their kneecaps would be broken. Imagine her surprise then when, despite their impediments, the Trolls turned out to, still, be very fast-moving, and very vicious looking!
In a panic, the poor lady had to concede that her gorgeous new handbag would slow her down, and, as she ran, she threw it to the floor.
Irony of ironies. Who should be running behind the Panicked Lady but our Successful Young Man. The discarded handbag, made of finest Troll Skin, tangled between his legs and pitched him to the floor. Within seconds the crowd of enraged and goaded Trolls fell upon him, stamping upon and kicking his prone figure and otherwise delivering An Almighty Beating.
Fortunately for our Young Man, Trolls are (like teenagers in your world), by nature, creatures with a Very Short Attention Span and after a few seconds of beating him, they tired of the activity and continued pursuing the crowd.
But in those few seconds the Trolls had done dreadful damage to the Successful Young Man’s body.
He would make a full (physical) recovery, but it would require the full attention of the Finest Physicians in the land of Anywhere and a stay in hospital that lasted three months.
During that time the Young Man was unable to attend to his Business Affairs and had to give the running of his business over to his second-in command. Sadly, this gentleman, this second-in-command, was simply Not Up To The Job. Sales leads were left unchased and orders not supplied as new stocks of Troll skin were not purchased in a Timely Fashion.
Sensing Weakness And Opportunity, one of the ruthless and incredibly wealthy families from The Greedy One Percent set up their own business manufacturing and distributing Troll Skin handbags and briefcases. They used their amazing wealth to follow aggressive policies of Predatory Pricing and Cross Subsidy and soon had driven the Successful Young Man’s products from the marketplace.
To cut a long story short, by the time the Young Man left hospital he was completely bankrupt. He had lost everything. His business had folded and his home had , in a further irony, been repossessed (by the bank that was owned by the same Greedy One Percent family that had gone into the Troll Skin bags business).
Deserted by his friends (for no-one, as you say in your world, likes a loser), reduced to claiming Government Benefits and living with his parents, our now not very Successful Young Man plunged into a Deep Depression from which he Could Not Be Roused.
Look at him. He had lost everything. He had had everything and now he had nothing. All he had had, had been lost forever. He would never have it back. He would never be successful again, he would never be wealthy again, he would never be respected again, he would never respect himself again. He would never be happy again. And all because he had tripped over one of his own handbags. His life had been fabulous and then, bang, one random, silly occurrence and all had been taken from him. A few seconds, one incident, a ruined life. How unjust, how unfair.
After months of brooding, terrible, soul-eating despair the Young Man finally concluded he had Nothing Left To Live For and that he would kill himself.
One morning, he left the home of his parents early and went to a nearby market and used some of his meager Government Benefit money to purchase a length of stout rope, with which he planned to hang himself.
Now in the city Of Anyplace there is a beautiful park, indeed it’s generally held to be the most beautiful in the entire land of Anywhere. It is, in fact, the very same park where, some years previously, the Much Revered And Famous Ragged Man had sang his entrancing Song Of Sad And Enduring Loss which had almost caused a Revolution.
The Young Man made his way to this famous park and, once inside, headed for a secluded area he remembered from being a boy, where he knew there was a tall and strong tree. It was from this tree, under which he had once been so happy, that he would hang himself and choke away the miserable remnants of his miserable life.
By and by, the Young Man arrived at his Hanging Tree. Sitting beneath it, he began to tie a noose in the stout length of rope he had bought. As he did so he cried silently, mourning a life lost, taken away by one swift Inexplicable And Unfortunate Incident.
But our story is not yet run. For in the vicinity of the Young Man was a Fairy. Fairies, as you know, can be very good or very bad. There’s simply no telling how they’ll act in any given situation (though they do tend to err on the bad side), they are very powerful little creatures and utterly unpredictable, which is why all sensible people avoid them as they would a Troll With A Toothache. What most people do not know, however, about Fairies is that they are drawn to strong emotions like a moth to a flame: from misery to exultation, it’s all like nectar to Fairies and anywhere there is strong emotion they are likely to pop up.
Which is exactly what this Fairy did. Sensing the Young Man’s Misery she popped right up. One minute she was in a completely different part of the park, the next, pop, she was right there by the Young Man’s right shoulder, fluttering away with her Silken Wings and peering down at the Young Man, quizzically.
At this point, fortune, for the first time in many months, smiled down on the Young Man. For this Fairy, this exact Fairy, was in a very good mood. She had been in the park that morning having a bit of a breather, for earlier that day she had stolen two particularly plump and healthy human children and stealing human children always counts as a good days work in any Fairy’s book. Looking down on the Young Man she saw not only him, but deep into his Soul and the Misery And Despair it held and the Unfortunate Events that had befallen the Young Man played out in her mind. In seconds (and this is an ability shared by all Fairies and is another reason to always treat them with caution and respect) she knew what was in his soul, his heart, what had happened to him, what could happen to him and what would happen to him. Being in a happy frame of mind, a sort of post child-theft warm glow, she determined that, upon this occasion, she would use her powers for good and would help the Formerly Successful Young Man.
Decision made, the Fairy told the Young Man to stop tying his noose and look at her. Looking up, the Young Man saw the fairy at his shoulder, but was not alarmed: what was there to be scared of anymore, he was going to die after all? Nevertheless, he did feel compelled to put down his rope and give his full attention to the Fairy.
The Fairy explained to the Young Man that what had happened to him was, indeed, sad and tragic. But it was certainly no reason to take his life. The trouble with humans is that they lack perspective on life, which, she explained, is probably due to the fact they don’t live very long, unlike Fairies who live 897 years and 13 days and so have the time to become wiser about these things. Human’s, she continued, just don’t understand that a basic principle of The Universe is Duality: nothing (and nobody) is entirely good or entirely bad, good can come from bad and bad from good. Furthermore, they don’t grasp the idea that there is a life that was, a life that may have been, a life that is and a life that could be.
At this point the Young Man looked somewhat confused so, on the basis that a picture is worth a thousand words, the Fairy decided to show him what she was talking about. She took a deep breath, paused and blew out. From her mouth streamed a fine, golden mist. The mist gathered around the Young Man’s head and soon he could see nothing but sparkling gold, but then this resolved itself into a series of fast moving pictures. The Young Man saw himself at the Running Of The Trolls and shivered internally as he saw himself being beaten and broken, then things changed; he was back at The Running Of The Trolls but this time he was leaving the stadium, hale and hearty, with friends, going on to a bar to celebrate their adventure. But in the bar things turn ugly. He gets into a fight with another man, the man is an unpleasant, violent Sociopath: a Banker. In the course of the fight the Banker sticks a broken bottle into the Young Man’s throat and he bleeds to death there, on a dirty bar-room floor. The picture changes again: and the Young Man is filled with bottomless sadness as he sees himself hanging, lifeless at the end of the rope which is lying in his lap. One final change of scene and the Young Man is striding away from the tree, has chosen to live. He has realised that there is a gap in the market for Troll Skin purses and wallets. He gets a small loan from his parents and goes on to found a wallet and purse Empire, he becomes even wealthier than before, he marries well and has beautiful children and a happy life.
The Young Man understands the Fairy’s lesson now. If he had not beaten by Trolls that day, he would have been murdered that evening. He may have lost a fortune, but he gained another chance at life. Not everything in life is good but that doesn’t mean that good will not ultimately come from it: sometimes in life things that glitter turn out to be dirt, and dirt can turn out to be gold. Nothing is entirely good, but nothing is entirely bad.
Lessons learned, the Young Man picks himself and up and strides purposefully away. He has a purse and wallet Empire to found.