A duck, a melon and an anecdote were travelling on a ship. “Let's tell stories to pass the time!” the duck suggested. The melon was enthusiastic and rolled around excitedly while the duck went first. “Once upon a time there was a pond that had never seen its own reflection. One day a young lady walked past and dropped her mirror in the water. When the pond saw what it looked like, it was very upset. 'I'm so soft!' it groaned. 'Why can't I be hard like a boulder?' The months passed and the season changed and in the depths of winter the pond froze solid. 'Woe is me!' it lamented. 'I got what I wanted, but now skaters scar me with the sharp blades on their boots. I can't wait to thaw out again!'“

The melon was very impressed with this fable and tried hard to relate one of equal worth. “In a land far away lived a doorknob. It thought that everybody loved it, because people kept caressing it. 'I'm so popular that I ought to be the president of the republic I dwell in,' it said to itself. So it detached itself from the door and went to the presidential palace to usurp the incumbent ruler. But the true president merely glanced at it and said, 'My lavatory door is lacking a knob. This one will do fine!' And so the doorknob became covered with germs from unwashed hands and realised that it would never be loved again.”

Now it was the anecdote's turn. But it had been busy drilling a hole in the bottom of the ship. As they began to drown it said, “Why should I tell a story? Don't you know who I am?”

¶ When ability goes unrecognised, don't be too surprised if it decides to get up to mischief undetected.