Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)
TITLE: The Tale of Kindly Fool
By James Wood
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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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