Wonderland

Once upon a time there was a rich, powerful and generous entrepreneur, who had 10 merchants and a messenger working for him. One day, after many years of hard work and labour, the entrepreneur made a decision to dispense of his inventory at no charge to customers near and abroad, prior to his soon-to-be retirement. He chose to do this task of inventory dissemination through his merchants, and it would be strictly something which the merchants were to do voluntarily. So he called his faithful messenger forward.

“Please disseminate the news to all of my merchants, to help me give away my inventory, for I wish to retire very soon,” the entrepreneur told the messenger.

“Very good, my Lord,” the messenger said as she bowed before her master and set off to visit the 10 merchants at their homes.

The first merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, I am much too entrenched in my current sales at the moment, and I am making a good profit. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The second merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, I need to spend some time with my family at this time, for they feel I am neglecting them. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The third merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, there is a storm brewing outside, and I can’t get my wares damaged. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The fourth merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, today there is a parade. I am waiting for the local entertainers to pass on the street. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The fifth merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, I have done this sort of thing last year already with my own wares, and I can’t spare any more wares for free distribution. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The sixth merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, my friends want me to come over and spend some time with them, and who knows, maybe I can get them to buy some of my wares. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The seventh merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, but today is not a good day for me, and I know I say this a lot, but maybe I can help tomorrow, but not now. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The eighth merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, this is not the way I run my business and I disagree with the master’s request. I have very strict codes that I follow and I don’t plan to change. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The ninth merchant, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, I don’t know if I am able to make it to any of my current commitments, so there is no point asking me about making another one. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.” So the messenger left.

The messenger was very tired, but she pressed on until she reached the tenth and final merchant, who, upon hearing the request, told the messenger: “Alas, my friend, I am sorry that you had to waste your time asking me. I am really not very good at the sort of request that is being asked of me. So, I am unable to be of use at this time.”

The messenger, quite disheartened and fatigued, returned to the entrepreneur.

“I’m sorry, sir, but I could not get any of the merchants to commit to your request.”

The entrepreneur smiled at the messenger. “My friend, in spite of the very small likelihood that any of the merchants would follow through with my final request, I applaud your efforts tremendously. Therefore, I will give to you all the riches which was to be dispensed by the merchants, to do with as you see fit, in addition to your usual pay. You’ve earned it.”

(Story by CRN, inspired by current life events)