A Fable

The Grand Wondrous Emperor summoned his advisors, Gnowhey and Ceemoor, to his court and presented them with a problem.

"A rabble of despised Sandirritans tried to violate our borders last week. They were armed only with a golden chest. Our brave archers slew them at a distance before they could work their mischief. The chest contained seeds and a cryptic scroll. Let the wise tell me what it means."

The Emperor's attendant passed the scroll to Ceemoor, who unrolled it and examined it. The court waited upon his explanation. In the stillness, the royal harpist fumbled a note, then deliberately fumbled the next phrase to make his previous mistake sound intentional. After several minutes the Emperor scratched his head and leant on the side of his throne. Ceemoor, muttering to himself, looked back to the top of the scroll and started to make notes on his slate.

The Emperor cleared his throat. "Ahem. Have you an answer?"

Ceemoor jerked to attention. "I... I have found some of its meaning, your magnificence. I'm familiar with some of the symbols and the others show patterns that I shall soon decode."

Gnowhey interjected, "Nonsense! Ceemoor is pretending he has knowledge that none of us could possibly attain."

"On the contrary, Gnowhey, the symbols are akin to those used by our neighbor, the Sultan of Sandirritan. If we were to consult any of our traders, I'm sure they could help with translation."

"Yes, yes, Ceemoor," said the Emperor, "but what does it mean?"

"Your Wondrousness, I think the scroll gives directions for growing a crop from the seeds. There are symbols that represent seasons and water and harvest..."

"Rubbish!" exploded Gnowhey. "The Sandirritans insult us with their pretenses. They taunt us with false gifts. They send seeds of weeds to destroy our crops, to bring hunger to our people, and corruption to our lands. Burn the seed and the scroll. Smelt the golden chest and turn their offense into an offering worthy of our Emperor, the Wisest of All Rulers. Pray, listen no more to Ceemoor, who is baffled by their deceit and would reduce us to ruin."

The Emperor raised his voice. "Ceemoor! Were you truly taken in by their treachery? Are we all to be fools?"

"Emperor, the fields of the Sandirritans are the envy of all. They know not the meaning of hunger. We must put these seeds to the test. Have I not spoken with wisdom in the past?"

The Emperor spat on the floor at Ceemoor's feet. "I tire of your so-called wisdom, Ceemoor. You can't even see my new suit."


The essence of writing is re-writing.

G'ha! I wasn't expecting that punchline. Very adroit.