intelligent interested

Writing exercise #2

There was once a young man, a very athletic young man. He played many sports, and he was good at them. He practiced constantly, morning to night, throwing, batting, running.

And because he worked so hard at his sport, he was always hungry. He ate, and ate, and ate! Whenever he wasn't playing, or practicing, he was eating. It was all right; he never got fat -- he burned it all off.

But in his quest to keep himself fed, he got more and more ambitious -- to the point that he decided to go "paleo", and bought an entire sheep from a farmer which he decided to roast, except for the bits he decided he would stew, and he would boil all the usually non-edible bits into soup.

A raven, attracted by the butchering of the sheep, took a keen interest.

"Hey," it said, sidling up to the young man. "Howzabout you give me some of that."

"Piss off," said the young man. "It's MY sheep. I bought it."

"You bought it?" asked the raven. "You humans buy things with money, right?"

"Yeah?" said the young man.

"Well, I know where there's a lot of money," said the raven. "One of you humans buried it, and then the area got flooded and he left, and he never came back for it. If I show you where it is, can I have some of that sheep?"

"Well, sure!" said the young man, because that seemed perfectly acceptable to him.

The raven was true to its word. It led the young man off across fields and to a swamp, then flew to a drowned tree and perched there. "Here," it said. "It was here."

"Don't mess with me, bird." The young man warned. The raven was somewhat offended, but confined itself to croaking a few insults in the Raven tongue, because it still wanted some of that sheep.

It took the young man considerable effort, and renting some rather specialised equipment -- but with quite a lot of wet digging, he did indeed find there was a lot of money buried at the roots of that tree. Quite an enormous trunk, in fact, and it was stuffed with paper money (which was actually somewhat soggy, but not yet rotted) and antique coins.

The young man was at least true to his word, as well. "Hey bird -- go ahead and take the rest of that sheep." And the raven was happy.

The young man didn't declare his find to anyone, though. (Obviously the raven knew, but it had little enough reason to converse with humans in the ordinary run of events.) Instead, the young man took his find home, and started to count his new wealth. With the antique coins, he ended up spending quite a bit of time researching on the internet, to find out how much they were really worth. He found he actually quite enjoyed counting up the values -- so much so that he abandoned his sports, and spent all day indoors, at the computer and with an adding machine and account books.

And that was the end of him, because he ate less and less, and exercised less and less, and lost all his muscle and became twig-thin and pale -- and eventually he died, rich but far younger than he should have, because the lack of activity and proper nourishment shaved years off his life.

The raven didn't know about any of that, and probably wouldn't have cared if it did, but it was rather sorry that the young man didn't come out again and buy more sheep.

The moral of this story (if it has to have one) is obviously: always help out talking animals, but don't get greedy.

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StoryCubes 22-04-2015