Note: For another exciting modern fable, please click through to THE BIRD AND THE FRY.

The Stump and Two Determined Men

Once upon a time there was a palm tree. It was leading a happy palm tree life until one day it caught a disease. This was a terrible wasting disease and as time went on the palm tree became weaker and weaker. Then an even more devastating thing happened. A hurricane named after Fred Flintstone’s wife, Wilma, blew through the yard where the palm tree lived. It shuddered in the wind. Its fronds were torn to shreds. All around it bigger and healthier trees were falling down in the wind. Suddenly, the little palm could take it no more. With a horrible lurch it fell over.

Big men with bigger chainsaws cut up the little palm. All that was left was a stump. This was kind of coincidental because the name of the lady who used to live in the house behind the stump was named Stump. But I digress. Now a tree is a beautiful thing but a stump is not. One day a tall man from California came to stay in the house with the stump. “This is not a beautiful thing,” he thought to himself. “ I must remove this stump and replace it with a lovely new tree.” So the tall man dug around the stump. And dug some more and then some more. This attracted the attention of another man.

The second man said, “You cannot remove this stump. It is too hard.” But as the tall man made progress, the second man was swept up in the enthusiasm of stump removal. Because one true thing is that men like to do hard physical things together using tools. Especially using lots of tools. So the second man brought a pointy shovel, and then two hatchets. Then he sharpened his shovel so it would cut through the roots. Together these two men labored. For hours. “We cannot let the stump win!” they exhorted each other. Finally, with a mighty heave they tore what was left of the palm tree out of the hole. The men had their pictures taken with the stump. There was much jubilation.

The moral of this story is 1) Men are stubborn; 2) Two people working together can get a job done; or 3) It is fun to take pictures of grubby, sweaty men after they have triumphed over a small stump that took them all day to get out of the ground.

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