A Homage to

The Catalan Farmer (1)

A worthy rival

Among the imponderables that most threaten the Catalan farmer's peace of mind are the weather and his neighbour. His anguish at rain, shine, frost and heat is compounded by his horror at the thought that his neighbour might produce larger tomatoes, fatter pigs, longer grass or more potatoes than him. The following story illustrates this rivalry.

A Catalan farmer was out ploughing in the early morning mist, anxious to get his wheat sown before his neighbour did. Suddenly, there was a loud 'Clunk' as the plough unearthed an earthenwar jar. The jar broke in two and a genie appeared before him beaming. The farmer, irritated by this interruption in his work, scowled back in response.

'Thank-you', said the genie. 'In return for releasing me from my capitivty, I can grant you just one wish... anything you like. But remember, whatever you ask for, I will also grant to your neighbour, twice over.'

Without hesitating, the farmer answered 'Pluck my eye out!'.

Source unknown (heard on Catalan TV).