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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)

TITLE: The Tale of Kindly Fool
By James Wood


Once, there was a small village called Media, where a man named Kindly Fool lived. Kindly was a teacher and a writer, though considered very poor at both. He bored publishers with his submissions, which were riddled with big words and a shocking lack of explosions or sex. His teaching methods left much to be desired as well. He was nearly fired for making students answer test questions in essay form rather than multiple choice. The principle explained to him that, obviously, without the answer in front of them, how was the student to know the answer?

Kindly Fool had many disappointments and setbacks in his life, but the greatest was his attempts at solving the city’s sewage problem. Many years prior, there had been a great leader who had given the people ordinances for managing and maintaining the city. At first, people followed them religiously. However, over time, these ordinances came to be considered obligatory, then perfunctory, and finally optional.

When sewage workers began to complain of the rising smell they had to work in due to back-ups in the system, the city leaders decided that airing the system out would get rid of the problem. So, the valves were opened, releasing the imprisoned stink into the city. Of course, this accosted the poor people of Media like a punch in the face, but over time they got used to it.

Kindly Fool, however, was slower on the uptake. The stench stayed offensive to him, and he went immediately to the city library, ripping down the “Abandoned Building” sign, to try and research the problem and perhaps solve it. At the bottom of a mountain of dictionaries labeled “Too confusing”, Kindly found the great book of ordinances.

Taking the book up, he went straight to the Market Forum, a place where merchants, scam artists, and legitimate entertainers could operate freely. Kindly applied for an entertainer’s license to read his book aloud, but his reviewer, on hearing the material, informed him that he would have to reapply for a scam artist license. Kindly did so, and was quickly approved.

Up on his podium, Kindly began reading from his book. He covered everything, from valve covers to proper waste disposal. He even covered topics that had nothing to do with sewage. He talked about unheard of ideas, such as “love your neighbors”, and “don’t steal, or lie to each other”. A few listened, but a great crowd was gathering at another stand, the stand of the juggler.

The juggler was the most skilled artist in Media. He did backflips and never dropped a stick. Kindly himself was curious, and wandered over to see the juggler. To his shock, Kindly noticed that the juggler's deft hand would dart into their pockets and then dart into his own, robbing them. He tried to point this out to people around him, only to be looked at balefully for ruining their turn at being “jostled by the juggler”, as it was called.

Kindly returned to his stand, but now a small crowd followed the nay-sayer to heckle him. It was hard to convince them of the stink they suffered, for they’d long forgotten it. Kindly pointed out the raw sewage they were trudging through, and they pointed out his lack of boots in turn. The more he preached, the more Media despised him. They quickly became violent, and chased Kindly Fool out of their town.

Battered and beaten, poor Kindly shivered in the woods until he saw a light in the distance. Following it, he found a man at a fire who offered him a blanket and hot food. In the face of such generosity, Kindly told his whole tale to the stranger. The stranger did not react with any great surprise. He shocked Kindly by revealing that it was he who’d written the ordinances in the first place. Kindly asked him why he was no longer with the city, teaching them. The man responded that they’d thrown him out as well. Now, he had to wait for people to come to him. He sometimes sent messengers in, but too many were coming out badly beaten. He asked Kindly to join him, and Kindly accepted. He had to leave behind his things since, as the man told him, they would do a lot of walking.

Media eventually elected the juggler mayor. However, I think I shall end the tale of Media at that point, since the rest of their history is rather unentertaining.

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This article has been read 883 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Julie Arduini04/20/07
What a well written story that is certainly humorous, but a strong message to bear as well. I won't forget this one soon, well done.
Lynda Schultz 04/22/07
Good allegory. One little thing that caught my eye. "principle" should be "prinicpal", but that didn't detract from a job well done.
TJ Nickel04/24/07
Excellent storytelling. Be careful, drawing pictures this clear might count for 1,000 words and cause a DQ next time! This is quality writing throughout, with the best part for me being the pinpoint accuracy of character names - something that is often overlooked.
Rita Garcia04/24/07
You definitely have a way with words! A superb message, aptly interlaced with humor. Mastercrafted!
Sandra Petersen 04/24/07
Man, I knew students like those in your first paragraph, and at the college level, too.

Interesting tale, almost a parable. I guess the thing I would like to have seen was for you to describe a little more completely the offensive smell. Was it like cow manure, or worse? Let us see what you see and smell what you smell when you write this.

You have a good storytelling style as was mentioned in another comment. I thought the name of your MC, Kindly Fool, was particularly appropriate. A pleasure reading your tale.
Linda Germain 04/24/07
The saddest part of this "humor" piece is how excruciatingly right on target it is. The whole world is slogging through a stinking cesspool of sewage and not noticing its collective olfactory sense has gone with the wind! :0( Good writing and insightful teaching.
Jacquelyn Horne04/24/07
A different approach on humor. You found a way to tell a Bible truth without actually using scripture. I enjoyed this.
Helen Paynter04/24/07
Great allegory, skillfully constructed and very Biblical. I guess I'd have liked a little more 'showing.' But I enjoyed this very much.
Val Clark04/25/07
A well constructed fable. Very visual. Strong sense of place and chracter. Packed a punch. yeggy
Cheri Hardaway 04/25/07
Humorous and incredibly poignant. Masterfully written. It left me smiling in irony and sad for the state of affairs our world is in. I would have liked a bit more show and a little less tell, but this is a masterful piece nonetheless! Thanks, Cheri
Shari Armstrong 04/26/07
Some powerful teaching wrapped in a wry grin. Good job.
Bonnie Derksen04/26/07
Hmmm, this was very good.
I love reading allegories and the way they "settle" in the more I rethink them.
Kindly Fool and his desire for the ordinances will be remembered for being so much more than humor.
Glad to see you are in the Challenge.
Pat Guy 04/26/07
James I give you kudos on a very well written piece - good work. The humor must be passing right by me (not the irony) for I find this depressingly true. To me this story is truth woven in satire.

Excellent job.
Joanne Malley04/26/07
You have an interesting storytelling style. You draw from an unusual place that is quite unique - like an old-fashioned tale. Very nicely done. :) Blessings, Jo
Stevie McHugh04/27/07
A creative, well spun tale. Wonderful metaphor for life in present-day America. Great job.