Jack and the Bag of Beans
Any resemblance to an association of states is absolutely coincidental!
Ye Olde pantomime fairy story. Jack’s farm is smothered by giant rules
The scene is set in the olde Market Square of King’s Lynn with the full company lead by Jack and Sally dancing and singing ‘How Happy we are the futures bright’!
Once upon a time there was a happy land called Brythonia where everyone enjoyed a carefree life with sing-songs in the taverns, with little or no worries and with plentiful harvests low taxes and a minimum of rules. This land of laid-back philosophy was full of small townships, farms and homesteads trading between themselves and local villages with all being managed by the County town.
All the foods were very fresh and plentiful moved over short distances. However across a narrow sea was a very large land called Hugroania with many and various tribes of different tongues with no joy or harmony between them. These natives engaged in much strife mayhem and stealing’s from each other with the farms and tribes endlessly at war that also caused Brythonia problems and anguish too, suffering the occasional stealing of livestock and wealth with these boat tribes from time to time crossing the narrow sea to raid the farms of Brythonia. Also causing many ‘Hugroanians’ seeking refuge. After hundreds of years Brythonia was well organized with a dependable coinage but these distant tribes, in contrast, were totally disorganized and felt very jealous of Brythonia in comparison. Three times Brythonia had to send over a very large enlisted force of musketeers to put down these uncontrolled tribal wars at great cost never repaid. After many many years of turmoil with the large land occupied by Brythonia to keep the peace Brythonia became very tired of it and suggested to these distant tribes to set up some kind of unity to stop this endless fruitless raiding so that Brythonia may have some peace! After years of argument six of these larger tribes agreed to set up one assembly (actually they could only agree upon two assembly’s hundred’s of miles apart taking everything from one to the other every six months! However-) to control all the farms within the six so to allow Brythonia to bring home its musketeer force. Everything worked well for some years with the six tribes working together adopting a reliable coin and this finally stopped the wars between the six larger tribes.
Brythonia offers advice in management but the six tribes of hugroania chose complication
For centuries Brythonia was managed by the markets and from the Taverns! The Taverns managed the Squires and the Squires governed the counties and the counties governed Parliament. Minimum rules applied other than the rule of thumb. Fair play was the norm, a gentlemans agreement. If it worked well leave it alone was the general attitude – let nature take its cause. The ‘Big Six’ who formed the main tribes group were all at sixes and sevens to begin with so chose to set up a giant management of officialdom. Everything had to be precise from the extreme of chaos to the extreme of precision. Of course items may be managed this way but not human nature! They demanded that all other tribes comply. If other smaller tribes wished to compete they must join with the six so this six became 10 and then 12 and then 27! This huge mixure produced back breaking burdens of authority that the people did not want or need and certainly did not vote for like, Turnips! All Turnips had to measure precisely one tenth of one Meastro and weigh one thousanth of one MeastroKillertonn to fit a required plastic box. Of course Brythonia produced all sizes of Turnips and sold them by the one hundred (weight). One sack would weigh 100 weights – ably carried by a farmer – and 20 sacks would be one BrythonTon carried upon the farm wagon measured to one Perch length. and this weight was always allowed as normal for one shire horse to pull to market – no more than ten Brythonian miles or, 18.65784 KillerMeastroLengths. Simple farm scales would set the perfect load so farmhands could manage the farm but not under Sixpack rules! Each farm must now employ an official measurer at cost and draconian rules must be applied.
They introduced this new system of measure called the Meastro whilst Brythonia carried though the ancient Yardstick – the length of one farmers leg or the walking pace between. Not good enough shouted the SixPack! The new title given themselves. The boot then became upon the other foot or 3.4652 of one Meastro. The Sixpack became more of a problem than the warring old tribes without any humour! Actually the Sixpack found much humour in the ancient Brythonian measures and said that this rule of thumb was nonsense and laughable and you must adopt the sliderule Meastro instead. They did not like the Brythonian way of making agreements, a gentlemans handshake (that meant the joining of two sword free hands!) was replaced by a hug and the word ‘dealdone’. Diversity was the norm and not a choice. A distance was equal regardless of distance. The local market place was old fashioned with bartering pre-historic. The Brythonian abacus must go!
Brythonia was forced to join the Six Pack because of the Turnip!
Because the SixPack would not accept Brythonian items without its close scrutiny Brythonia was obliged to join the Six Pack if only to extent this harmony for the SixPack were now fishing in the Brythonian sea claiming it was theirs. They now became the dominant Six and Brythonia was obliged to accept the Meastro measures but avoided the Metro coin that was proving unpopular and hard to circulate with six designs.
Jack could not understand the giant changes demanded on the olde farm that he called the Added Grinde.
Upon one of the many Brythonian farmsteads lived the hard working lad called Jack with his widowed mother. His mother tendered to the chickens and the pigs along with Buttercup the cow who supplied their milk and cheese. All was happy until one day the Mayor of the large governing town had visited the local Tavern along with the local town Crier to tell everyone that Brythonia was now joining this distant rule of Sixpack authority for permission to buy or sell in the market, and so must join the much bigger giant system now imposed by the SixPack across the water – without asking anyone. Subsequently, they imposed many more rules and extra travel burdens that increased prices and costs to transport greater distances. The small local markets were deemed, by the new lawyeruler Burghers, to be far too old fashioned smelly and unhealthy so they planned to turn them all into historical museums for well-off travellers to see how the old fashioned farm implements were used but not to grow anything. Jack found he could no longer transport his farm goods such extended distance via the old horse wagon and was forced to consider rich freight carriers who could travel over many more miles but these he could not afford to hire so Jack along with many more small farmers were pushed into debt. Things would be much better if Jack could afford more cows to produce more milk to sell but the new rulers of this huge common market that was called the superior market made sure that milk costs were kept very low due to imports from the new even poorer parts of SixPack now being sent supporting coins from Brythonia to allow them to hire the freight carriers to transport their stock to Brythonia although Brythonia produced plentiful stock at home! So, Jack was paying more tax so that poor SixPack farmers could be subsidised and so sell milk cheaper than him!
Land cost climbed due to the imposed extra costs and imposed membership taxes payable to this distant rule became more and more unreachable and the payments were always climbing with further payments that were always unpredictable. The unelected ruler burghers, who did not grow anything, said that all small farms were far too small anyway and they only liked big things and so were to edict that all minor farms must form one larger farm or one big Super Farm and then further ruled the use of very poor workers from far away, but all the little farms did not want this. They wanted to stay small and independent. One big Super Giant farm would make all the villages and small towns decline and fun would be taken out of the Taverns in the land of Brythonia. But the governing huge town a long way away nick-named ‘Little Sprout’ ruled that distant imported workers would keep prices down upon the Super farms. Jack’s farm was not to be considered. They even thought that Brythonia should become Farmonia One! The Sixpack song to be Ode to Joyful Giant Farms of Hugroania!
We must sell Buttercup said Jack
Jack said to his mother, we must sell Buttercup to buy seed to plant the next, and probably our last crop. So his mother said to Jack; then you must take poor Buttercup to the last village market and sell her for a good price. At least get her weight in corn seed. It will be so upsetting to part with old Buttercup but do make sure you get the best price. Jack found that the best price for Buttercup was very low that all he was offered was a special bag of sprout seeds became the price of the cow was assessed by the burghers by length and all cows must measure 2.5 Meastros whilst Buttercup was only 2.5 Yardsticks. (Ye Olde Brythonia cared little about the length of a cow!) So Jack then planted the bag of Sprout bean seeds thinking, following a sales promise that these were grouth induced, that at least the next harvest of Brussels Sprouts would be plentiful for him and is mother to break-even. However these turned out to be very strange bean seeds because they all joined together to form one huge Brussel Sprout patch that eventually smothered Jack’s farm and then the County and then the whole Land of Brythonia. Brythonia then chose to leave this suffocating market system but SixPack demanded a leaving fee of huge amounts before providing the pesticide required to exterminate these land covering giant plants.
Jack! Shouted is mother, you are late for breakfast, the farm lads have already had theirs and have made a start. Not like you to oversleep. ‘Sorry Ma, I had the most terrible dream – will tell you about it later. A real nightmare it was’. At the close of the long day after a fruitful rota at dusk Jack went into the farmhouse for tea to find his sweetheart to welcome him, young Sally Swish the Squires lovely daughter who had earlier arrived upon her fine horse. Tell us about this dream’, asked his mother, Jack told them the story and the selling of old Buttercup and the drowning of the whole county in giant Brussels Sprout plants. ‘A real knightmare! Said his mother, You must stay clear, she jested, of that Devonshyre cider! Do not worry your head Jack old Brythonia is fit and heathy with fine management and minimum of rules. Folks are happy and contented so no need to concern ourselves with those troublesome tribes over in Hugroania. We have a fine herd of cows with fine top grade milk produced. As for old Buttercup she can spend her retirement in buttercup meadow with no need to worry about its size – ten acres will be fine. Or 203.12 by 203.12 Meastros laughed his mother and Sally Swish! Sally said to Jack, ‘of course you know the origin of the old acre measure? I would like you tell me he grinned. Well unlike this mystical Meastro the acre is of nature – the pace of the Shirehorse. One eighth of one mile being the acre length – the Furrow Length or Furlong. The acre being one tenth in width. 32 Furrows to one acre and four miles. One mile per hour for the horse to pull the plough and four hours to plough one acre square. Two horses for two acres for eight hours to plough eight miles of Furrows at the March Equinox sowing time. Each Furlong being of 40 Perch lengths each of 16.5ft to measure the length of the load wagan to carry 20 sacks or one ton. ‘Very pretty and cleaver with it’ said Jack proudly. I do not think Brythons would be daft enough to be dominated by Hugroania.