Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The wise men of Gotham (3)

Once upon a time, a traveler had to pass again through the town of Gotham (where the men were as sharp as river stones). He had been this way a few times before, and knew he did not wish to linger. The traveler set his head down and tried hard to stare at his feet as he walked as quickly as he could.  As he walked he heard many cries around him, and was almost successful in ignoring them.

However, as he walked, a townsman saw him. "He can help us!" shouted the man from Gotham, "He's helped us before!" The traveler was quickly surrounded by the people of Gotham.

Unable to continue, the man who was not from Gotham clenched his teeth and said with pain "And what then, is the matter this time?"

"It is the holes! As fast as we fill one in, another appears!" The man who was not from Gotham looked around, and sure enough, there was evidence that many holes had been recently filled. He also quickly spotted a pattern. He held his walking stick with both hands, and counted to twelve under his breath before he asked his next question. "Can you show me then, how you fill in the hole?"

As quick as they could the townsmen filled in the hole. and once again were surprised to see a new hole appear. For each hole they had filled, they had dug another. The man who was not from Gotham then said, with tired resignation. "I can solve this issue for you, if each of you pay me a coin." With that he was promptly handed a sack (as the Gothamites had filled it already). 

"Right then." Said the man who was not from Gotham "This kind of hole must be filled to the top with wet river sand. But the sand has to come from one bucket at a time, taken from many parts of the river" A cheer went up as the Town rushed to the river and quickly loaded bucket after bucket with sand, and poured it all into the most recent hole. And soon the hole was filled. 

The Townsmen looked around, and no new holes were in evidence, and cheered again. They all thanked the traveler (who would someday have a great career in the field of tech support) and payed him a second time. The traveler once again went on his way, slowly shaking his head.

I tell the stories of the wise men of Gotham  to my kids in the car on road trips. These tales have been around for a very long time.