The Contest

from Another Forty Fables by Adam Acidophilus

Two villages decided to hold a contest between their finest sportsmen, hoping that it might provide an afternoon of healthy entertainment — and also that it might provide an answer to the amusing question of which was the better village.

On the appointed day the two teams, each of eleven men, met to do battle on a neutral ground. But it was not until minutes before the contest was due to begin — that it was noticed that the two teams were preparing for different sports.

The eleven men of one village were intending to play cricket, and strutted proudly about the field of play in their cotton whites, their willow bats gleaming in the afternoon sun, their stumps aligned at the centre of the arena, like ancient obelisks.

But the eleven men of the other village were big game hunters, and had prepared for the event by camouflaging themselves with sprigs of coniferous hedge, and by digging trenches and foxholes in which to hide their ammunition — and their cannon.

Alerted to this curious state of affairs, the two team captains met to discuss the situation at the centre of the neutral ground.

“I’m terribly sorry old boy,” began the first team captain, “but I’m afraid our chaps don’t know a thing about shooting or guns. For we are cricketers, damn good cricketers — and cricket is the sport of gentlemen.”

“And I am sorry to have to tell you,” replied the second team captain, “that we are a hardened troop of crackshots. We have no other interests, and we can’t stand cricket.”

Following a brief examination of options — of which there were only two — it was decided to proceed with the contest; and thus discover not only which was the better village but, more seriously, which was the greater sport.

Within a few minutes the contest was over. The eleven cricketers lay horribly dead across the pitch. And the eleven marksmen emerged from their hiding places, uninjured, and very clearly the winners.

Moral: Shooting is better than cricket.

© Adam Acidophilus 2011