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Week 12 Story: So Much for That (Revised)

One time in a corner of the world, a goose and a mongoose walked along the bank of a raging river.

“Only a goose can swim in such turbulent waters,” said the goose.

The mongoose responded, puffing its chest and standing tall: “I am a mongoose, and so, being ‘mon’ more than a goose, I too can swim in such waters.”

And so the mongoose dove in, and, being more or less a sort of carnivorous rodent, drowned.

So much for the sin of delusion.


One time in a corner of the world, there was a foolish but kind king who delegated much of the work of ruling to his ministers. His counselors, however, were cruel, and passed many villainous acts on his behalf. Each day the ministers would bring their decrees to the absentminded king, who would stamp each in turn with his signet ring.

One day the cruelest of the ministers decided to simplify the process and steal the signet ring for himself. He planned with great care and eventually found himself standing before the signet ring, ripe for the taking, in the king’s private chambers. Upon taking it into his hand, a hole opened in the ceiling and deposited a quite enormous cucumber onto him, crushing him.

The karmic cucumber (not to scale). Pairs well with cheese.
(Image from Wikipedia.)

So much for the sin of theft.


One time in a corner of the world, two old men, one kindhearted and one covetous, lived as neighbors. One day in the corner of his garden, the kindhearted man found an injured bird, which he nursed back to health. Later, the bird brought him a special seed that in time grew into an enormous squash, which the kind old man found to be made of solid gold.

The covetous neighbor, jealous of this fortune, asked where one gets such enormous golden squash. Receiving a truthful answer, he schemed to replicate the process: he shot down a bird into his garden, nursed it back to health, and did, eventually, receive a seed.

In time, the seed grew into an enormous squash. But when the greedy old man went to cut open the squash its hull parted, and, a fierce old man sprang from its insides.

The fierce old man produced a large measuring scale and preceded to aggressively measure the greedy man, finally proclaiming that he was of no use at all. He then cut off the greedy old man’s head.

So much for the sin of covetousness.

Story Source: “The Golden Squash,” from Albert Shelton’s book of Tibetan folk tales, via the course UnTextbook.

Author’s Note: This is a revision StoryLab of my Week 7 story of the same name. In short, I was inspired by the random and bizarre nature of the punishment meted out to the covetous old man. In particular, I was struck by the casual sound of the final sentence — “so much for the sin of covetousness” — and decided to make something of it.

My revisions mostly consisted of improvements in flow and diction.

The bookend phrases: “One time in a corner of the world” and “So much for the sin of ____” are both taken directly from the source story. And the “fierce old man” is straight from the source as well.

6 Comments

  1. Alby,
    This was very interesting and enjoyable to read. I love the short stories! I think it was very funny that your lone picture was of a cucumber. Was the cucumber in the original story? When the minister steals the ring from the King it would be cool to have more detail of how the minister stole the ring from him. Maybe he asked if he could try it on or something? In the third story I really hope you wrote that an old man came out of a squash and chopped off the man’s head. I loved it! This was a very entertaining read. Thank you.

  2. Hey Alby! I enjoyed reading each of your stories. I loved how you ended each reading with a similar sentence starting with “So much for…”. It reminded me a little of a rendition of Aesop’s Fables where instead of morals at the end, there are always overlapping themes of sin. You also did a great job of personifying the animals in the first story. Great read overall!

  3. Hi Alby!

    I enjoyed these stories, especially the conclusions! “So much for the sin of delusion” was my personal favorite of the endings. The structure of the stories made them easy to enjoy. Have you considere doing more story posts like this with three short sections that could all stand alone? I think you did a great job with this format, and reading your author’s note was helpful. This was creative and fun, great job!
    -Derek

  4. Hi Alby!
    I really like the bookend phrases you kept from the source story. They really highlight the importance of morals in the stories and made them feel like they were all three connected stories. I kind of wish there was a conclusion with an overall message or something where the three stories came even more together but I still think they work well as three separate stories told together. I enjoyed reading it!

  5. Hi Alby!

    I really liked reading this story. You have a really great style of writing, and I like that you maintained certain phrases from the original version. It really hits home what the message of the story is, as well as maintaining the story’s integrity. I did like how all of the stories were separate, but I wish you had a conclusion to tie everything together. I can’t wait to read more!

  6. Akansha Chandrasekar

    November 20, 2019 at 6:56 am

    Hi Alby! I knew there was something familiar about that last story and as I looked over your author’s note, it clicked. I remember being really confused by the straight up bizarre ending of that story so it’s funny to see someone take that confusion and run with it. I like how equally perplexing the other stories are. The caption underneath the picture of the cucumber made me chuckle. Great job!

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