The Old Fibberian recites some classic fables

Scott Gardner


The Tortoise and the Wallaby

Tortoise and Wallaby were discussing the laws of Nature. Tortoise argued, “Apples do not fall down from trees; they fall at—usually at me. And not only that, but when ants are frightened, they start running left foreleg first. That is why the World is as it is.”

Wallaby smiled. “I’m not convinced,” she said. “If apples only fell at, then they wouldn’t be falling. They’d simply be where they are, and nowhere else! For instance, every night at 7:00 my parents are at home, at the controls of the TV, watching CSI: Miami on SKY Perfect. There is no other possible place in the world they could be at that time. At is where it’s at, and nothing more!”

Confused momentarily by Wallaby’s dizzying logic (and again later at 7:00 that evening), Tortoise recovered his wits and challenged his clever friend. “What about the ants?” Wallaby replied, “That’s simple, silly Tortoise. Ants don’t run. They march. Marching always initiates on the left foot. They’re not running; they’re simply marching double-time!”

Tortoise, again flummoxed by Wallaby’s superior wisdom, decided to quietly nudge her tail into a nearby snake hole and ask one final question. “Ok, answer this then, Joey-girl. When Snake takes a bath, which side does he wash first?” Wallaby, sensing a riddle, answered with a smile, “Why, his outside!” Tortoise pretended not to hear. “What?” “His outside,” repeated Wallaby. “Sorry?” “Snake’s outside!” she screamed, pounding the dirt with her long feet in frustration. But by then Tortoise was safely hiding in his shell, and Snake was on his way out to see who was paying him such a rude visit. The End.

MORAL: Tortoises and wallabies live by a different set of values than humans. Don’t take their behavior as representative of anything you yourself should do.

The Ferry and the Wind

One day a ferry was cheerfully tugging across a beautiful emerald bay toward a small island of about 45 people who were currently petitioning the government for another multi-billion-yen bridge project linking the island to the mainland, because the previous project had unfortunately been built sideways, owing to the suspect engineering of its Dadaist architect. But that’s another story.

The little ferry enjoyed making these island trips every day, and had never encountered any trouble, apart from the constant nagging of seagulls on its stern and one run-in with a Greenpeace pontoon boat, which had turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

But today the Wind was feeling mischievous. It looked down on the ferry and said to itself, “Hmm, I wonder if I can make that little boat turn around and go home.” So the Wind began to blow against the ferry in the water. Well, this little ferry was no pushover, so it tugged harder against the Wind. The more the Wind blew, the more the ferry pushed. This struggle went on and on all day, until both realized that all the water had been blown out of the beautiful emerald bay, and the ferry was now sitting on the muddy sea bottom.

The Wind was horrified at what it had done. “I’m so sorry,” it said, “I’ll make things right. Wait right here while I blow the water back into your beautiful emerald bay.” The Wind was about to go find some water, when it heard a tiny voice from the deck of the ferry. “Excuse me, Mr. Wind,” said a young girl whose eyes could barely see over the railing, “but before you blow all the water back into our beautiful emerald bay, would you mind waiting until I’ve found my bicycle key? I accidentally dropped it overboard last week.” The End.

MORAL: When the wind begins to blow, make it an excuse for all of your own personal failings.