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ONCE UPON A TIME, as told by a fable in the land of Nippon, in the city of Hiroshima, where famous bombs are dropped, another bomb was dropped with equal catastrophic effect. According to the jackal, the reporter, there was a meeting of representatives of the animal kingdom. Everything was progressing smoothly and each was supping from its own dish when a fight broke out between the lioness and the ridgeback. The ridgeback had been marching around for the last umpteen years, complaining that the rations were not equally divided, specifically the share going to smaller animals after an unsuccessful year of hunting. And so Mr Ridgeback, after prowling around, grinding its teeth and mumbling under its breath, decided to confront the animal chief, the lioness, head-on. Funny enough, the item of disagreement was not even on the agenda but, who knows, Mr Ridgeback probably had support from the other small animals. The Akita was there and had led off the discussion. It might have tried to appease the ridgeback. Madame Lioness was its quiet self when the bomb was dropped. I am not sure how long its memory is. It is debatable whether the ridgeback is suffering from such hunger as to warrant the intervention, although confronting the lioness about the constitutionality of the assembled animals may justify the pitch battle. At home the pups went around howling and having their say. Some said that the ridgeback was bold and figured that it was time some animal yap out. However, the jackal thought differently. He yapped that since 1991 when there was such a famine in the land that not even a scrap was left for eating and the pups had to make profound decisions in order to survive, no such calamity arose and the fact was that the silo remained adequately stocked. What was the purpose of the dropping of the bomb, only to let off a nuclear volume of steam? Back at home the jackal and its kinfolk had a lot to yap about. One whip snapper which pride itself as an expert in the animal kingdom, declared that the clan needs to be careful that it will not have to confront the lioness under different circumstances. It is a known fact that the lioness does not answer to itself, but has to follow the animal constitution. The Wild Coot does not get into dogfights. His father, who gave advice outside of the hearing of his mother, always said: “Don’t trouble trouble till trouble trouble you.” All I say is that we have an internal devaluation that gets worse week by week every Friday. While we are asked to be patient after being asleep for so long, the world marches on leaving us poorer every day. The Wild Coot has no axe to sharpen with the appointment of a qualified lady from the European block to be head of the International Monetary Fund. I am afraid of the IMF and it takes a bold man to confront it either in anger or in jest. “My mother always told me, within hearing range of my father: “People in glass houses must not throw stones.” I still hanker for the old time days when it was said that Guy Fawkes intended to blow up the House of Parliament. In those days we were not confronted by the conflicting opinions of the economists. The girls got starlights and ran around with the pretty glows and giggled while the boys, swift on their heels, smashed the small bombs on the pavement or got a tot, dropped some “carboil” in it, spat into the tot and shook it. A burning tyre came in handy and the world exploded. Life was simple then because some “carboil” from the drugstore only cost a sixpence. No need to mention the conkies waiting at home. For the older animals, enjoy Guy Fawkes Day. • Harry Russell is a banker. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.