I met a fool all full of glee,
Who with a grin did ask of me;
If I was sure as sure could be
Of all the things my sight did see.
Indignantly I told him “Fie.
Indeed I truly trust my eye.”
He gave a grin and made reply
That “Aye, I to your eye will lie.”
He then did caper and cavort.
“Now will I with you wisdom sport.”
He drew three ropes which he did sort;
One long, one medium, and one short.
“You see these ropes?” He said to me.
“Their lengths don’t match.” We did agree.
“As any fool can plainly see.
Three different ropes - that’s one, two, three.”
“These upper ends all end right here.
These others don’t, that much is clear.
If lower ends met with their peer,
Three even ropes would then appear.”
So saying he did gather ends,
And brought each up to match their friends.
“Since all ends meet, you comprehend,
Three even ropes!” He did pretend.
“Fool, seek ye not my wits to fiddle,
For there’s no reason to this riddle.
So cease this silly taradiddle.
Those ropes don’t match, look at their middle.”
He let ropes fall from his hand,
I’d simply spiked his foolish plan.
But, he said I didn’t understand.
With one quick pull, the ropes changed span
He held them out for me to see,
They were the same as same could be.
Each end matched middle perfectly.
Three equal ropes, that’s one, two, three.
I stared at him somewhat perplexed,
And frankly just a little vexed.
Perhaps it is that he suspects
That I do think of wringing necks.
The with a smile and a wink,
Before my eye had time to blink,
Or my poor brain a thought to think,
The ropes they seemed to grow and shrink.
Then all was as it had begun.
His mystic work was now undone.
Of equal lengths there now was none,
The ropes were different every one.
“Now did you see that which you saw?
Does wit and wisdom have a flaw?
Did I your senses overawe?
Reflect, as you pick up your jaw.”
“Send now to every single school.
Let them all their knowledge pool.
They’ll be as stubborn as a mule,
None would believe this but a fool.”
© 1999 Charles Grab
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