William and the Ladder

Once upon a time, there lived a wee lad with his mum. This lad was thirty-five years old and his name was William. He liked to think of himself as Sir William, knight of the kingdom, bane of the demons and savior of the masses. William was a very delusional thirty-five year old boy, for he was the poorest, most filthy organism in all of the kingdom. This included the birds, fish and insects.

The reason his family was so poor was due to the bad economy of the kingdom and the lack of opportunities to climb the ladder to Success. Said ladder was only large enough and sturdy enough for one person to use it at a time. Because he was so filthy, he was continuously being pushed to the end of the line. No one wanted to stand next to a boy with rat-infested hair. He doesn't have that issue anymore, though. Now not even rats consider his hair a refuge.

William's mother grew more and more distressed with the passing of time and even had to get a job as a servant (Usually a job only gnomes would perform) in order to support her family. William ate enough for seven grown men, and so not even this extra income helped them any. One day, William's mother became very angry at her thirty-five year old son and told him to take their only cow to the market and get the best price he could for it. William complained, proclaiming that he was playing tidily winks and would finish the trivial task his mother set him when he was done. His mother would hear none of this and seemed adamant that her son should not hear either, as she yanked him by the ear, dragged him outside their run-down shed and slammed the door in his face.

William scuffed to the barn and had no choice but to take the cow to the market. William sighed, he had no idea where the market was, he had never been there. Until this point, all the thirty-five year old boy had ever done was play silly games with his school friends and eat his mother's cooking. It was morning and the sun was beginning to rise. He heard his mother once say she was "Going west to get the best," when she went to market. Since everyone knows that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, William was quite proud of himself when he discerned that he should follow the sun to reach his destination.

William's feet clicked on the ground with the sound of confidence. He would quickly find his way to the market with no map, and sell the cow for fifty silver pieces easily. All he had to do was find the stupidest person. And who was more intelligent than he? As he walked, William was singing this song:

There once was a cow, her name was Sue,

Every time she was milked, she'd poo.

But now she's being sold, that's very cool!

She's off to another brain-dead fool!

The thirty-five year old boy walked. And he walked... and he walked... He walked so far that his shoes wore out and his feet began to bleed. Finally, he lost all of his optimism and decided to take a break. He glared venomously out of jealousy at Sue the Cow. She was making a meal out of the grass. William's stomach was telling him it was high time he ate, as well. He considered eating dirt, but decided that it wasn't worth it. Dirt tasted like... dirt.

William sat on the ground for awhile until he noticed a figure approaching. It was the figure of an elderly man in a long, dark-colored robe. The boy thought instantly that the man in the distance must be a wizard. He wondered if wizards needed cows. Did wizards even eat?

The old man stopped when he came across William and stared at him intently. William, not knowing what to do, twiddled his thumbs. The man didn't necessarily scare him, but there was something about him that wasn't quite human.

The man who William labeled as a wizard spoke first, "Silly child! Get up! What do you think you are doing this far from civilization?" The man whacked William with the staff he was carrying.

William stood up, scowling at the staff. "I am going to market to sell my cow! I didn't know exactly where... this market was but I heard someone say west! So I followed the sun!" The thirty-five year old was very proud of his navigating skills and wanted to share this fact with as many as possible.

The crazed old man hit William with his staff. "Foolish child! If that was your plan, you're headed in the wrong direction! This is the path to Prosperity, the ancient town within the Country of Triumph! But if it is the cow you wish to sell, perhaps I can help you there."

William was downcast. How could his brilliant navigating powers fail him? Big boys don't cry though, and William was a big boy. The boy perked when the man mentioned interest in his cow. "Fifty silver pieces, sir!" he demanded rather than asked.

"Pshaw! Silver pieces, what utter nonsense. I will give you an extendable ladder, dear boy!" The old man produced an object from seemingly nowhere.

William rolled his eyes. Great, he thought, the old man was poor and now he was going to trade him some old piece of junk. "Sir, that ladder only has two steps..."

The old man cackled. "Of course it only has two steps! That's why it's called 'extendable.' If you place this small piece of a ladder into the ground over night, it will grow higher and higher and higher, until it reaches Success itself!"

William was ecstatic, he and his mother would get their very own ladder to Success and would no longer be pushed to the back of the line! He grabbed th ladder and ran, leaving the cow in the old man's care. His mother would be so proud of him when he returned!

The boy arrived home to find his mother waiting for him, inside the house with a stern look on her face. She was obviously not very pleased with how long it took her son to sell the cow. She figured he was off fooling around with his friends again. She said no words but held out her hand, expecting payment.

William smiled and handed the ladder to his mother, expecting great praise and an extra large dinner. William's smile quickly disappeared however, when his mother's face turned red, her hands turned white and steam began to pour out of her ears. The boy was too terrified at this point to realize that the kettle was on the stove.

"WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS NOT YOU, IS THIS ABOMINATION!?" His mother exploded in his face. William could feel the heat of her anger envelope him.

Despite these adverse situations, William had to try to reason with his mother. "But mum! If we plant this outside, we shall have our very own ladder to Success! Don't you want to see Success?"

"What utter rubbish," William's mother took the ladder and threw it out the window, thus breaking the glass. "Go to your room, you useless child! It seems the worst mistake in the world was not made by the King when he decided to slay all of his officers by strangulation and various other methods thus leaving our armies at the mercy of the much more competent nation of Best!"

Crying like the very young thirty-five year old he was, William ran to his room and fell asleep within minutes. Crying was a very large exercise indeed.

When he woke up the next morning, he walked outside to meet with one of of best friends, but to his surprise, there was a giant ladder in his front lawn. William's heart quickened. It was just as the old man had said! Looking back at his house, he debated whether he should tell his mother of this great feat, but instead he spat on the ground. He would climb the Ladder to Success without her. He was a big boy now, he didn't need his mother holding him back any longer. Taking the first step, William began to climb vigorously.

The ladder was wood, the boy realized, upon receiving his first splinter. But he would not give up, ten splinters later, he was at the top of the ladder. William grinned. He had done it all by himself and here he was: In the grand city of Success. Or at least that's what he thought it was. He couldn't tell though, because there was not a person nor building in sight. He shrugged and kept walking in one direction so that he could find his way back if needed.

William was focused on his purpose and his direction, but had he been focused on the surrounding land, he would have noticed many things. There was no grass on the ground, nor any small animals. There were no birds in the sky, or trees in the ground, there were no lakes and he didn't hear a single sound save for that of his own two feet.

Finally, in the distance, William spotted a small black dot. It was so small, he doubted its existence. He had nothing better to do though, so he ran in that direction. He ran and he ran and he ran. He ran so much that his feet, that were just beginning to heal from the day previous, started to bleed once again. The boy was so focused on his objective that he didn't notice the pain in his feet until he tripped and fell on his face. When he lifted himself off the ground and looked up, he beheld in his eyes a grand building. William stood there staring at the building for quite some time, thinking that it was a great castle and surely the gateway to Success! The doors of the castle were twenty times his size and the walls were even larger.

William walked up to the brass doors and pushed on one. It wouldn't budge. All those games of tidily winks and chess were of no use to the silly thirty-five year old boy now exerting all of force on this one task: Opening the door.

Suddenly, there was a grand earthquake and William was thrown to the ground. The doors swung open to reveal a very large man. Nay, not a man, but a beast. He was not very large, but gargantuan. His voice filled the strange atmosphere William now found himself to be in.

Fee fi fo fum!

I smell the blood of a dirty bum.

Be he 'live or be he dead,

I hope his stench doesn't spread!

The giant man looked at the very young thirty-five year old in obvious disgust as he plugged his obnoxiously large nostrils with his over-sized fingers. William stared in horror at the giant who was staring in disgust at him. Eventually the boy stood up and asked, "Is this the city of Success?"

The giant took his fingers out of his nose and picked the boy up. "Bah! Success? You in land of Gluttony! As you see..." The giant grinned and William gagged upon smelling his breath. "I short on food."

It was now that William noticed the lack of other lifeforms around him. He smiled sheepishly and went to twiddle his thumbs, only his arm was stuck in the mucous on the giant's finger. Oh great, he thought, if he didn't die by being consumed, he'd surely die at his mother's hands for ruining his new shirt.

The giant took him inside the large castle and slammed the doors shut, drooling despite the horrid stench that emanated from the human boy. The giant was very hungry, and he didn't plan to waste time on idle chitchat before he ate his meal. He just hoped it tasted far better than it smelled. The giant set the boy on his humongous wooden table, in front of several bowls of fruit and vegetables. The giant pointed a finger at the bowls. "You eat. Food better stuffed. I get easy bake oven," he said gruffly before departing from the room that could have contained ten human mansions.

William's first impulse was to run for his life, but the door to the kitchen was wide open and the giant kept looking cautiously behind him. Instead, the boy looked at the bowls of food around him. There was a bowl of peaches, a bowl of tomatoes, a bowl of lettuce and a bowl of beans. William smiled wickedly as he staggered over to the bean bowl on his decrepit feet. Using all of the upper body strength he possessed, the thirty-five year old boy climbed into the bowl of beans and began to gorge himself. He ate and he ate and he ate. He ate the entire bowl of beans in the two minutes it took the giant to grab his easy bake oven and return to the table. Williams body was covered in beans as he drunkenly jumped out of the bowl.

The giant grinned menacingly as he set his large easy bake oven on the table. The easy bake oven was just the right size for baking humans. The giant, however, was no barbarian. He was a highly sophisticated giant in that respect. Before he threw the boy into the oven, he asked, "Have you any last words? Any final requests?"

William appeared thoughtful for a second, but this was simply a calculated move to prevent suspicion. "Yes. Pull my finger."

The giant thought this was a very strange request indeed, but he saw no harm in it, and so he pulled the finger of the repulsive being that now stood before him. The moment he did so, he instantly regretted his move. William's tiny body released a very prominent wave of methane that diffused quickly throughout the room, not covering up his previous stench, but transporting it instead. The sheer amount of stench that had conquered the room overwhelmed the giant's enormous nostrils. The giant staggered and began to fall to the ground.

At the moment the giant faltered, William leaped from the table and clutched the giants sleeve. The giant fell with a big BOOM and his giant body cushioned William's fall. The boy figured he probably had a few minutes before the giant regained consciousness once more. The thirty-five year old boy slid off of the giant. He had to admit that it was a rather fun experience, for all that his life was in jeopardy.

He took one last look at the giant and noticed a bag of coins on his belt. William snatched the bag that was ten times his size and ran, or at least stumbled as fast as he could, what with his injured feet and the extra weight. He got out of the castle and headed towards home. When he was nearly to the ladder, he experienced another earthquake. The giant was in hot pursuit. William smirked and yelled:

Fee fi fo fum!

I smell the blood of big and dumb.

Be he 'live or be he dead,

He'll never ever get ahead!

William cackled as he ran for the ladder which was now only feet from his current position. All it took though, were these few feet for William to learn that rhymes were not always truthful. The giant jumped in front of the boy, exhaling and sending a torrent of foul breath in his direction. William could not breathe in such atmosphere and it soon fried every sense of logic the boy had. William ran between the giants legs and jumped down the entrance to his town. He fell and he fell and he fell. He fell so far and he fell so long that he lost sense of time and situation. That was, until he crashed through the roof of his mother's house. He looked up and saw the giant retreat. William thought that perhaps the giant could not come down the entrance. But looking at his mother, who really did have steam coming out of her ears this time as she waved a spatula around threateningly, William realized why the giant was really afraid.

Quickly, William presented the large bag of coins. "See mum! We're rich! We can buy a new house. I told you that ladder would work and it did!"

His mother's utter hatred subsided as she opened the bag. Her eyes were aglow as he noticed the multitude of coins within said bag. She picked one coin up and inspected it hungrily, then she frowned. This made William frown. They were both frowning for a few good seconds before his mother exploded. "You wretched, lousy boy! These aren't coins, you fool! This is chocolate!" His mother unwrapped the chocolate coins and threw the bag at William. She made William consume every over-sized piece of chocolate in that bag.

To this day, still he sits, eating and eating and eating. What moral is learned from this story? That is for you to decide, because nobody has a clue.