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The Wise Men of Gotham


"... ...Now this next story we had in our school book is called The Wise Men of Gotham, and Gotham was a place over in England years and years and years ago. And those days the Kings ruled the place...and everybody in this town of Gotham they had to pay taxes to the King to keep the country going the same as they pay taxes today. So, one day they heard that the King was coming to their town of Gotham and he was going to raise the taxes and he was going to make them pay more money in to help them keep the country going. So these men of Gotham, they got together and they had a meeting and said, "Now look, if we act - when the King comes here in the morning  - if we act as though we’re crazy or foolish or silly maybe he wont tax us." So, they decided that’s what they’d do; they’d do silly things and crazy things and they wouldn’t maybe get any more tax put on.


So, the next morning the King came there, him and his helper, and they was walking along and they saw a man trying to roll a great big rock up the hill. He had, oh, a big rock and he was behind it and trying to roll it up the hill. So the King stopped and he said, “Why are you trying to roll that rock up the hill?" “Well,"  he said, “I’m rolling it up the hill so the sun will come up.” So the King said to him, “Well, don’t you know that the sun will come up anyway?” And this man of Gotham made out he was stupid and dumb and he said, “Will it?" And he said, "Yea, the sun will come up anyway!" Well the man said, "Thank you. You are a very smart man to know that all that!" So the King went on a little ways further and he saw a man pulling himself up by his boot straps. And he said, "Why are you trying to lift yourself by your boot straps?" He said, "Oh, I’m trying to lift myself up in the air so I can walk in the air!” And the King said to him, "Well, my man, don’t you know you're pushing down as much as you’re pulling up?" He said, “You can’t lift yourself up by your boot straps!" And this other man said, "Really?" He said, "No you can't." "Well I didn’t know that, you must be very wise man to know all that!" So the King went on a little ways farther and he met a man and the man had a door on his back off his house. So the King stopped him and he said to this man, “Where you going with that door?” And the man said, "Why, I left my money in the house and I’m going down town and I took the door with me so thieves couldn’t break the door down and get my money." So the King said to him, “Well my dear man, don’t you know that they wouldn’t have to break the door down; they could walk right in your house where you took the door off!" And the man said, “Well I never thought of that” He said, "You must be a smart man to know all that.”


So wherever the King went that day he found the people doing these silly stupid tricks and he went to the mayor of the town and he told they mayor of the town that he wouldn’t raise the taxes any because the people was a little bit mentally retarded and he’d let the taxes go the way they were. So after he left the town why the people all go together and had a great laugh because they fooled the King and made out they was stupid and crazy and they weren’t stupid and crazy. ... ..."