* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we sometimes revisit the classics with disturbing results. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mark K. Metzger.

Aesop’s Fables

By: Mark K. Metzger

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

A Shepherd-Boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, kept trying to call his dog by crying, “Woof! Woof!” But the Villagers thought he was yelling “Wolf! Wolf!” and the Shepherd-Boy would laugh when they came running to help him. When the Wolf really did come at last and the Shepherd-Boy shouted “Wolf! Wolf!” none of the Villagers paid any attention. They thought he was crying “Woof! Woof!” So the Wolf ate all the sheep and most of the Villagers starved to death a couple months later. The Shepherd-Boy is still in therapy.

Moral: Learn to enunciate, particularly the soft consonants.


Androcles and the Lion

An escaped slave named Androcles came upon a Lion moaning and wailing with a huge thorn in his paw. Maybe it was a nail. Or maybe it was one of those old-style beer can pop-tops that actually came off the can. It could be. It’s an old story. Anyway, he got some damn thing in his foot. So Androcles pulled out the thorn (or the nail or the pop-top) (it doesn’t really matter). The Lion got up and licked Androcles’s hand like a dog. But then Androcles and the Lion both got captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion. Instead of attacking, the Lion went over and licked Androcles’s hand. Again. So the emperor freed Androcles and let the Lion loose. Then Androcles got enormously sick on some really, really bad Chinese food and died throwing up. I’m guessing it was the kung pao. The emperor had the moo shu pork and he lived to be, like, 90. The Lion wound up as a rug.

Moral: Don’t even think about the kung pao.


The Ant and the Grasshopper

One summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping to its heart’s content, when an Ant passed by, hauling an ear of corn. “Why not stay and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of killing yourself like that?” “I am helping lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant. “Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper. “There’s plenty of food.” But when the winter came, the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the Ants eating the corn they had collected in the summer.

Moral: Where’s the Raid?


The Fox and the Goat

A Fox fell into a deep well from which he could not get out. A Goat passed by shortly afterwards, and asked the Fox what he was doing down there. “Oh,” said the Fox; “there is going to be a great drought, so I jumped down here to be sure to have water. Why don’t you come down too?” The Goat thought and then jumped down into the well. Goats, sheesh. But the Fox immediately jumped on her back and managed to jump up to the edge of the well. “Good-bye, friend,” said the Fox, “remember next time.” Well, the Goat called a seismic geologist he knew and they discovered vast untapped reserves of natural gas beneath the well. The Goat got stinking rich and hired a bunch of rednecks to go beat the snot out of the Fox.

Moral: Always seek the advice of a reputable seismic geologist.


The Wind and the Sun

The Wind and the Sun were arguing over which was the stronger when they saw a Traveler coming down the road. The Sun said, “Whichever of us can cause that Traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger.” The Sun hid behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as he could. But the harder he blew the more closely did the Traveler wrap his cloak around him. At last the Wind gave up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone upon the Traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on. So he took it off. But it turns out he was buck naked underneath, so he got arrested for indecent exposure. Plus he got a sunburn all over, if you know what I mean.

Moral: Wear layered clothing.


The Horse and the Ass

A Horse and an Ass were traveling together, the Horse prancing along in its fine trappings, the Ass carrying with difficulty a heavy load of barley. “I wish I were you,” sighed the Ass, “nothing to do and well fed, and all those fine trappings upon you.” Next day, however, there was a great battle, and the Horse was mortally wounded. His friend the Ass happened to pass by shortly afterwards and found him lingering at the point of demise. “Tough beans, horsey,” said the Ass. “By the way, I’m gonna take your fine trappings, once you’re finished with the death spasms.”

Moral: Get a will, even if it’s one of those boilerplate jobs off the Internet.


The Farmer and the Stork

A Farmer placed nets on his newly-sown plowlands and caught a number of Cranes, which came to pick up his seed. Along with them he trapped a Stork, who beseeched the Farmer to spare his life. “Pray save me, Master,” he said, “I am no Crane, I am a Stork, a bird of excellent character.” The Farmer laughed aloud and said, “It may be all as you say, I only know this: I have taken you with these robbers, the Cranes, and you must die in their company.” Then he capped him.

Moral: Beats me. Probably some annoying nonsense about not eating seeds.


The Dog and the Shadow

It happened that a Dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it. On his way home he had to cross a bridge over a brook. As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath. Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he snapped at the shadow in the water, but as he opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water, and was never seen again.

Moral: Get a cat. Dogs are dumber than a bag of hammers. And they drool, for Chrissakes. Or get a ferret. Yeah, a ferret! They’re a lot cleaner than you think, even though they smell.


The Fox and the Crow

A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of kung pao chicken in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. “That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” said Master Reynard. “Good day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking today! How glossy your feathers, how bright your eye! I feel sure your voice, too, must surpass that of other birds! Let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds!” The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the kung pao fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox, who went off to his lair to devour the prize. But he got enormously sick and died throwing up. The Crow got a bit part in The Birds and parlayed it into a film career as a creepy extra in slasher flicks. She’s in a home for retired actors out in the Valley.

Moral: Were you not paying attention before? 


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we enjoy nothing more than a doomed 12th-century romance updated for modern times. Say hello to the strange, twisted mind of Mark K. Metzger.

Another Tuesday Night With Abélard & Héloïse

By: Mark K. Metzger

“Dearest Héloïse, cherished glory of my life, I have returned to this blessed domicile where God has anointed us to dwell!”

“Dearest Abélard, most precious jewel of my diadem, alas that the gloam long since has begun to cast its spectering shadow upon this earth. Mayhap it was in error that you vowed you would return ere this dark hour.”

“Dearest Héloïse, sweet nightingale of my spirit, there dare be naught that keeps this piteous soul from the side of his beloved in timely fashion, save the toil that daily cleaves me from your sublime presence.”

“Dearest Abélard, lofty parapet of my castle keep, would it not that he who governs your labor required such protracted exertions from my beloved each day that you travail!”

“Dearest Héloïse, noblest flower of all Christendom, that selfsame governor of whom you speak has verily opined that the accounts payable will not tender themselves.”

“Dearest Abélard, glowing sun of my firmament, might it not be that you have tarried to share of ardent spirits? Again.”

“Dearest Héloïse, cooing pigeon of my dovecote, pray vanquish such conceits as you may harbor in so distasteful a regard! Prithee let not such sordid utterances befoul your lips! Dearest Héloïse, treasure beyond counting, what repast have you readied in fond anticipation of my return?”

“Dearest Abélard, rapture of my bliss, it was my delight lately to secure a quantity of bâtonnets de poisson from Madame Paul.”

“Dearest Héloïse, archangel of my mortal heaven, my heart would leap like a hart at the very whisper of such a banquet had not we partaken of such fare lo these last several eventides. Would that the blessed Lord had bestowed upon us viands of such variety as would bring glory to His name.”

“Dearest Abélard, pincushion of my seamstery, had I but time enough to fashion such a panoply of earthly sustenance as would suit your pleasure! The privation you evince wounds me to the quick of my being.  Let us even so commence forthwith the evening’s refreshment.”

“Dearest Héloïse, nonpareil in female form, vouchsafe unto me yon ketchup. I am passing vexed that the hours of this day did not admit of your transit to the market square, where such an abundance of God’s plenty presents itself.”

“Dearest Abélard, baronet of my fief, I was engaged in absolving this hallowed abode of the sins of its squalor as I tenderly contemplated the arrival of my dear mater this Sabbath’s eve.”

“Dearest Héloïse, winsomest of God’s creations, it falls yet freshly upon these unready ears that such a tarriance would betide us.”

“Dearest Abélard, sounding brass to my tinkling cymbal, the sainted matriarch did convey such intention by her epistle this fortnight past. Perchance you failed to hearken to my communication of this advice, as the archery tourney was in that instant at play.”

“Dearest Héloïse, comeliest doe in the forest of my heart, my soul leaps like a frog in the slough that the materfamilias will bless us with her presence. Albeit she blessed us with such a sojourn this Whitsuntide last and, ere that, Maundy Thursday. Dearest Héloïse, most luscious grape of the vintner’s harvest, does it not befit us that we make merry forthwith, in prescience of her advent? Mayhap such gaiety might countenance our corporeal beings conjoined in the ultimate embrace?”

“Dearest Abélard, ferret of my bosom, would it not that my brow were yet again afflicted with noisome pain! I lament I must repair to the bedchamber for solace.”

“Dearest Héloïse, thistle of my heath, I shall repair thither anon. I yet seek news of this day’s jousts. Good night, Weezie.”

“Good night, Lardo. And prithee fail not to remove the detritus of our quotidian existence!  Recycling is on the morrow ”