"Sed fortuna, quae plurimum potest cum in reliquis rebus tum praecipue in bello, parvis momentis magnas rerum commutationes efficit; ut tum accidit."

C. Iulius Caesar - Commentarii de Bello Civili Bk III.68

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bears, honey and mice - an alternative fairy tale

There once were twenty-six bears that lived in a rather nice house called The Curia down in the depths of the woods.

One Saturday morning some of the bears decided that as everything was tidy in the house they could set off for a quiet stroll through the woods while their breakfast cooled. They left two bears fast asleep in their beds, or so they thought.

On their return the bears were shocked to find that the door to The Curia had been kicked down. In fact there was so little left of the door that the bears wondered if the NRA had raided them looking for trophies. They just stood looking at the remains of their nicely polished and maintained entrance; slivers of wood and broken shards of glass lay everywhere. Fearfully the bears peered in expecting to find the bullet-ridden corpses of their two co-occupiers, but there was no sign of them.

Stepping into The Curia the bears looked in each room. In the dining room they found five extra places had been set. They tip-toed upstairs to the bedrooms of the other bears, where the shock of their lives awaited them. In a bedroom that was meant to be vacant they found a large pot marked “Censorial F avoured Honey”.

This was in fact “Censorial Flavoured Honey” which all the bears had only handed out in the past after a communal meeting of the House Council. Obviously someone had scratched out the missing “l” on the label. As they looked into the pot the bears saw a mouse squirming and wriggling in sticky gloop that was their pride and joy. They went and checked four other vacant bedrooms and to their increasing dismay they found in each, a similarly defaced pot complete with mouse.

The bears were now quite irritated but at the same time puzzled as to how the mice had destroyed the front door, they were just mice after all, so ignoring them they went to look for the missing two bears. When they opened the door of one of the bears, who was in fact a polar bear, they found them both sitting on the floor with a deck of cards dealt between them. Each card had a name of a mouse on. When asked what they were doing and what the mice were doing in the honey pots, one of them, a real GEM of a bear, replied that they were nice mice and they deserved a swim in the honey.

One of the bears said “So let me get this straight, behind our backs, without even a hint of what you were going to do, you smashed our door down and let these mice into our house? These wouldn’t be the same mice that help fund your rent here would they?"

The GEM bear roared out “You're obviously angry, and as obviously have no damn idea what you're talking about. Whose favors do you think were returned?”

Another bear said “What are you doing with all those cards?”

GEM said without a hint of embarrassment or guilt “Right now I'm in the position of horse trading.”

Polar Bear said nothing, but then he rarely did.

The other bears just sat down wearily on the floor and watched as GEM and Polar kept gambling away. Apparently they were going to parcel out the remaining rooms in The Curia, until it would be so full that the walls would bulge. It seemed certain that GEM wanted to move all these new tenants in so that he could command a majority on the House Council and be allowed to stay top bear for the remainder of his life.

So children, do you think that the Bears sorted out their differences and lived happily ever after? Well the end of this story has yet to be written, but it seems certain that GEM bear will continue handing out pots of honey to his friends.

What a marvellous Patron GEM is. I wish I were a mouse, don’t you children?