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Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 21:56:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: TIDBITS 11/03/96
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Ants, Camels, and Gold.
Yeah. Sure. Give me a break. Benjamin Benjamin. What are you trying to
tell us?...that there's a connection between ants and camels and gold?
What do you think...we were born yesterday? Okay okay. We'll listen.
But only out of loyalty...for old times sake. So go ahead. Give us
your spiel. Let's see what you've got to say.
Heh heh. All right folks. It goes like this. Since that very first
moment that gold was discovered in some gilded lagoon deep in a misty
past, men have dreamed of the Gold Eden, the Peter Pan land for gold
zealots, a land where the trees and flowers and antelopes were made
entirely of that wondrous yellow metal.
Different cultures and different times had different names for this
mythical spot on earth. The ancient Egyptians called it Punt and
located it somewhere in Africa. In the bible the place was called
Ophir, and it had no specific location. To the Greeks it was Golden
Chersonese and was in the environs of Malacca.
In medieval times however, this land of milk and honey and gold gold
gold was India...a place everyone knew was situated precariously on
the very edge of the world. The world at that time was shaped somewhat
like a large Compact Disc and had nothing to do with the India we know
today. Few folks had ever visited the place...distances were
great...cars had not yet been invented...and airplane fuel was quite
costly. So the stories that came back on ships bearing spices from
this ancient land were based of factual accounts told by authors who
had never been there. What can I tell you. Here's one of the factual
reports as told by a Greek historian who had never been to the edge of
The inhabitants of this distant land called India culled their
precious gold dust in the following manner. I call attention to you
prospector types who still think panning for gold is the way to go. In
the eastern part of this land was a great desert where, believe it or
not, great ants lived. These ants were huge as insects go. They were
smaller than dogs, though larger than foxes. Now we all know how
industrious ants can be, and so, while building their subterranean
apartment complexes, they cast up the sand which was excavated in
order to make room for duplex ant dwellings. And of course, along with
all this upchucked sand, was upchucked gold.
Question was...how to get this gold into your greedy little hands.
Okay. Here's how: The Indians would go to these ant sites with three
camels--two males and one female--and an extra horse. As soon as they
got to the suburban developments of Ant-Village, they quickly packed
their sacks with as much gold-filled sand they could lay their hands
on, and left. The ants however, were jealous guardians of their gold,
and, since they had the uncanny ability to smell the thieves who
absconded with their precious metal, they went after them.
And the race was on. Everyone knew the ants were the fastest animals
around in them thar days. But the Indians were no dummy-heads. They
released their male camels--who were slower runners than the females--
and let them fall victim to the ants, who loved rare camel-steak. And
the female camel, who can run faster than the wind herself, would
hightail it out of there--dragging the pack-horse behind her--in order
to get home to her little baby camel who was waiting for her. And
that, my friends, is how the ancients Indians, who lived on the edge
of the world, stole Gold...from the Ants...with their Camels. True
story. So help me.
And that's it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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