Tuesday, August 4, 2009
A Long-Bow Story: The Parable of The Real Madrid fan and The Wizard's Fan
One day a Real Madrid fan, was walking along a country road when he overtook a poor Wizard’s fan going in the same direction. Now the Real Madrid fan was very grasping, like most of his class, and was lamenting that he had had no chance of making any money that day; but at the sight of the man in the Jimmy Conrad shirt he brightened up wonderfully.
'That is a piece of luck,' he said to himself. 'Let me see if this Wizard’s fan is not good for something'; and he hastened his steps.
After they had bid one another good day very politely, the Real Madrid fan said to the Wizard's fan:
'I was just thinking how dull I felt, when I beheld you, but since we are going the same way, I shall find the road quite short in such agreeable company.'
'With all my heart,' replied the Wizard’s fan; 'but what shall we talk about? A big soccer man like you will not care to hear about how the Red Bulls are going to be the worst MLS team of all time.'
'Oh,' said the Real Madrid fan, 'I'll tell you what we will do. We will each tell the other the wildest tale we can imagine, and he who first throws doubt on the other's story shall pay him a hundred euros.'
To this the Wizard’s fan agreed, and begged the Real Madrid fan to begin, as he was the bigger man of the two; and privately he made up his mind that, however improbable it might be, nothing should induce him to hint that he did not believe in the Real Madrid fan's tale. Thus politely pressed the great man started:
The Real Madrid Fan's Tale
'I was going along this road one day, when I met Manuel Pellegrini traveling with a great train of footballers laden with Nike boots --'
'Very likely,' murmured the Wizard’s fan; 'I've seen that kind of thing myself.'
'No less than one hundred and one footballers,' continued the Real Madrid fan, 'all tied together by their nose strings -- and stretching along the road for almost half a mile -- '
‘Well?' said the Wizard’s fan.
'Well, a hawk swooped down on the foremost footballer and bore him off, struggling, into the air, and by reason of them all being tied together the other hundred footballers had to follow --'
'Amazing, the strength of that hawk!' said the Wizard’s fan. 'But -- well -- yes, doubtless, yes -- well -- one hundred and one fooballers -- and what did he do with them?’
'You doubt it?' demanded the Real Madrid fan.
'Not a bit!' said the Wizard’s fan heartily.
'Well,' continued the Real Madrid fan, 'it happened that the Sheik of Manchester City, Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was sitting in his private garden, counting his money, when he looked upward and that wretched hawk, with its prey, went soaring overhead; and, as luck would have it, the footballers gave an extra kick just then, the hawk lost his hold, and the whole hundred and one footballers dropped right into the Sheik's left eye!’
'Poor thing!' said the Wizard’s fan; 'it's so painful having anything in one's eye.'
'Well,' said the Real Madrid fan, who was now warming to his task, 'the Sheik shook his head, and sprang up, clapping his hand on his eye. "Oh dear!" he cried, "I've got something in my eye, and how it does smart!
'It always does,' observed the Wizard’s fan; 'perfectly true. Well, what did the poor man do?’
'At the sound of his cries, Robinho came running to his assistance. "Let me look," said he; and with that she gave the Sheik's eyelid a twitch, and out came Cristiano Ronaldo, which Ronaldo put in his pocket --' (' Ah!' grunted the Wizard’s fan) --' and then he just twisted up the corner of his handkerchief and fished a hundred more of them out of the Sheik's eye, and popped them all into his pocket with the other.'
Here the Real Madrid fan gasped as one who is out of breath, but the Wizard’s fan looked at him slowly. ‘Well?' said he.
'I can't think of anything more now,' replied the Real Madrid fan. 'Besides, that is the end; what do you say to it?’
'Wonderful,' replied the Wizard’s fan, 'and no doubt perfectly true!’
'Well, it is your turn,' said the Real Madrid fan. 'I am so anxious to hear your story. I am sure it will be very interesting.'
'Yes, I think it will,' answered the Wizard’s fan, and he began:
The Wizard's Fan's Tale
'My father was a very prosperous man. Five rainbow Wizard’s jerseys he had, and three ticket stubs to the MLS cup, and half a dozen autographs, and memorabilia in abundance; but of all his possessions the thing he loved best was a Wizard’s blue Chevrolet Camaro. Oh she was -- oh, a very fine car!’
'Yes, yes,' interrupted the Real Madrid fan, 'get on!’
'I'm getting on,' said the Wizard’s fan; 'don't you hurry me! Well, one day, as ill-luck would have it, he drove that car to the Wizard’s vs DC United game with a torn seat cover. A six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon sat in the tear and ripped it further, so that when he got home there was a rip as big as the palm of your hand.'
Yes,' said the Real Madrid fan impatiently, 'what next?’
'It was June,' said the Wizard’s fan, 'and you know how, in June, the air is full of dust-storms with rain at times? Well, the poor car got dust in that rip, and what's more, with the dust some grains of wheat, and, what with the dust and the heat and the wet, that wheat sprouted and began to grow!’
'Wheat does when it gets a fair chance,' said the Real Madrid fan.
'Yes; and the next thing we knew was that there was a crop of wheat on that car's seat as big as anything you ever saw in a hundred-acre field, and we had to hire twenty men to help reap it ! '
'One generally has to hire extra hands for reaping,' said the Real Madrid fan.
'And we got four hundred bushels of wheat off that seat!' continued the Wizard’s fan.
'A good crop!' murmured the Real Madrid fan.
'And your father,' said the Wizard’s fan, 'a poor wretch, with hardly enough to keep body and soul together -- (the Real Madrid snorted, but was silent) -- came to my father, and he said, putting his hands together as humble as could be --'
The Real Madrid fan here flashed a furious glance at his companion, but bit his lips and held his peace.
"I haven't tasted food for a week. Oh! Great master, let me have the loan of sixteen pounds of wheat from your store, and I will repay you."
"Certainly, neighbor," answered my father; "take what you need, and repay it as you can." '
‘Well?' demanded the Real Madrid fan with fury in his eye.
'Well, he took the wheat away with him,' replied the Wizard’s fan; 'but he never repaid it, and it's a debt to this day. Sometimes I wonder whether I shall not go to law about it.'
Then the Real Madrid fan began running his thumb quickly up and down the fingers of his right hand, and his lips moved in quick calculation.
'What is the matter?' asked the Wizard’s fan.
'The wheat is the cheaper; I'll pay you for the wheat,' said the Real Madrid fan, with the calmness of despair, as he remembered that by his own arrangement he was bound to give the Wizard’s fan a hundred Euros.
And to this day they say in Kansas, when a man owes a debt: 'Give me the money; or, if not that, give me at least the wheat.'
-Taken word for word from The Olive Fairy Book by Andrew Lang