The Reason Coins Are Round

In ancient times there was an era called the Bronze Age. It was so named because at the time humanity was the third best species on the planet Planet Earth. Thus, they were in third place (or bronze) and since they managed to extinct the two better species (along with plenty of others), humanity got to name the era and they went with a name that related the time period to their situation. And so, it was the Bronze Age!

In the Bronze Age, there was a kingdom called Gobagoba. This kingdom was ruled by the just King Oldmo (so called because he was just king, and nothing else). King Oldmo had a beautiful young daughter named Princess Flobb. She was considered by many to have the worst name possible.

The kingdom of Gobagaba was located in a mountain valley high above another kingdom, this one called Martacka! It was the worst and evillest kingdom in the world at that time. Seriously, you’d urinate pure fear and unhappiness if someone told you you had to go there. The innocent people of Gabobaga were hated by the ruthless wretches that dwelled in Martacka!

But Oldmo, being a good king and wanting to spread peace throughout the world one day appeared before his people and requested that they arrange a convoy of volunteers who were to go to Martacka! The people of Gagobago were as peace-loving as their king and so many, nay all, volunteered happily to bring tidings of goodwill and love to their brothers below.

All the people in Gobobobo had a part to play. The carpenters built fine carriages and wagons to bring the convoy to their destination. The blacksmiths readied the strongest and most beautiful horses in the kingdom to pull the wagons and carriages. The tailors sewed up the finest of clothing to be given as gifts. The doctors donated large portions of their medicines to help any who may be in need in the kingdom below. The farmers gave up the best of their harvest for their neighbors down the mountains. The bakers baked two-hundred of the finest cakes to add to the convoy. The children willingly gave their toys so that the children in the town they’d never met might have something to play with. And Princess Flobb herself headed up the diplomatic party that would request the two kingdoms work together for a better tomorrow.

And thus the convoy was ready and they left Gogobaga on the road to Martacka! This road was long and steep, but by moving slowly and with caution the convoy made it to the walls of Martaka! Forewarned by the guard, the Prince of the kingdom, Jack Hacksaw, was already watching from atop the wall.

Flobb introduced herself, “Dear people of Martacka! I am Princess Flobb! I come from the kingdom in yonder mountains, Gobabago to propose peace and unity between our peoples so that our future may be as bright as possible.”

Stirred by the beauty of Princess Flobb and by the possibility of a wonderful future for his kingdom, Jack Hacksaw decided to go easy on the convoy. And so he unleashed the soldiers of Martacka!

The convoy’s wagons and carriages were broken and set on fire. The horses were cooked alive and partially eaten, the remains being thrown into ditches for no good reason. The soldiers took the fine clothing and vomited upon all of it, then left it on the road. The medicine was used improperly by the soldiers, who got high off of it. The harvest was laid out in a field in such a way that they spelled out “YOU GUYS BLOW!” and then set on fire so that the above kingdom would see it. The two-hundred cakes were taken and eaten (Jack Hacksaw justified this by saying that by this point, the convoy wouldn’t want them to have the cakes anymore, so taking them was the evil thing to do). And one particularly rough and tough soldier marched all the way up to the peaceful kingdom and dropkicked each and every child in the face then broke any toys that they still had. Finally, Princess Flobb was taken prisoner. Now, I’m guessing, you see why people didn’t like going to Martacka!

The other people in the convoy returned to Gabobaga with broken hearts. And also a letter from Jack Hacksaw. He told the king:

My Good Fellow,

I Have Kidnapped Thy Daughter.
Assuming You Do Not Want Her Dead
Kindly Bring Me One Million Gold Pieces.
–Yours with Respect,
Jack Hacksaw

King Oldmo was outraged! The audacity of Martacka! To attack a peaceful convoy? Well, Oldmo was a peaceful king, it was true, but he had led wars in the past when necessary. And so, he had his military ride forth, down the steep, long mountain road. The horsemen. The pikemen. The archers. The charioteers. The SWAT team. All of the military forces of Gogagabo rode down the hill. But before they could reach the wall of their enemy kingdom, they were stopped by two men.

“Well, well, now,” asked the first of the men. “What’s this ’ere, then? What do you make of it, Joey, mate?”

“I say,” said Joey. “Looks to me like a pack a schoolgirls that found themselves lost on the way to their ’omes. You fink we should ’elp ’em, Deke?”

Deke rubbed his scruffy chin in mock-thought. “Well, I don’t know, Joey, mate. I do ’ave one idea. Suppose they gave over all their wallets to us. That would lighten their load and make their trip ’ome a spot easier, wouldn’t it?”

“’At sounds right logical to me, Deke.” Joey drew a knife. “Let’s see what you’ve got. ’and it over ’ere.”

The army was stunned. Two petty thugs trying to hold up an entire armed military force? It was laughable. The army moved as one to attack the crooks, but they should have known better. These were not just any small-time thieves, but small-time thieves from Martacka! Being the horrible place it was, the thieves there were far tougher, even the small-time ones, than thieves anywhere else in the world.

In a moment Joey and Deke had shivved the entirety of the first wave of attackers and Deke yelled out, “How about that? Anyone else lookin’ to be a battallion of bleedin’ ’eroes today? No? Okay then! You might want to get about to ’andin over your wallets.”

And so the soldiers did as they were told. The horsemen. The pikemen. The archers. The charioteers. The SWAT team. All of them emptied their pockets into Joey’s hands and then the thieves began walking away. Just then a lone soldier rode up the hill from the town below. Seeing this the thieves started. “Oh no!” cried Joey “It’s one of Jack ’acksaw’s policemen! ’E must know we ’aven’t paid our taxes! We’re doomed for sure!” And the duo began running and the policeman chased after. The armed forces of Gobobaga watched this. Seeing the two men who had just mugged them running with terror from a lone member of the army they were to oppose did not instill confidence. They turned around and went home.

This outraged King Oldmo even moreso! His army made fools of! His daughter still imprisoned! Deciding to resort to drastic measures Oldmo called out his best assassin, Killvan the Sword-Master. Killvan had vanquished no less than a thousand men in battle and was capable of stealth that even the quietest jungle cat would envy. Oldmo sent Killvan off to slay Jack Hacksaw.

An hour later when Oldmo got Killvan’s face, stomache and left knee-cap in the mail, he also got a letter:

My Good Fellow,
Your Actions Were Rash Today.
For Your Princess’s Life I Order You:
Bring The Gold To Me In Person, Alone.

Before Midnight.
Or I Shall Remove Her Lungs.
–Yours with Respect,
Jack Hacksaw

And so the king, seeing he had no other choice, gathered one million gold nuggets (for this was the popular currency of the time) and began to bring them down the long steep road all by himself. He was very aware of how quickly midnight was approaching and weighed down by all the gold, he was slow.

As time dragged on the king could not progress. He tried and tried, but soon realized that the burden of carrying all the gold was too much for going down this steep road. Just then he remembered something his junior high science teacher had told him:

“Things that are round, roll!”

And so King Oldmo used his sword to cut all the gold nuggets into round shapes and rolled them all down the road. He made his meeting with Jack Hacksaw with minutes to spare and rescued Princess Flobb. They returned happily to their home kingdom never to again attempt relations with Martacka! In that wicked kingdom the Prince’s new rounded gold pieces caught on and soon everyone used the round “coins” to purchase their goods. With the ransom money the evil kingdom purchased guns.

Patrick D Ryall, the D is for Happenstance
Originally posted on Contains2 Tuesday 26 April 2005

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