Friday Fable. Lubans’ The Rude Old Man

Posted by jlubans on June 29, 2017

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Caption: Mr. Rude by Roger Hargreaves (1935 – 1988).*

There once lived a grumpy old man, known and avoided by large and small.
Neither troll nor ogre, just plain rude.
On the village bus, if he spotted a small child sitting in a seat for the elderly, he’d churlishly order her, with a jerk of his thumb, out of the seat.
Technically in the “right”, he’d growl and grimace instead of smiling and kindly stating what he wanted.
If a dog ogled him and wagged its tail in hopes of a treat, Fido would be disappointed with what he got: a boot to the butt.
Jupiter, high on Mt. Olympus, saw all this and smiled. The rude old man was more than fair game.
From now on every rude act would be reciprocated with rudeness. We’ll see how he likes it!
After punting a small child off the walking path into the bushes, the old man found himself sprawled on the ground, bumped into the dirt by a speeding bicyclist.
The kid he'd kicked into the shrubs chortled gleefully.
On his way to catch the bus, he slammed the building’s front door in a neighbor’s face, making her put down a child and a shopping bag in order to get out her key.
Just as our churl reached the bus, it pulled away. – the driver grinned in the mirror and flipped him the bird.
At the library, he drove the clerk to tears with his unreasonable demands to take for himself a book reserved for another reader.
Then, flustered at the grocery store, the staff blew off his inquiry as to the location of something he needed. It was as if he were invisible.
Until, a young woman appeared out of nowhere and asked in a kind voice, “Can I help you?” She smiled like an angel and said, “I know this market, tell me what you are looking for.”
Bemused and bewildered by her kindness, he told her and she led him right to the item's unlikely location.
Normally, he would have cursed the store manager for egregious (a favorite word) stupidity, instead he turned to thank his guide, but she was nowhere to be found; as she had appeared so she disappeared.
Hmmm, he thought long and hard.
On the bus home, he gave up his seat to a young mother and child, our preux chevalier!

Moral. Kindness may not always beget kindness but rudeness will get you a Jovian kick in the pants.

*Mr. Hargreaves elaborates: “Mr. Rude always wears a black hat.
He has said some very mean things in the past.
Once he did make dinner for Mr. Happy, and they are now friends.”

N.B. My next book, Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, comes out in September 2017 as an e-book ($2.99) and a soft cover print-on-demand book, ($27.99). The print book will feature original illustrations by the renowned Béatrice Coron.
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783
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Cover: "Fables for Leaders" PRE-PRINT, 203pp. 2017.

© Copyright John Lubans 2017

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