Men and Pain

Acacia tree in the desertThere is a disconnect in our society’s idea(s) of how men deal with pain. On the one hand there is the well-known fact that if a man catches a cold he thinks he’s going to die, and requires 24/7 nursing care until he is well again. On the other hand we have western movies in which the hero is shot seven times from twelve different directions in all the major limbs and internal organs and a few auxiliary ones, and yet struggles back up onto his horse and rides into town to save the day.

Both of these cannot be realistic at the same time.

In the interest of brutal honesty, therefore, I bring you the final scene from a newly rewritten western (One Bride for One Orphan).
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The Dragon-Eating Man

A coin with an image of St. George slaying the dragonOnce upon a time in a faraway land there was an evil prince who loved to breakfast on dragonet steak and dragon eggs (over easy). His bravest knights scoured the three-duchy area, stealing eggs and dragonets from every nest they could find, and killing any grown-up dragons who stood in their way. Soon the dragon population began to seriously dwindle, and the local dragon variety (Draconis horribili delectamentis) was placed on the principality’s Endangered Subspecies list. Unlike the wicked prince, however, the principality’s Environmental Ministry had no teeth.
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Windfall apricots in the shade of a treeOnce upon a time there was a little girl who was no bigger than your ear, although she looked in every other respect like a normal human child. Her parents named her Earbellina.

By her eighteenth birthday, Earbellina was the size of a small doll, say one that’s about a foot in length, although shaped more like a young lady than a baby doll. “Well,” said her father after breakfast that morning, “you are welcome to stay here with your mother and me as long as you like. But at this age your older brother left to seek his fortune in the Wide World, so if you wish, you may leave with our blessing.”
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The Cat and the Candle

A hand olding birthday cake candlesThere once lived a man-cat partnership on the edge of a royal city. The man was a candlemaker, and he did reasonably well in the dark months when everybody needed candles, but in the bright months, when their need for candles flickered and went out, he often went hungry. The cat would have been happy to supply him with as many voles as he could eat, but he found he just couldn’t stomach them.

“Puss,” he said to the cat one day, for that was her name, “I’m all out of food.”

“I don’t suppose you’d like to try vole?” asked Puss.

“We’ve had this conversation.”

“Sorry, Ander,” she said, for that was his name. “What can I do?”

“Take the cow to market and sell it,” said Ander.
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