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Old April 6th, 2017, 08:54 PM   #1
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Political Satire: The Old Man of the Mountain (3)

Narrator: By nightfall, the priest came to a thatched cottage. After knocking at the door, an elderly man came out. The priest asked him to let him lodge in the house for the night. The owner agreed, saying he had a spare room for any weary traveller who knocked at his door. Inside the house, he found an elderly woman sawing a broken table.

Elderly man: My wife is busy sawing off the table legs.

Priest: I suppose you are turning your broken table into firewood.

Elderly man: No

Priest: Then you are making a new piece of furniture out of the old.

Elderly man: Let me explain to you. Two days ago, we were carrying this old broken table to a garbage dump at a nearby forest. On the way, we met a young man who offered a high price for the table. He was my former neighbour but moved to another village after a fight with my brother. At first I thought he was off his nut, but on second thought I told him we needed time to consider his offer. I told him to meet us at the same time and place next day for our reply.

After carrying back the table, we examined it thoroughly but found nothing special and valuable about it. Suddenly I recalled that my brother had walloped him with a stick about the length of a table leg during the fight. I came to the conclusion that the table legs could be used as offensive weapons if he plans to fight with my brother again. We met him yesterday and informed him of our decision to sell him the table minus the legs. He agreed to meet us again at the same time and place tomorrow to close the deal.

Narrator: The priest lodged in the house for the night. Out of curiosity, he followed them to meet the "crazy" buyer. The deal was closed without hitch. After the couple left for home, the priest asked the young man why he was willing to pay a high price for the table top.

Young man: The tables made by his late grandfather were much treasured by the villagers and fetched a very high price in the market. I should be thankful to him for removing the table legs which are partly consumed by termites. As the table top is still in good condition, I can get a carpenter to replace the legs later on.

Narrator: The priest offered to help the young man carry the table top home. Somewhere near his house, the young man tripped over a rock. As both men fell onto the ground, a packet of cards fell out from the young man's pocket.

Priest: Oh, you are a gambler. So am I.

Young man: Where do you come from?

Priest: I came all the way from the plain.

Young man: It may be an exaggeration to call your homeland a "land of gamblers". However, people in other regions have been busy building "walls of casinos" around your region. I feel hot and sweaty after walking a long way in the hot sun. Do you like to have a game of cards while washing away not only the sweat but the dirt which we get from the fall?

Priest: Good idea, but how are we going to do it?

Narrator: The young man led him to a nearby mountain pool. Standing in their underwear with the table top floating between them, they had a game of cards while bathing in the pool. The young man was not so lucky that day. He had not only paid a high price for the table top but lost a lot of money in the gambling.

Priest: Okay, it's time to stop our enjoyment. Before leaving, I shall return half of my winnings to you. The other half is enough to cover the rest of my journey.

Narrator: The young man was glad to get back half of his loss from the priest. After carrying the table top up from the pool, they put on their clothes. As the young man carried the table top towards his house, the priest said jokingly, "Maybe it's better to leave the table top as it is without the legs, so that you can enjoy a game of mahjong with your friends during your bath in the pool every day."

After bidding farewell, the priest continued his journey to the Mountain.


********************* The End ***********************
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