Thursday, March 3, 2011
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Time to Get Medieval on This Trade
Tune in next year for the exact same thing! And the year after that, too!
Good morning, hockey fans! Last week we rearranged dozens of electrons on your computer screens to give you an inside look at what goes on in a real trade; this week, we're doing the exact opposite! No, not with protons: and yes, I'm positiv--wait, what? We're going to take a look back at the Stars' Non-Trade That Never Was, using most up-to-the-minute technologically advanced method available -- medieval allegory. So prithee, join us on a most bodacious adventure, as we follow the trials of one Joseph the New in his Quest to Stop Getting Harassed About His Sword.
(In a medieval village, far, far away...)
Joseph the New: "Ah, what a fine day it is his morning! Perfect for taking my beautiful new sword out for a walk down to the tournament grounds! O happy day!
(Joseph begins his short walk to the tourney, but is stopped by a hairy, naked ogre standing outside a richly-adorned tent)
Naked Ogre: "Arrrggguuuhhh!! Who dares travel past my richly-adorned tent without offering me undeserved compliments?"
Joseph: "Why, it's my former master, Brian Broke! Are you heading up with me to the tourney grounds this fine morning?"
Brian Broke: "What, and compete for a prize?? Can't they see my tent? Such luxury! I should be given the prize, without having to soil my amazing array of weaponry!"
Joseph: "But didn't you once compete, and win, and take home that day's glory?"
Brian Broke: "Ay, but I had a much larger shield than I have now. Say, that's a nice sword you have there."
Joseph: "Ay, it's the best one in my collection. I dub it 'Richard the Lionsticker'."
Brian Broke: "Give it here, then."
Joseph: "I'd rather keep it, for this morning's tourney."
Brian Broke: "Give it to me!! Look at my tent! So richly adorned! Your tent is shabby by comparison. But to be fair, you may have one of my own swords in exchange."
(Joseph looks over the ogre's collection, but sees nothing more than a dozen wooden spoons and kitchen sponges crammed into jeweled sword-sheaths.)
Joseph: "Alas, you do not have any swords the equal of my own. I'm afraid I will be on my way."
Brian Broke: "HUURRRRGGHHH!!"
(Joseph the New continues on his way, before getting waylaid by an old crone at a second tent littered with broken bits of metal and bone)
Old Crone: "Ah, young man with your shiny sword, come near!"
Joseph: "Why, it's Anita Shero, another former champion of the tourney! Hullo there!"
Anita Shero: "That's a fine sword you have there, though not quite the equal of two of mine own."
Joseph: "You are most fortunate! Where are these two fine swords that you speak of so highly?"
Anita Shero: "Why, right here."
Joseph: "Hmm, but it would seem both of those swords are broken at the hilt."
Anita Shero: "Yes, well, I think I can repair one of them before this morning's tourney. If not, I still have one of the finest collections of shields anywhere in the village."
Joseph: "I see you have a happy abundance of shields here. May I have that shiny one over there?"
Anita Shero: "Which one, that one?"
Joseph: "No, the one hidden behind those four larger ones. Ay, that's the one."
Anita Shero: "I'll be needin' something in trade, now. How about that nice heavy axe you've got there on your belt?"
Joseph: "Well, ma'am, this heavy axe, which I affectionately call The Real Deal, compliments my shiny sword terribly, and I'd be loathe to part with it for any cost."
Anita Shero: "Well, how about you throw in that thing hiding behind your back?"
Joseph: "You mean this wet paper bag filled with dog droppings? But why would anyone want this? I inherited it, and it has been my curse to bear."
Anita Shero: "Ay, I'll take it with the heavy axe for my forgotten shield."
Joseph: "O happy day!"
(Joseph the New dons his shiny new shield, and walks farther down the road to the tourney grounds, when he is accosted by a well-coifed wizard in a golden castle.)
Well-Coifed Wizard: "You there! You must hand me that sword!"
Joseph: "Why, it's none other than Glen of House Slatherin! Hullo there!"
Glen Slatherin: "You must give me that beautiful sword you're carrying, lad, and quickly now! The tourney starts soon!"
Joseph: "I am loathe to part with it, as it would help me win this morning's tourney, but I am willing to hear what you have to offer in trade."
Glen Slatherin: "Trade? Look upon my golden castle! And look upon your pitiful tent! You cannot afford the polish needed to make that sword shine!"
Joseph: "Actually, sir, I have kept this fine sword adequately polished since I inherited it, and intend to do so even after the morning's tourney."
Glen Slatherin: "But you cannot possibly afford the amount of polish required for a sword of that magnificence! Whereas I, in this golden castle, am the only one who could possibly lavish that sword with the requisite amount of polish!"
Joseph: "That seems logical enough, I suppose. I see you have a particularly nice shield there, and a nice sword there, and one or two piles of fine-quality steel for making excellent future swords. I will gladly take those in trade for this magnificent sword."
Glen Slatherin: "What?! Are you out of your wits? I'm not going to give you my finest shield, my nicest sword and my piles of fine steel for a sword that might break during the tourney! And what if, tomorrow morning, I cannot afford the polish required for such a magnificent sword? You, sir, ask too much of this poor wizard."
Joseph: "But your golden castle! I thought you said--"
Glen Slatherin: "You forget, sir, that the polish merchants have also seen my golden castle, and charge me three times the normal rate for my weapons. Hence, the uncertainty. However, I can give you this nice little spring-loaded dagger in exchange."
(Glen Slatherin shows him a small, excessively-jeweled dagger hilt. He presses a button, and a miniscule, rusty blade pops out.)
Glen Slatherin: "It is one of the prizes of my collection. I call it Seal Ovary."
Joseph: "Ah, sir, your hand is bleeding badly."
Glen Slatherin: "Ay, when you press the button, a much larger, sharper blade doth slice through your palm. Still, a fine weapon, is it not?"
Joseph: "It looks strangely familiar. Still, if I cannot hope to acquire your best shield and such and such, I must be on my way to this morning's tourney. Good day, sir."
(Joseph the New was now very close to the tourney grounds, and feeling more confident with each step, until he is waylaid a fourth and final time by a dashing man dressed in purple finery.)
Dashing Man: "Out of my path, knave!"
Joseph: "Why, it's none other than my neighbor, Dean the Lame Bard! Hullo there!"
Dean the Lame: "I see that you, too, are headed to this morning's tourney, but are directly in my own path."
Joseph: "That does seem to be a problem for you, for I had heard that you would be way out in front of me by now, what with your superior weaponry that is the envy of the entire village."
Dean the Lame: "Ay, every morning I woo the village idiots with exaggerated tales of my marital prowess, but alas, more times than not, I do not even make it to the tourney grounds themselves."
Joseph: "Were you not there yesterday morning?"
Dean the Lame: "Ay, but for a mere moment, before politely excusing myself. However, if I had that magnificent sword you hold there, I would surely advance far in the tourney ranks, before politely excusing myself. You must give it to me."
Joseph: "I do not want to part with it, but I will hear what you have to offer in trade."
Dean the Lame: "How about this, my peerless greatsword The Dekopitator? You will find no equal anywhere in this village."
Joseph: "Ah, but that is merely a dull dagger made to look larger with the aid of that mirror you hold! What else can you offer?"
Dean the Lame: "I have the legendary greataxe, Brown Dust, the envy of the village! An unfair trade to me, but I will accept it nonetheless."
Joseph: "Ah, but that axe's hilt is covered with slippery grease, and I fear it would fall to the ground like a bag of lead the instant I wielded it. What about that fine, unpolished sword you have hidden behind your--"
Dean the Lame: "Absolutely not."
Joseph: "A shame. I have one quite like it at my own tent. A pity we could not do business, but I must be on my way, the tourney grounds draw near."
Dean the Lame: "But your sword! You have not given it to me for next-to-nothing! Are you not worried that the village idiots will make japes of you for not disposing of your fine sword before entering the tourney?"
Joseph: "I'm not sure I follow you, sir."
Dean the Lame: "Why, trading swords is a time-honored tradition! In fact, twice in the last thirty mornings, he who traded for the best sword before entering the tourney won the prize!"
Joseph: "Ah, and this has happened just twice in the last thirty days, this trading of swords so close to the grounds?"
Dean the Lame: "No, hundreds of times."
Joseph: "Ah, but those are terrible odds!"
Dean the Lame: "Yes, but at least you won't get made fun of by the village idiots. Trust me, nothing could be worse!"
Joseph: "But don't these village idiots understand that my only wish is to win glory and renown in the tourney, and that their japes and jests mean nothing to me?"
Dean the Lame: "The finer points of your convoluted logic are lost to them. Ah! A large, shiny object covered in oil! I shall be veering from my path now."
Joseph: "Fare thee well, purple bard, altho in truth I would very much like to meet him and his inflated weaponry in the tourney. Come, now, my fine sword, we are nearly at the grounds, and full of brim and gusto. Right ho!"
(To be continued...)