I was running, hell-for-leather, from my local second-hand book retailer with a 1978 edition of Aesop’s Fables burning a larcenous hole in my duffle-coat pocket, when I happened upon a quiet hillock (or tump). Settling myself atop its quirkily small ‘peak,’ I removed the ‘hot’ text from ‘ma poche’ and began reading. And reading I was still, when the local Constabulary arrived (truncheons waving) and immediately banged me up the slammer.*
However, all policemen in the UK are, as you are no doubt aware, kind and jolly gentlefolk with a habit of cuffing youngsters (like mi’self) around the ear while chirpily reciting that law enforcement mantra of old: "Get out of it, you young scoundrel/scallywag/tyke, before I tell your mother/father/care assistant. Don’t do it again!"
Very trusting they are in the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad – in fact, for any of you visiting this golden Isle over the summer, may I recommend you go up to any policemen you might see cycling down the street/on the beat/partially-buried in the concrete foundations of a new by-pass and cheerfully flip his helmet into the gutter while saying: "Oh! And I thought your head went right to the top of your helmet!"
Running away at this point is regarded as especially playful.
As I was saying: in the short time I spent ‘sur le bump,’ I managed to read most of that late-70’s collection of Greek morality tales and had an idea for something similar in a Magical vein. So here they are! Each of the following ‘vignettes’ contains clues leading to a proverb-like punch-line – a single-sentence, pun-tastic moral nugget that has something, vaguely, to do with Magic: The Gathering.
How many can you get?
The answers will be revealed at the end, in an enciphered format.
Sergio is playing against Martinez in a casual match. Sergio has a Dragon Legend in play and several Saproling tokens. Martinez is playing a red/green affair and has three 3/5 pumpable djinns and a Vernal Equinox in play. Sergio, thinking all is well for another beating, declares his intention to attack, sending in his Dragon. In response to declaration of attackers, Martinez plays Spidersilk Armour as an instant and declares his three Djinns as blockers. Whichever way you look at it, Sergio will lose his flying thump-stick and Martinez will forfeit a single Djinn; everyone then agreed that…
Mungo the mighty was playing a black discard deck while his opponent, Terry the Timid, preferred a Masques Block affair with cheap, white creatures. Observers remarked how unusual the games were, because every time Mungo paid one of his discard spell’s kicker costs, forcing Terry to lose three cards, one of those cards was always the 2/2 equivalent of the Glittering Lynx. In fact, you could hear people saying…
Sergio, once again, faces Martinez in a match of a casual nature. Sergio is in single-figures writ life but will be able to finish his opponent off in his text turn with a Psionic Blast. He is facing Martinez’s combat phase (which has just been ‘entered’) and a battle-ready Colossus of Sardia; Sergio desperately casts ‘Opt’, leaving only three blue mana remaining. He sighs with relief as he draws the blue instant for which he has been praying! He lives to fight another turn because…
Mungo the Mighty is on five life and faces an attacking Blastoderm with one fading counter remaining. He has five mana in play, four islands and a mountain, and a 2/2 red, regenerating creature to block with. In hand he has a 2UU instant. However, the mountain is tapped and the blocking creature won’t be able to regenerate without it. Terry the Timid sends the blastoderm in for five points; Mungo needs to block the ‘Derm and keep his only creature alive at the end of combat, ready for the next attack. After attackers and blockers have been declared, Mungo casts the instant using his open mana and is subsequently able to regenerate his blocker. Hoorah for Mungo, because…
Martinez liked fat, red monstas and would pick up as many as he could sensibly trade for at premiere events. He carried them around in a woven, wicker container which he’d sling over one arm. During a recent Pro Tour Qualifier, Martinez left his newly-obtained suite of 6/6 creatures (that can’t attack if a half-decent creature is in play opposite) in the aforesaid receptacle which, due to it’s position near an empty glass bottle by a sunny window, caught fire and destroyed the whole lot. "If only I’d filled my pockets and my trade folders instead!" cried Martinez.
Mongo The Magnificent is not renowned for his common sense, and was to rue the day he left his Fallen Empires set on a table at a crowded FNM session, ignoring advice from the Judges that thieves were on the loose. When he returned from a comfort break, he discovered that many of his white creature cards had been stolen: "But I was only gone for a couple of minutes!" he cried, proving the maxim that…
Sergio was playing a mono-green affair with a few tricks specifically put in to have a go at Martinez’s Suicide Black deck. He planned to return some discarded cards with a little-used Tempest instant, but forgot to check how many black permanents his opponent had in play (he had none at the time); therefore this latest ‘trick’ garnered him a fat total of ZERO cards. "If only I’d checked the board positions before I announced the spell!" he cried.
Martinez had a single creature in play with two W, two G, and one U mana available. Firstly he enchants the creature, giving it +1/+2 (though he could move this enchantment onto another creature in subsequent turns, if required); then he cast a global enchantment that allows creature regeneration. I suppose you could describe this sequence of events as…
Love you! Miss You!
Buy Coppertwaddle – it’s GREAT! Ask Rizzo! Or Anthony Alongi! Or Omeed Dariani!***
* – Put me in prison
** – Don’t run with scissors
*** – I sent them demo copies but they’re pretending they haven’t received it yet. (What, I’M not good enough for it yet? – The Ferrett)
The coding is extremely simple – simply replace each letter with the letter that immediately precedes it in the alphabet; there is also ‘warp-around’ at ‘A’ (i.e., Z would be enciphered as A). If this is still too complicated, then perhaps you should get a grown-up to help.** (Incidentally, I tried to find a program that would translate these for me, but I couldn’t – and considering that I’m too lazy to decipher the whole bit, I take no responsibility for grammatical correctness nor accuracy in these – The Ferrett)
1. UPP NBOZ LPPLVT TQPJM UIF SJUI
2. FWFSZ DMPVE IBE B TJMWFS MJPO JO
3. B UXJUDI JO UJNF TBWFT OJOF
4. POF HPPE UVSOBCPVU QSFTFSWFT BO VUIEFO
5. EPOU QVU BMM PG ZPVS PSHHT JO POF CBTLFU
6. B GPPM BOE IJT JDBUJBO NPOFZDIBOHFS BSF TPPO QBSUFE
7. MPPL CFGPSF ZPV SFBQ
8. LKFMEPSBO QSJEF DPNJOH CFGPSF B CSPLFO GBMM