Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Scales

"The amount of sheep upon my scale is inaccurate!" bellowed Wanda the Scale Mistress.

The market continued to throng around her and her enormous golden scales. Nobody paid the slightest bit of attention to the blindfolded Scale Mistress, except for three people: Morphis, the shepherd; Jorlenia, the mason; and Icklebod, the executioner. The midday crowd in the market went about their business.

"You have tried to cheat me of the rightful amount of sheep that we agreed to when I built you your new watchtower! And what's a shepherd doing with a watchtower, anyway? That's some lazy shepherding," Jorlenia said.

"I've done no such thing," Morphis said. He licked his lips while his eyes darted back and forth, looking for an escapre route. "How do you mismeasure sheep?"

"I don't know," Jorlenia said, "but you've managed to find a way."

"Preposterous!" Morphis said.

"You know the penalty for bringing mismeasured goods before me," Wanda the Scale Mistress said.

Icklebod split an apple across his axe and began to eat the half that remained in his hand.

"How is the Scale Mistress supposed to know, anyway? She can't see!" Morphis said as Icklebod approached him. Morphis backed up. "She's got that fabric wrapped around her head."

Wanda pulled off the fabric from around her eyes so that Morphis could see the look on her face.

"Are you for real? This is to block out the glare, it's not opaque. One of your 'sheep' brayed like a donkey. And there isn't just one ass that I can see," Wanda said. She waved Icklebod off. "Give Jorlenia her sheep. Next time, Jorlenia, remember that sheep are sold by a count of, say, three sheep. 'Five thousand pounds of sheep' is not a measurement."

The Moral: a furlong of sheep is not a functional unit of measurement.

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