The Bucketmaster (A fable for Halloween, with apologies to Hans Christian Andersen)

Once upon a time, there was a man who was a Bucketmaster. He lived in a very sunny land. He was a rich man, having sold buckets of water to many. He was also a learned man, having studied his craft far away in a land called Texas, and he much preferred his nickname from that school. So the people called him Aggie the Bucketmaster.

One day, a man who had bought water from Aggie the Bucketmaster for many years sat down to think. This man was also rich; he owned many bakeries where the people came to eat. He was also a learned man, having studied his craft far away in the land called Tennessee, and he much preferred his nickname from that school. So the people called him Vol the Baker.

Vol was a very fine baker and knew how to prepare the finest pancakes and waffles in the land. Vol had a secret recipe, purchased many years ago in a land far away, to spin fine pancakes from coral-colored dough. But Vol was under a spell cast by the Grand Hizard, who ruled the land, to not serve his delicious coral-colored pancakes. So the people were told they could only eat waffles, which Vol baked for them. Vol gathered many coins in this manner and so became rich.

One day, while eating waffles, the people began to be thirsty, much more so than in days gone by. Sadly, Vol had run out of water in his buckets. So Vol went before Aggie the Bucketmaster and said, “Bucketmaster, I need more water for my people.” Aggie the Bucketmaster said, “Vol, I am ready and have prepared many more buckets for you, since I foresaw your need. Since each of my buckets has a name, through a new trick I have learned, I have given these new buckets the same name as your old buckets to help you.” Vol was very happy and bought many more buckets of water. Now, Vol also had to hire many men with carts to carry the many buckets to his bakeries; however, Vol accepted this, not knowing otherwise and paid Aggie also for the men and carts to haul the buckets.

However, Aggie the Bucketmaster had a deep, dark secret; his buckets of water, while being true in their amount of water itself, consisted of tiny, invisible buckets that actually held the water. The metal buckets that Aggie sold to Vol did not actually hold any water themselves, but instead held many tiny, invisible buckets. Yet, Vol bought many metal buckets and began to serve the water to the people.

But the people whom Vol served rebelled upon drinking the water. They said to Vol, “Vol, we are trying to slake our thirst, but while drinking your water from these buckets we are forced to drink from many tiny invisible buckets, which is hard.” They also said, “We cannot determine from which bucket to drink, since once empty they cannot be refilled. We can only buy more buckets from you to slake our thirst.”

So Vol went back to Aggie the Bucketmaster and said, “Aggie, my people tire of drinking water from your tiny buckets. I need a way to slake the thirst of my people and serve many more people in a simple way.” So Aggie the Bucketmaster said “Vol, hire many of the people to manage all the buckets I sell to you, pouring the water between them to and fro, and your problem will be solved.” So Vol hired many people and for a time the problem was solved. But in doing so Vol spent many coins and grew very concerned about his bakeries, while Aggie the Bucketmaster became even richer.

One day, a new person who Vol had never seen before came to the land. He lived far away, by the great Sea, and was also a learned man. He also had very sharp vision, sharp as the eagles, so the people called him Eyes. Eyes came to Vol and said, “Vol, I have heard your tale of woe. I will make you an offer; I will build strong pipes for you, pipes to carry water from the Sea, to provide as much water as you desire. The water is beautiful, filtered and without salt. The people will enjoy it greatly.” Vol said, “Eyes, how can you do such a thing?” Eyes said, “Vol, I am a learned man and know that carrying water through pipes is far better than using many buckets. If you need more water, you may have as many pipes as you wish, of any size, and since the water is from the Endless Sea, your people will never thirst.”

Vol pondered such a thing. Since he had known Aggie the Bucketmaster for many years, he asked Aggie if he could provide such a thing. Aggie said, “I cannot. I have the finest metal buckets of water for your people as they eat their waffles, but I have no pipes.”

So Vol bought pipes from Eyes. The pipes were built and the people ordered water from them to slake their thirst. Vol could open and close the spigot as he wished. Vol once again grew rich and the people were satisfied. Vol also used the piped water to write a new recipe for pancakes, and began to serve them to the people alongside the old waffles, and the people were very happy and much preferred the pancakes. Vol then knew that a single source of water pleased the people in many ways.

Aggie the Bucketmaster went back into his finely furnished house in the sunny land never sold buckets of water again to Vol. And the people lived happily ever after.


About the Author: Robert Peglar