Ursula Le Guin’s ‘The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas’ is one of the most haunting and thought provoking short story I have ever read. If you have fifteen minutes to spare and you fancy a brain f$%k, do read it in its entirety.

The story began innocently enough. In the city of Omelas, nestled against the sea cradled by the snowcapped mountains in the distance, the Festival of Summer is just about underway. Gaiety is in full swing.

In other streets the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a dance. Children dodged in and out, their high calls rising like swallows’ crossing flights, over the music and over the singing.

The citizens of Omelas were a fortunate bunch. They were ‘matured, intelligent, passionate adults whose lives are not wretched’. Imagine a perfect city, with perfect weather and perfect people leading perfectly healthy, wealthy and happy lives. …