Business

The Ploughman: a modern business fable

No one likes to be thought a fool.

Farmer Moran needed a new workhorse, so he went to the local auction. There he spotted a strong, lean stallion he thought would be fine. He asked the owner about the horse, but the owner advised him against it. “This is Lightning,” he said. “Lightning is a thoroughbred. What you want is a draught horse.”

Moran, though, was confident in his own judgment. Undeterred, he outbid everyone for Lightning.

He got the horse home and harnessed him up, but Lightning proved no end of trouble. Moran complained to his neighbor, Farmer Quick. “Damned horse don’t want to pull. Kicks when you harness him up. You tell him to git-up and he just stands there. He’ll pull a little bit every now and then. Seems to want to try. But generally he’s the most useless horse I ever did see. Last week he got loose one morning and I couldn’t catch him to save my life. Had to saddle up old Nellie and try to chase him down but we couldn’t get within a hunnert yards of him.”

“I see him in the barn over there right now,” said Quick. “How’d you catch him?”

“Didn’t. He come home on his own. Reckon he got hungry.”

“You know,” said Quick, “he ain’t a working horse nohow. That there’s a thoroughbred. What you need is a draught horse. Like a Clydesdale. Or maybe a mule. A mule will pull all day.”

“You sound like that fool down to the auction house. I been farming nigh on 30 year. Don’t you think I know a plow horse when I see one?” said Moran.

Quick thinks a second, mops his brow. “You thought about entering him in the steeplechase next week? If he’s as fast as you say he you might win some money. Heck, last year top prize was enough to buy five stout mules.”

“You people don’t listen worth a damn around here. Quick, wouldn’t I look a fool showing up at the steeplechase with a plow horse?”

“Naw. Reckon you wouldn’t want to look like a fool, would you?”

Jesus is coming, children, and he’s wearing assless chaps.

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