Maybe James Finn Garner should consider these for his next volume of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.
The Poor Peasant Girl
Once upon a time there was a poor peasant girl who lived with her poor peasant father in a squalid peasant hut.
One day, as she was eating dirt and gravel in her front yard, she was approached by a handsome prince riding a magnificent steed. "Want to marry me?", the prince asked. "Sure", she answered, and away they rode to the palace, where they lived happily ever after.
Then she dumped the prince, took all his money, and moved to another village to set up the "poor peasant girl" scam again.
The Liberated Princess
Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat, contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.
The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said: "Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and setup housekeeping in yon castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so."
That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on a repast of lightly sauteed froglegs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled to herself and thought:
OLD VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold. MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!
Wait a minute! This isn't how things work today. Time to update that story:
MODERN VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CBS, NBC, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper,and everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green."
Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome." Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake. Nancy Pelosi & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share." Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government. Hillary Clinton gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients. The ant loses the case.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood. MORAL OF THE STORY: If you trust in politicians to take care of you, remember how well they took care of the American Indian.
Once a man was driving in the middle of the night when he got a flat tire. When he came to a stop, he realized that he was across the street from a mental institution. A bad place and a bad time to break down, but he couldn't do anything about it, so he got out of the car and got to work. He wasn't alone; only a chain-link fence separated him from the asylum, and one of the inmates was on the other side, watching him.
Keeping a nervous eye on the inmate, the driver took out the spare tire, and the tools he needed. He removed the lug nuts and placed them in the hubcap. Then he took off the flat tire and fitted on the spare. All this time he wondered, "Now why is that guy up at this hour, and why is he staring at me?"
Then disaster struck. As the driver went back to get the lug nuts, his foot stepped on the side of the hubcap, sending the nuts fluying into the grass. After considerable groping around in the darkness, he only managed to find one. It was then that the inmate finally spoke.
"Take one nut from each of the other tires. Four nuts on each wheel. That will be enough to get you to a service station."
"Good idea," said the driver. "Hey, that's a great idea! If you can think like that, what are you doing in there?"
"Hey pal, I'm in here for being crazy," answered the inmate. "Not stupid."
Jesus ben Joseph
Woodcrafters Carpenter Shop
Nazareth, Galilee 25922
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have taken our battery of tests, and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultants. The profiles of all tests are included and you will want to study each of them carefully. As part of our service we have made some general comments much as an auditor would include some general statements.
This report is given as a result of staff consultation and comes without any additional fee. It is the staff opinion that most of the men are lacking the background, education and vocational aptitude necessary for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no leadership qualities. The two brothers, James and John, sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the "Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau." Thaddeus and Simon definitely have radical leanings and they both registered high scores on the manic depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory. We wish you every success in your new venture.
Once upon a time God looked down on the world and loathed what He saw. Most likely He looked at a time when the daytime TV talk shows were on, addressing topics like "Gay nuns on dope" or "Castrated men who still fear the bicycle bar." At any rate, He could no longer stand the world's sin, and decided to destroy the Earth. Then He warned four major newspapers: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The Washington Post, letting them know that they only had two days left. Each of those newspapers reported the upcoming catastrophe differently, with the following headlines:
The New York Times: God Announces He Will Destroy Earth In Two Days. Details on Page D-38 (after the book reviews, of course).
The Wall Street Journal: World Scheduled to End in 48 Hours. Stock Market Slump Predicted.
USA Today (a paper known for writing short stories): WE'RE DOOMED!
The Washington Post: End of World Expected in Two Days. Women and Minorities are Likely to Suffer the Most.
One day the Pope visits Washington, D.C., and President Bush takes him out for an afternoon on the Potomac, sailing on the Presidential yacht, the Sequoia.
They're admiring the sights when, all of a sudden, the Pope's hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and out into the water. The Secret Service guys start to launch a boat, but President Bush waves them off, saying, "Wait, wait. I'll take care of this. Don't worry."
Bush then steps off the yacht onto the surface of the water and walks out to the Holy Father's little hat, bends over picks it up, then walks back to the yacht and climbs aboard.
He hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence.
The next morning, the headlines on BBC World News, The Guardian, LeMonde, Reuters, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Buffalo News, Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, Minneapolis Tribune, Denver Post, Albuquerque Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Washington Post proclaim:
Once on a cold winter day, there was a little bird freezing on a sidewalk. It had been there for a while, and was motionless; one couldn't tell by looking if it was alive or dead. Along came a kindly Serbian man, who took pity on the poor bird and put it in inside his coat, right against his chest.
When it felt the warmth, the bird began to revive. Soon it started moving, and after a while it even started chirping. About this time, the Serb walked past a pile of fresh manure, which was warm enough to be giving off steam on that day. He took the bird from his coat, placed it on top of the manure, and went on his way.
The bird's behavior didn't change when this happened. In fact it kept on chirping, until a cat came by and ate it.
There are three morals to this story:
1. The one who puts you in it isn't always your enemy.
2. The one who takes you out of it isn't always your friend.
3. If you happen to be in it, keep your mouth shut!
Once upon a time, a man found a dead possum in his backyard. Unwilling to dig a hole and bury the dead possum, he went out that night and flung the dead possum over the fence into his neighbor's yard.
Several days later, the neighbor found the now somewhat, shall we say, "ripe," dead possum. He was also of the lazy variety and decided to go late that night and chuck the somewhat ripe dead possum into a second neighbor's yard.
And so it came to pass that after a week or so (for these were very large backyards), the second neighbor detected the now wildly overripe dead possum. The second neighbor was a civic-minded individual and therefore acquired a shovel, dug a hole, and buried the overripe dead possum. While digging the hole, he found a large diamond in the rough. He sold the diamond for a significant sum of money and promptly bought a nice house in a better neighborhood, where the neighbors no longer threw dead possums over the fence into his yard.
The moral to this story is twofold:
If you bury the dead possum you find you will maintain neighbors who will likely lend you a shovel, and possibly help you dig the hole, and you may find a treasure.
If you persist in throwing possums over the fence, all of the nice neighbors will probably move away.
(My own comment: I'm not sure what this has to do with investing, but I see a clear parallel with every Internet community I've been in. Some people work to make the World Wide Web a better place, while others go online to throw dead possums at their neighbors in the global village.)
(This is a fable. Or is it? Something like this once happened to me.)
Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert.
Congress said "Someone could steal from this yard at night." So they created a night watchman's position (GS-4 level) and hired a person for the job.
Then Congress said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning position and hired two people: one person to write the instructions (GS-12 level) and one person to conduct training classes (GS-11 level).
Then Congress said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So they created a quality control position and hired two people: one to do the studies (GS-9 level) and one to write the reports (GS-11 level).
Then Congress said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So they created a timekeeper position (GS-9 level) and a payroll officer (GS-11 level).
Then Congress said, "Who will be accountable for all these people?" So they created administrative positions and hired three people, an Administrative Officer (GS-13 level), an Assistant Administrative Officer (GS-12 level), and a Legal Secretary (GS-8 level).
Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one year, and we are $18,000 over budget. We must cutback overall costs."
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
IF YOU RECEIVE A GIFT IN THE SHAPE OF A LARGE WOODEN HORSE DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT!!!! It is EXTREMELY DESTRUCTIVE and will overwrite your ENTIRE CITY!
The "gift" is disguised as a large wooden horse about two stories tall. It tends to show up outside the city gates and appears to be abandoned.
DO NOT let it through the gates! It contains hardware that is incompatible with Trojan programming, including a crowd of heavily armed Greek warriors that will destroy your army, sack your town, and kill your women and children. If you have already received such a gift, DO NOT OPEN IT! Take it back out of the city unopened and set fire to it by the beach.
FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!
RE: Greeks bearing gifts
I hate to break it to you, but this is one of the oldest hoaxes there is. I've seen variants on this warning come through on other listservs, one involving some kind of fruit that was supposed to kill the people who ate it and one having to do with something called the "Midas Touch".
Here are a few tip-offs that this is a hoax:
1) This "Forward this message to everyone you know" business. If it were really meant as a warning about the Greek army, why tell anyone to send it to the Phoenicians, Babylonians, and Egyptians?
2) Use of exclamation points. Always a giveaway.
3) It's signed "from Poseidon." Granted he's had his problems with Odysseus but he's one of their guys, isn't he? Besides, the lack of a real header with a detailed address makes me suspicious.
4) Technically speaking, there is no way for a horse to overwrite your entire city. A horse is just an animal, after all.
Next time you get a message like this, just delete it. I appreciate your concern, but once you've been around the block a couple times you'll realize how annoying this kind of stuff is.
Remember the Y2K crisis, and how many people thought that when the year 1999 became 2000, it would be the end of civilization as we know it? Well, we did get some computer failures, but they came a year late--in January 2001. If our ancestors treated the last two millennium rollovers the way we did, memos like these are lying around somewhere:
Message from: Rome
January 18, 1 B.C.
Are you still working on the Y zero K problem? This change from BC to AD is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven`t much time left. I don`t know how people will cope with working the wrong way around. Having been working happily downwards forever, now we have to start thinking upwards. You would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left it to us to sort out at the last minute.
I spoke to Caesar the other evening. He was livid that Julius hadn`t done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. He said he could see why Brutus turned nasty. We called in the consulting astrologers, but they simply said that continuing downwards using minus BC won`t work. As usual, the consultants charged a fortune for doing nothing useful. As for myself, I just can`t see the sand in an hourglass flowing upwards.
We have heard that there are three wise guys in the east working on the problem, but unfortunately they won`t arrive till it`s all over. Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of transition. Anyway we are continuing to work on this blasted Y zero K problem and I will send you a parchment if anything further develops.
Canterbury, England. May 27, 999 A.D.
An atmosphere close to panic prevails today throughout Europe as the millennial year 1000 approaches, bringing with it the so-called "Y1K Bug," a menace which, until recently, hardly anyone had ever heard of. Prophets of doom are warning that the entire fabric of Western Civilization, based as it now is upon monastic computations, could collapse, and that there is simply not enough time left to fix the problem.
Just how did this disaster-in-the-making ever arise? Why did no one anticipate that a change from a three-digit to a four-digit year would throw into total disarray all liturgical chants and all metrical verse in which any date is mentioned? Every formulaic hymn, prayer, ceremony and incantation dealing with dated events will have to be re- written to accommodate three extra syllables. All tabular chronologies with three-space year columns, maintained for generations by scribes using carefully hand-ruled lines on vellum sheets, will now have to be converted to four- space columns, at enormous cost. In the meantime, the validity of every official event, from baptisms to burials, from confirmations to coronations, may be called into question.
"We should have seen it coming," says brother Cedric of St. Michael's Abbey, here in Canterbury. "What worries me most is that 'THOUSAND' contains the word 'THOU,' which occurs in nearly all our prayers, and of course always refers to God. Using it now in the name of the year will seem almost blasphemous, and is bound to cause terrible confusion. Of course, we could always use Latin, but that might be even worse -- The Latin word for 'Thousand' is 'Mille' - which is the same as the Latin for 'mile.' We won't know whether we're talking about time or distance!" Stonemasons are already reported threatening to demand a proportional pay increase for having to carve an extra numeral in all dates on tombstones, cornerstones and monuments. Together with its inevitable ripple effects, this alone could plunge the hitherto-stable medieval economy into chaos.
A conference of clerics has been called at Winchester to discuss the entire issue, but doomsayers are convinced that the matter is now one of personal survival. Many families, in expectation of the worst, are stocking up on holy water and indulgences.
13 Mar 1914 - 26 Nov. 1943
Winner - Congressional Medal of Honor
World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.
As he was returning to the mothership, he saw something that turned his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese Zeroes were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor, could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 calibers blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch weaved in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the Zeroes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.
He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching The American ships. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.
He was recognized as a hero and given one of the nation's highest military honors. And today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.
Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At that time, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. His exploits were anything but praiseworthy. He was, however, notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution . . . to murder.
Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer and for a good reason. He was very good! In fact, his skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big; Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block. Yes, Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocities that went on around him.
Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had the best of everything; clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn't give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he could not pass on to his beloved son, a good name and a good example. One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish on him. He had to rectify all the wrong that he had done. He would go to the authorities and tell the truth about "Scar-face" Al Capone. He would try to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity.
To do this he must testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. But more than anything, he wanted to be an example to his son. He wanted to do his best to make restoration and hopefully have a good name to leave his son. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.
What do these two stories have to do with one another?
People often say that deep down, clowns aren't really happy people. I don't know about the other stories, but the one concerning Joe Grimaldi (1779-1837) is true:
One evening in 1808, a gaunt, sad-faced man entered the offices of Dr. James Hamilton in Manchester. The doctor was struck by the melancholy appearance of his visitor. He inquired:
"Are you sick?"
"Yes, doctor, sick of a mortal malady."
"I am frightened of the terror of the world around me. I am depressed by life. I can find no happiness anywhere, nothing amuses me, and I have nothing to live for. If you can't help me, I shall kill myself."
"The malady is not mortal. You only need to get out of yourself. You need to laugh; to get some pleasure from life."
"What shall I do?"
"Go to the circus tonight to see Grimaldi, the clown. Grimaldi is the funniest man alive. He'll cure you."
"Doctor," said the sad-faced man, "I am Grimaldi."
(I believe Grimaldi got over his bout of depression, as the dates suggest he lived twenty-nine more years after that.)
The first is an excerpt from his essay "Concerning Tobacco." It shows that taste is all in the advertising or packaging:
No one can tell me what is a good cigar--for me. I am the only judge. People who claim to know say that I smoke the worst cigars in the world. They bring their own cigars when they come to my house. They betray an unmanly terror when I offer them a cigar; they tell lies and hurry away to meet engagements which they have not made when they are threatened with the hospitalities of my box. Now then, observe what superstition, assisted by a man's reputation, can do. I was to have twelve personal friends to supper one night. One of them was as notorious for costly and elegant cigars as I was for cheap and devilish ones. I called at his house and when no one was looking borrowed a double handful of his very choicest; cigars which cost him forty cents apiece and bore red-and-gold labels in sign of their nobility. I removed the labels and put the cigars into a box with my favorite brand on it--a brand which those people all knew, and which cowed them as men are cowed by an epidemic. They took these cigars when offered at the end of the supper, and lit them and sternly struggled with them--in dreary silence, for hilarity died when the fell brand came into view and started around--but their fortitude held for a short time only; then they made excuses and filed out, treading on one another's heels with indecent eagerness; and in the morning when I went out to observe results the cigars lay all between the front door and the gate. All except one--that one lay in the plate of the man from whom I had cabbaged the lot. One or two whiffs was all he could stand. He told me afterward that some day I would get shot for giving people that kind of cigars to smoke.
A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling, by Mark Twain
For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli. Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.
Every day something unexpected happens, and that often reminds me of this story:
Once upon a time a man was accused of a crime. For the purposes of the story, it doesn't matter what he did. The king of that land sentenced the man to death, and he pleaded for his life, offering to teach the king's horse to talk if he would be spared. The king agreed; if the accused could teach the horse to talk in two years, he would be pardoned. Otherwise, the original sentence would be carried out.
Sometime after that, the man's best friend asked him why he made a promise he couldn't keep, and why he was acting so cheerful about the whole business. The would-be horse teacher said, "A lot can happen in two years. The king could die. I could die. Or the horse could talk."
(From the webmaster: I've been to the Okefenokee Swamp, and it's a wild place, all right. Once I heard that the county containing the swamp has the lowest population of any county in Georgia; only critters like Pogo Possum would want to live there.)
Some years ago, about 1900, an old trapper from North Dakota hitched up some horses to his Studebaker wagon, packed a few possessions -- especially his traps -- and drove south.
Several weeks later he stopped in a small town just north of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.
It was a Saturday morning -- a lazy day -- when he walked into the general store. Sitting around the pot-bellied stove were seven or eight of the town's local citizens.
The traveler spoke. "Gentlemen, could you direct me to the Okefenokee Swamp?"
Some of the oldtimers looked at him like he was crazy.
"You must be a stranger in these parts," they said.
"I am. I'm from North Dakota," said the stranger.
"In the Okefenokee Swamp are thousands of wild hogs." one old man explained.
"A man who goes into the swamp by himself asks to die!"
He lifted up his leg. "I lost half my leg here, to the pigs of the swamp."
Another old fellow said, "Look at the cuts on me; look at my arm bit off!"
"Those pigs have been free since the Revolution, eating snakes and rooting out roots and fending for themselves for over a hundred years. They're wild and they're dangerous. You can't trap them. No man dare go into the swamp by himself."
Every man nodded his head in agreement.
The old trapper said, "Thank you so much for the warning. Now could you direct me to the swamp?"
They said, "Well, yeah, it's due south -- straight down the road."
But they begged the stranger not to go, because they knew he'd meet a terrible fate.
He said, "Sell me ten sacks of corn, and help me load it in the wagon." And they did.
Then the old trapper bid them farewell and drove on down the road. The townsfolk thought they'd never see him again.
Two weeks later the man came back. He pulled up to the general store, got down off the wagon, walked in and bought ten more sacks of corn.
After loading it up he went back down the road toward the swamp.
Two weeks later he returned and again bought ten sacks of corn.
This went on for a month. And then two months, and three.
Every week or two the old trapper would come into town on a Saturday morning, load up ten sacks of corn, and drive off south into the swamp.
The stranger soon became a legend in the little village and the subject of much speculation. People wondered what kind of devil had possessed this man, that he could go into the Okefenokee by himself and not be consumed by the wild and free hogs.
One morning the man came into town as usual. Everyone thought he wanted more corn.
He got off the wagon and went into the store where the usual group of men were gathered around the stove. He took off his gloves.
"Gentlemen," he said, "I need to hire about ten or fifteen wagons. I need twenty or thirty men."
"I have six thousand hogs out in the swamp, penned up, and they're all hungry. I've got to get them to market right away."
"You've WHAT in the swamp?" asked the storekeeper, incredulously.
"I have six thousand hogs penned up. They haven't eaten for two or three days, and they'll starve if I don't get back there to feed and take care of them."
One of the oldtimers said, "You mean you've captured the wild hogs of the Okefenokee?"
"How did you do that? What did you do?" the men urged, breathlessly.
One of them exclaimed, "But I lost my arm!"
"I lost my brother!" cried another.
"I lost my leg to those wild boars!" chimed a third.
The trapper said, "Well, the first week I went in there they were wild all right."
"They hid in the undergrowth and wouldn't come out. I dared not get off the wagon."
"So I spread corn along behind the wagon. Every day I'd spread a sack of corn."
"The old pigs would have nothing to do with it."
"But the younger pigs decided that it was easier to eat free corn than it was to root out roots and catch snakes. So the very young began to eat the corn first."
"I did this every day. Pretty soon, even the old pigs decided that it was easier to eat free corn."
"After all, they were all free; they were not penned up. They could run off in any direction they wanted at any time."
"The next thing was to get them used to eating in the same place all the time. So I selected a clearing, and I started putting the corn in the clearing."
"At first they wouldn't come to the clearing. It was too far. It was too open. It was a nuisance to them."
"But the very young decided that it was easier to take the corn in the clearing than it was to root out roots and catch their own snakes. And not long thereafter, the older pigs also decided that it was easier to come to the clearing every day."
"And so the pigs learned to come to the clearing every day to get their free corn."
"They could still subsidize their diet with roots and snakes and whatever else they wanted. After all, they were all free. They could run in any direction at any time. There were no bounds upon them."
"The next step was to get them used to fence posts."
"So I put fence posts all the way around the clearing. I put them in the underbrush so that they wouldn't get suspicious or upset."
"After all, they were just sticks sticking up out of the ground, like the trees and the brush. The corn was there every day. It was easy to walk in between the posts, get the corn, and walk back out."
"This went on for a week or two. Shortly they became very used to walking into the clearing, getting the free corn, and walking back out through the fence posts."
"The next step was to put one rail down at the bottom. I also left a few openings, so that the older, fatter pigs could walk through the openings and the younger pigs could easily jump over just one rail."
"After all, it was no real threat to their freedom or independence. They could always jump over the rail and flee in any direction at any time."
"Now I decided that I wouldn't feed them every day. I began to feed them every other day."
"On the days I didn't feed them the pigs still gathered in the clearing. They squealed, and they grunted, and they begged and pleaded with me to feed them."
"But I only fed them every other day. And I put a second rail around the posts."
"Now the pigs became more and more desperate for food. Because now they were no longer used to going out and digging their own roots and finding their own food. They now needed me. They needed my corn every other day."
"So I trained them that I would feed them every day if they came in through a gate. And I put up a third rail around the fence."
"But it was still no great threat to their freedom, because there were several gates and they could run in and out at will."
"Finally I put up the fourth rail."
"Then I closed all the gates but one, and I fed them very, very well."
"Yesterday I closed the last gate. And today I need you to help me take these pigs to market."
-- end of story --
Morals: The price of free corn may be our liberty!
"Federal welfare, in its myriad forms, has reduced not only individuals to a state of dependency. State and local governments are also on the fast track to elimination, due to their functions being subverted by the command and control structures of federal 'revenue sharing' programs. [Within the story] if you use [the words] federal handouts in place of corn and [the words] people in place of the pigs - how close are the American people to having the final rail put in place?"
"Just say NO to federal corn. The bacon you save may be your own."
This poem was written by someone named Joseph Malens in 1895. It elaborates on how preventing problems is cheaper than fixing them, or as the proverb goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally;
Some said, "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city;
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became full of pity
For those who slipped over the dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.
"For the cliff is all right, if you're careful," they said,
"And, if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they're stopping."
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would those rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.
Then an old sage remarked: "It's a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause,
When they'd much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief," cried he,
"Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley."
"Oh he's a fanatic," the others rejoined,
"Dispense with the ambulance? Never!
He'd dispense with all charities, too, if he could;
No! No! We'll support them forever.
Aren't we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,
While the ambulance works in the valley?"
But the sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be the stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.
Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
"To rescue the fallen is good, but 'tis best
To prevent other people from falling."
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence 'round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.
I heard this story on a tape back in the 1990s. It tells us to become what we were born to be, not what we think we are. Several versions exist on the Internet, but this is the closest to what I remember.
When someone mentions an eagle, what do you think of in your mind?
Many people imagine a big bird, soaring high in the air, with its wings spread out, moving around gracefully with so little effort.
The eagle has very sharp eyes which can see a long distance. When it sees a meal, like a rabbit on the ground, it can come down very fast and grab the animal with its sharp claws.
The eagle is called the king of the birds. It has great strength, super vision and really strong claws.
A story is told of a farmer who found an eagleís egg. He took it to his chickens and put it in a mother hen's nest.
Soon the egg hatched. The young eagle grew up with all the other chickens. Whatever the chickens did, the eagle also did. He thought he was a chicken, just like them.
Since the chickens could only fly for a short distance, the eagle also learned to fly a short distance. He thought that was what he was supposed to do. So that was all that he thought he could do. And that was all he was able to do.
One day, while pecking for corn on the ground, the eagle saw a bird flying high above him. He was very impressed, and thought it would be neat to fly like that. "Who is that?" he asked the hens around him.
"Thatís the eagle, the king of the birds," the hens told him. "Pay no attention to him. He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth. We are chickens."
So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for thatís what he thought he was.
Iíll start by saying I didnít compose this. That being said, this may be the best explanation of our income tax system that I have heard, and gives a compelling explanation for why the rich should be given tax breaks.
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100 and if they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would...pay $1. The sixth would pay $3. The seventh would pay $7. The eighth would pay $12. The ninth would pay $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." So drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free...but what about the other six men -- the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his Ďfair shareí? They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.
So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings). The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings). The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings). The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings). The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings). The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before...and the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"
"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
I read this story in 1980. I don't know if it happened right around then, or several years earlier. Either way, it gives a modern solution to an ancient problem.
In India, two Sikh factions were feuding and had met, sword in hand, to fight it out. A social worker, forseeing tragedy, bargained with them and finally persuaded them to settle their differences peacefully. But tradition dictated that blood must be spilled.
So they contacted the local blood bank and every man involved gave a pint.