Political Satire: The Old Man of the Mountain (32)

Jun 2013
Narrator: The priest turned and continued his journey to the old man's mountain fortress. After sometime, he came to an apple orchard. He looked around and found that all the trees were full of golden apples. He saw a young lady carrying a spade beside a tree. He assumed that she was the owner of the orchard.

Priest: Are you the owner of the orchard?

Young lady: Yes.

Priest: May I get an apple from your orchard?

Young lady: It's the apple picking season. My orchard is always opened to the public. You are welcome to pick an apple from any tree here.

Priest: May I pick the apple that is nearest to me?

Young lady: Yes, go ahead.

Priest: This apple looks good. I can't wait to take a bite. Ewww, it's rotten. May I pick another apple?

Young lady: Yes, make sure you choose a good one this time.

Narrator: The priest, accompanied by the lady, walked around the orchard to pick the best apple he could find. He found that all the apples were alike. They were sparkling gold and of the same size. Finally he picked an apple from one of the trees.

Priest: I hope I am lucky this time. Argh, it's just as rotten! Can I pick another apple?

Young lady: Nobody has ever picked more than two apples from this orchard. If you don't believe, try for yourself.

Narrator: The priest tried to pick another apple. No matter how hard he pulled, he could not pluck an apple from any tree. He even used his sword, but he could not cut any apple from the trees. Finally he gave up trying and asked the lady.

Priest: Are all the apples rotten here?

Young lady: No, there are thousands of good apples on the trees.

Priest: Since there are so many good apples in your orchard, why are you so cheapskate as to give me only two rotten apples?

Young lady: You have all the freedom to pick the best apples here, yet you end up picking two rotten fruits. Don't blame your bad luck on me.

Priest: Where is this place?

Young lady: It's the Orchard of Democracy.

Priest: May I know your name, please?

Young lady: Columbia.

Narrator: After telling her name, the lady gradually melted into thin air. Meanwhile all the trees gradually shrank and sank into the ground. When the last tree disappeared from view, a sudden gust of wind rose from the ground and roared like the laughter of thousands of invisible beings in the air.

After the wind died down, the priest found himself squatting in the middle of a wasteland. He began throwing up yellow foam and several wriggling worms. After taking a rest on the roadside, he resumed his journey.

On the way, he tried to figure out what had happened. He concluded that it was a ruse by the Old Man of the Mountain to weaken him before their duel.