Once there was this lemming who convinced a bunch of other lemmings to put on some blindfolds and follow him around. These lemmings hated lemmings with squeaky voices and this one guy, let’s call him Stu, did not have a squeaky voice. A bunch of the squeaky lemmings said, hey, maybe that’s not such a good idea. But all those squeaky-hating lemmings were all, what do you know, squeakers, poo! The squeaky lemmings just sort of rolled their eyes. They weren’t so concerned at first. But then a LOT of lemmings started putting on blindfolds and rushing around after Stu. Including rushing near this massive cliff at the bottom of which were rushing rocks and resounding locks and crashing clocks of coastal turbulence (it was the infamous seacoast, after all, upon which many creatures and mariners had lost their lives). Soon the squeaky lemmings were squeaking as loud as they could, look! for the love of god just take your blindfolds off! You’re all going to die! But those blindfolded lemmings just chortled and pulled their blindfolds on more tightly. It was just so satisfying to irritate those squeaky lemmings, I guess. Stu kept shouting about how great everything was and how everyone could take their blindfolds off as soon as they got where they were going, but they never seemed to get anywhere, just rushing back and forth, getting closer and closer to the edge of that terrifying cliff. Some of the squeaky lemmings just covered their eyes, it was too scary! They also tried to tell the blindfolded lemmings that Stu was blindfolded too, but the blindfolded lemmings just screamed that they were liars, even though they were getting a little dizzy from all the running back and forth. Finally, inevitably, all the blindfolded lemmings ran over the edge of the cliff, tumbled down among the crashing rocks and surf, and died.
Moral: Everyone knows that lemmings don’t really rush off cliffs, in spite of that staged bullshit in a Disney nature documentary and that ancient, popular video game, but it goes way, way back beyond that.
Another moral: Just because you hate someone, that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
Long ago (at least last Tuesday) a Baron Von Vetteler demanded a large soup be filled with apes. To be clear, the apes weren’t cooked in the soup. They were added later. (It was a very large tureen and its top was shaped like a blowfish riding a unicorn.) The apes weren’t too keen on being in the soup, even though Baron V.V. had thoughtfully added a hint of banana to it and given them all banana-shaped beach balls to play with. It was a soup tureen full of cranky apes and that’s the truth! No one told the Baron any of this was a bad idea, because his money had purchased their silence and tacit approval. Still, pretty much everyone had thought it was a terrible idea from the start. If anyone had asked the apes, they would’ve said so too. Next week: cats in a mulligatawny stew.
Moral: If you’re not mocking the ridiculousness of the wealthy at every turn, you’re doing it wrong.
Additional moral: You have to be a pretty great ape to stoically put up with being put in a soup tureen with banana-shaped beach balls.
Once upon a time there was a vagabond who was possibly also a scallywag. This vagabond wondered and wandered hither and yon, taking in the sights, rolling over and under hills and vales, generally avoiding the affordances and moral and ethical conundrums posed by the peoples of the farms and cities. The vagabond (who might’ve been a scallywag) once met a baboon hiding under a tree trunk and at first there was much screeching and to and froing, but eventually things settled down and they had teatime on an old mouldy stump.
Moral: Just because you’re a vagabond (or maybe a scallywag) doesn’t mean you can’t resolve your differences in a civilized way.
It was winter. It was cold. It was wet. It was almost snowing, but not quite. And the sun had gone packing off to, er, sunnier climes. The bear was hiberating. The rabbit was hibernating. The wolf was hibernating. The marmot was hibernating. The long haired guinea pig was hibernating. The hedgehog was hibernating. The earthworm was hibernating. The people were scurrying around trying to get stuff done, some of them miserable in wet socks and trousers. At least a couple had left their brelly at home.
Moral: On some of these winter days, hibernation sure does sound nice.
Once there was a monster called the Mumpler. The Mumpler basically constantly screeched things that everyone knew to be false. At first it was just an annoyance, really just a headache inducing scrawp. Some people just wanted to eat breakfast, but it was tough to enjoy the buckwheat pancakes with marionberry syrup with a side of bacon and a fruit cup with all that nonsense screaming by. The Mumpler sure bounced around a lot and seemed especially agitated when no one was paying it any mind. Some people tried reasoning with the Mumpler, providing evidence for things like, you know, left being left and black being black and other things like that. Really, they couldn’t even get a word in edgewise. To everyone’s horror, soon there were some people who thought that Mumpler was all right, wearing “white” shirts and dangerously signaling the opposite turn direction when driving. There were still others who, wanting to appear fairminded, discussed the possible merits of blue being red or zero being one. This was enough to get people to tear their hair out, not literally, but still. Finally, they decided they had enough. They used a shrink ray to shrink the Mumpler down to a manageable size and then stuck him in a sound-proofed terrarium. They weren’t monsters. There was plenty to eat in there. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Except for all the people in the “white” shirts, of course.
Moral: Sometimes it sure would be nice to have a science fictional solution to one’s problems.
Once upon a time an idea for a fable occurred to me while I was stepping into the shower. Instead of writing the idea down, I took a shower instead (cat sitting stoically nearby). I thought that I would (of course) remember the marvelous idea–it seemed so memorable! The thought of it had made me smile. Perhaps it involved a pirate or a wombat or a robot made of matroshka nesting dolls. Or maybe the idea led with a funny character name like Nebood Farmalpoops or Brestige Nickelwomper. Or maybe the idea led with a moral such as “Moral: Maybe next time listen to your mother.” or “Moral: You can always dig yourself deeper.” Anyway, I took a shower, got distracted by coffee, and only hours later remembered that I had come up with an idea I loved that I then completely forgot about.
Moral: Some ideas are worth writing down so that you don’t have to rely on your brain to remember it.
Once there was a shoemaker. (Name of Barrister, go figure.) This shoemaker was a real dab hand at making shoes. Just shoes of all varieties, materials, and colors. Her real specialty, though, were simple, longlasting, durable, plain, comfortable shoes. Pretty much entirely ignored by the fashionable set, but highly prized by those who valued ache-free feet.
One day her friend the Haberdasher (went by Toothpuller of the Eastern Toothpullers) needed a whole mess of hats moved into a new hat warehouse. Toothpuller wondered if Barrister could make her a sign letting people know about the new hat emporium, so to speak.
The shoemaker made the sign, because the haberdasher was such a good friend. Unfortunately, neither of them noticed the address was missing from the sign until much later.
Moral: Sometimes you’re much better off hiring the right person for the job at the start.
Once there was this jungle. It was kind of shady. Also, there were tigers in it. People sort of wandered around and picked fruit and berries and sometimes built treehouses and then swung vines between them. Everyone was having a pretty fun time swinging between the treehouses. Sometimes the vines would break or you would swing to a treehouse that wouldn’t end up being there anymore, but that was mostly ok, because there were a lot of treehouses. Some of them were pretty fancy, with bright flashy lights and spinning signs and sometimes just a lot of construction work that never seemed to end. Even though there were always new people showing up, it always seemed like there was enough room for everybody. Then, one day, this walled garden showed up. People who swung into there tended not to swing out again. I mean, they could leave, there was nothing nefarious there, but they did tend to stick around. There was so much fruit to eat in that walled garden. It was so sweet! But, you know, it didn’t seem very filling. And some of the fruit seemed sweet at first, but then led to some real digestive issues later. Yikes! Still, it seemed like kind of a “friend garden” because it seemed like your friends were already there already. Also, since they were just hanging out there people just kind of started to work in that garden. The work mostly involved moving fruit from one side of the garden to the other. Sometimes someone would try to build a sort of on-the-ground treehouse, but those never seemed to work out. For some reason. One day this monkey just started throwing shit into the garden. And then it seemed like a LOT of monkeys started throwing shit into the garden. People just sort of shrugged and kept on hanging out in the garden. The fruit didn’t taste nearly as good, because it had shit on it. Yuck! Then everyone realized, boy, we shouldn’t be blaming monkeys, it was really just someone in this garden dressed in a monkey suit! Some people had been swinging outside in the jungle (remember that?) this whole time. They were still having a pretty good time, hanging out in treehouses and stuff. Occasionally, they tried to let people in the garden know how fun it was.
Moral: Why work in someone else’s garden, when you can swing through the trees with the greatest of ease?
Once there was this hacker. She was so good at computer things it was insane. Like, people literally thought they were going insane watching her typing away at a computer, there’d be like these visual artifacts swirling around, vision zooming in and out like an out of control music video director, this feeling that time was fragmenting and sharding out into these teeny weeny pieces, these just throbbing bass notes and wild keytar riffs, and at the end of it, in what felt like seconds, she’d swivel around in her chair, and boom!, it’d already be done. One time Horatio Moonbats watched her “hack” a Gooseberry 7000 Mainframe (in the cloud, obvs (literally in the clouds, even more obvs)) and then when she swiveled around triumphantly, all H.Moonbats saw was a mongoose, looking very self-satisfied to be sure.
Moral: I didn’t say she couldn’t hack reality, too.
Once upon a time there was an owl who had astigmatism. This made swooping and pouncing on small rodents pretty tough. The owl was pretty sad, because he didn’t like eating toast at all. Not even with marionberry jam. Also he kept flying into tree branches or flinching away from non-existent ones. He put off going to the eye doctor for months. Really, just the longest time. Too proud maybe or perhaps there was a bit of fear there or just an aversion to “eye stuff”. But finally, after the third time pouncing on a dog toy in one night, he went to the eye doctor. It wasn’t fun. Imagine you’re an owl and then you get your eyes dilated. Yeesh! The owl spent a really long time picking out frames. Were the yellow horn rims more him than the indigo rounds or the rectangle wire frames? (Being a horned owl, he thought maybe the horn rims might be a little too much horn?) Finally, he settled on these classy aviator glasses with a rose-colored tint on the lenses. Very stylish! said the mouse as he swallowed it whole.
Moral: Style aside, it’s tough to stay on target when your vision is fucked.