European unity was pushed to the breaking point Tuesday when it emerged that a rogue farmer from the Belgian village of Erquelinnes singlehandedly redrew the Franco-Belgian border using only a tractor and inappropriately high levels of testosterone.
The farmer, who remains unidentified, reportedly pulled a 200 year old border stone, originally set there under the 1820 Treaty of Kortrijk that was established in the wake of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, 7.5 feet deep into the heart of France -- substantially raising the bar for impressive feats accomplished via tractor in a single afternoon.
The crime was first uncovered by an amateur history buff and unrepentant tattle-tale who had recently taken to aimlessly wandering the woods. Armed with enough oddly-specific knowledge to notice that the border stone had been moved, the tattle-tale reached out to local authorities who confirmed that the stone was indeed out of place. It is yet unclear what first drove the man into the forest, whether or not he is still there or whether he shares a personal relationship with the farmer he chose to snitch on.
Speaking to reporters from TF1, the mayor of Erquelinnes, David Lavaux seemed surprisingly relaxed about the prospect of a third world war. “He made Belgium bigger and France smaller. It’s not a good idea.” He said, adding “I was happy, my town was bigger. But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.”
Officially, the move, which could further rattle already tumultuous relations between the fellow NATO members, was ostensibly carried out by the farmer without the aid of Belgian government, his singular goal to move a bothersome stone out of the way of his tractor’s path. Investigations into whether Belgian’s foremost intelligence agency, the State Security Service, were involved in moving the stone will likely be under way.
Parties on either side of the border have made shows of good humor over the matter. This, coupled with the fact that there is yet no sign of French or Belgian military forces being marshaled in the field, suggests both countries may be mulling more covert retaliatory strikes.
It remains unknown how France will retaliate or how soon any potential bloodshed could unfold along the border, but tensions across Europe remain high.