Friday, November 16, 2012

Frank Gasperik's Fable: The Magical $100 Bill

Before anything else, folks, go to to catch Ron Paul's farewell address to the House of Representatives.  Then consider the following story, told to me by the late Frank Gasperik.

Once upon a time in the old wild west, there was a rancher who had an old ranch-hand named Jack.  Jack worked hard and well, but he had a weakness for going into town afterwards and whooping it up in the local saloon.  The result was that Jack was always in debt.

One day the rancher sent Jack to deliver a large herd of steers to the stockyard and bring back the payment.  Jack faithfully delivered the steers and collected the pay in a sealed pouch, but then he just couldn't resist going to the saloon, where he added to his liquor bill and got into a poker game.  For once, luck was with Jack;  he won big -- and the loser paid him off with a new $100 bill. 

Jack studied the bill, thought a bit, and then went up to the saloonkeeper and said: "I know I've been owing you for a long time.  Take this to pay off what I owe ya, and keep the rest."  The saloonkeeper, delighted, thanked jack and took the bill, and hurried out.  Curious, Jack followed at a distance to see what happened to that bill.

The saloonkeeper went straight to the town storekeeper, handed him the bill, and said: "Here, this should catch me up for all the saloon supplies you've sold me on a promise.  If there's anything left over, keep it for the time it's taken me to pay you."  The storekeeper thanked him profusely, took the bill and hurried out, and the saloonkeeper went happily back to his place of business.  Jack now followed the storekeeper to see what he'd do.

The storekeeper promptly took the bill to the local drover, and paid off his debt for the transporting of the store's supplies -- and let him keep the change.  The drover went at once to the livery-stable owner, and gave him the bill to pay off overdue rent of his horses, and let him keep the change.  The livery-stable owner promptly saddled up and rode out to the farm that grew his horse-feed, and paid off the farmer what he owed for horse-feed -- with interest.  The farmer then saddled up and rode to the rancher -- Jack's employer -- and gave him that $100 bill to pay him for some cattle that the rancher had sold him, on credit, a few weeks before.

Jack waited, discreetly, until the farmer was out of sight, and then rode up to the ranch and gave his boss the sealed pouch with the pay and the bill of sale for the steers.  The rancher was pleased at the amount of money the steers had brought him, and he thought a bit, and then took Jack aside and said to him.  "Jack, you've worked hard and well for me for many years, and I've paid you well but never given you a bonus.  So here, take this as a token of my appreciation."  And he handed Jack that same $100 bill.  Then he added: "There've been some coyotes sneaking around the calf-pen, so if you wouldn't mind, would you take your rifle and go sit out with the calves tonight?"

"Sure thing," said Jack.  He tucked the $100 bill in his shirt pocket, took his rifle and gear, went out to the calf-pen, and set up camp on the far side of the pen to watch for coyotes.  He spotted a coyote sneaking around, out by the limits of the firelight, and shot at it.  The coyote yelped and ran away, and no other coyotes came near.

So Jack sat down by his campfire, cooked himself a pot of beans, ate supper, and then he pulled the $100 bill out of his pocket and looked at it.  He thought of all the places that bill had been that day, all the people it had made happy, all the debts it had paid off, and all the good it had done.  He considered how all the people in town could have swapped their debts directly to each other, but they hadn't known how to do it without that $100 bill.  Then Jack laughed softly, and threw the $100 bill into the fire, where it promptly burned to ashes.

...Because only Jack knew that that bill was counterfeit.


--Leslie <;)))><   )O(           


Paradoctor said...

Money is a placebo. It works because people believe in it.

Doragoon said...

Thermodynamics fail.

Prof. Godel Fishbreath, Otter said...

Same story was told using fairy gold that would turn to leaves upon sun rise. Likely old story, nice 'moral'.