The Knapsack, the Hat, and the Horn sounds like a wild night of debauchery, but it’s not, well, ok, it really is. The man who holds these items is a jerk. He doesn’t come by them honestly and is mean to everyone. Well, I guess I spoiled part of the story, but you can still read my summary.
Once upon a time there were three brothers who were dirt poor. They even got to the point where there was no food and no way to get any. They decided to travel to see if they might find a way to improve their lot in life.
They traveled for a while and came to a mountain of silver. One of the brothers decided this was all he needed in life and filled his bag with silver and went home. The other two brothers decided that silver was not for them. They traveled on further and came to a mountain of gold. The second brother decided gold was for him. He filled his bag with gold and went home. The third brother thought filling his bag with gold would be easy, but he decided to travel on.
He traveled for days and days. He had no food and no water. He was weak and hungry. He climbed a tree to see if there was anything that looked like food around the area and there wasn’t. Disappointed, he climbed down, but when he got to the ground there was tablecloth full of food. After he was done eating all the food he wrapped up the table-cloth and took it with him.
After a while he came to a coal burner on the side of the road who was simply going to eat potatoes for dinner. The coal burner offered to share what little he had with the man. The man told him he didn’t need to do that and that he would like to share with the coal burner. The coal burner was a bit suspicious because it didn’t look like the man had anything to share. The man took out his tablecloth and told it to fill itself. Immediately there was plenty of food and both the man and the coal burner ate their fill. The coal burner proposed a trade. He would trade the man a special knapsack he had for the tablecloth. The knapsack had the special ability to make soldiers appear at your behest if you simply tapped it. They made the trade. Once the man was a little way down the road he tested out the knapsack. Immediately seven men appeared at his disposal. He told them to go to the coal burner and get his tablecloth back. They did so.
The man traveled on and came to another coal burner. This man was in the same situation. All he had were potatoes. Once again, the man offered to share his meal with the coal burner. The second coal burner was just as amazed as the first and suggested a trade. He suggested he trade a hat with special properties for the tablecloth. The hat when spun around on a head would cause twelve cannons to go off at once and destroy all that was around. The man took the trade. Once he was down the road a little ways, he used his knapsack to call his soldiers up again. He had them go back to the second coal burner and take his tablecloth back.
Again, the man meets a third coal burner. Again, he shares the food from his tablecloth. Again, the coal burner suggest a trade. This coal burner has a horn. If you blow it, it will destroy all the fortifications around the area. The man agreed to the trade. A little while down the road, he used his knapsack to call his soldiers. He had them take the tablecloth back again. After this the man decided he had enough and was going to go home.
When he got home he saw that his brothers had built fine houses for themselves with their silver and gold. They were dressed well and were generally affluent. When the third brother knocked on their doors they would not accept him. They reasoned that if they made out so well, surely their brother would have made out equally as well. The man standing before him had a shaggy hat, knapsack and horn. He wasn’t their brother. This made the third brother angry and he decided to lay siege to his two brothers.
He used his knapsack to call group of soldiers after group of soldiers. He was soon assaulting the homes of his brothers. SOon the king somehow got word of this assault and decided to take care of it. He sent his men to squash the rabble. The third brother didn’t even blink. He simply used his knapsack to get more soldiers. The king went back defeated, but decided to try again with even more soldiers. This time the third brother turned his hat around his head. So many guns blew that the king had no other choice, but to give into the third brother’s demands. The third brother demanded to rule over the kingdom and the king’s daughter’s hand in marriage. The king had to agree.
The wedding was celebrated, but no one was really happy, including the princess. The princess tried to determine the source of the third brother’s power. She tried to convince him to get a makeover. She told him his knapsack was shabby and that he should get rid of it. He told her that the knapsack was his greatest treasure in all the world. The princess made to kiss her husband, but she took the knapsack instead. She tapped the knapsack to have warriors of her own, because the man had told her what the knapsack did. The princess ordered her men to grab the third brother and take him to her father’s palace.
The third brother was quick though and used his hat. Many things were demolished. The princess was forced to beg for mercy from the third brother. She did a little more play-acting and found out the hat’s special powers and plotted to take it away. She did so one night while the third brother was sleeping. She had the hat thrown out into the street. The man woke up and used his horn. All the walls and fortifications fell down. They even crushed the king and his daughter.
There was no one opposed to him, so the third brother made himself the king of the country.
This dude is a jerk. First of all, he’s greedy. Second of all, he gets his items dishonestly. Third of all, he uses force to make other people bend to his will. You know what we like to call a person who does that? President…no, no I’m joking… I was going to say dictator. If you really think about it though…
Silver and gold are very nice. Even today, both metals are worth quite a bit of money. Silver and gold have always held value in our society. The first two brothers knew that silver and gold were worth something so they contented themselves with choosing the “for sure” investment, if you want to get all business-y.
The third brother becomes a tyrant. He steals from hobos. What kind of a jerk do you have to be to steal from a homeless person? Seriously? Who steals from someone who already has pretty much nothing? The government…I’m joking…I’m joking…not really.
This story has turned out to be much more political than I thought it would be.
Some men just want to watch the world burn…I don’t know who said that, or what it is from, but it’s our theme for this story. This third brother is a @)$&#&^@#&#(!~!!#*#&#@#($($!!!!! Yeah, that’s right, I said it. What a jerk! What a jerk! Why, yes, I did have to type it twice. I did not feel my point would get across by typing it only once.
First of all, as I mentioned previously, he’s greedy. Who passes up a mountain of silver AND a mountain of gold? Who does that. The silver would be pretty good for me, but I definitely wouldn’t pass up the gold. This man couldn’t be satisfied with what his brothers were satisfied with. So he has the ability to be on exactly the same level as his brothers wealth-wise, but opts instead for power. Hmmmm….think about it.
If you are exactly the same as everyone else, income wise, what is left to differentiate you from everyone else? Power is a very good answer. If you could have power over your fellow beings, it doesn’t matter if you have the same wealth as they do. It only matters that they answer to you. If you have power over them you can take what they have anyway and therefore have more wealth than they do.
Why is the idea of communism springing into my head? This story was written a long time before communism was a thing, but that doesn’t mean people hadn’t tried something like it in the past. I’ve mentioned before that, on paper, communism sounds like a good idea. Who wouldn’t want everyone to be provided for and have a place to live? Everybody wins. We know that isn’t how it works in real life. Everybody does not win. There is always someone who tries to assert more power over everyone else. That person can use that power to usurp wealth and resources. Have you ever read 1984? Was everyone eating fake chocolate? NO! The people of the “inner party” were eating the better-than-crack chocolate, while everyone else was eating synthetic Hershey’s bars.
This brother is a despot. We don’t really have any indications in the beginning of the story that he’s going to turn into a dictator. That’s probably true in the case of most dictators. Hitler wanted to be an artist and only decided to make a go of being a dictator after being denied entry into art school. Did Saddam Hussein’s mother know he was going to kill thousands of people when he was a little boy? Probably not. We have no indication that this brother is going anything but traveling with his brothers looking for food.
As soon as he has a little bit of power he begins to assert it over the little guys, the little guys being the coal burners he encounters. No one is going to stand up for them. No one is going to care whether they are dead or alive. In fact, many would probably prefer them to be dead so they don’t have to look at them sitting on the sides of the roads reminding them of their own fragile place in society. This brother can belittle these homeless men because no one will care. No one will come to their rescue. No police will take any inquiries into the idea of thefts. Nothing will come from this man stealing from homeless people.
See he started with the little things. It is often said that people who grow up to be axe murderers are imbalanced from childhood. They will often torture small animals and bully kids in school. Little birds are defenseless for the most part and no one is going to come to their aid if a tyrant of a child decides to pull off their wings. They start small, but gradually work their way up until they are serial killers.
This third brother is a murderer. He murders a lot of people. We don’t even know if his brothers are still alive by the end of the tale. He kills his wife and his father-in-law. He unleashes war on a kingdom. He attacks this kingdom that did nothing to him. I can see where he might me a little miffed at his brothers, but that’s not really something to kill over. This man has no problems with this king, but yet, he bends this king over his knee and spanks him. He says, “Give me your daughter, let me rule,” and the king has no choice but to agree.
This reminds me of an episode of Futurama. It’s one of the earlier episodes. The planet of Earth has gone to war against a planet inhabited by bouncing balls. The planet of bouncing balls has done nothing to Earth it turns out. Earth is simply attacking them and driving them away from their own planet for no reason. These bouncing balls did nothing to the people of Earth. Resources perhaps?
We are no strangers to one country invading another country for resources or purely because of political reasoning. There are fabricated reasons for warfare, in which some of us are quite familiar with these days. It simply takes one dictator to say, “Let’s do it and by “let’s” I mean you guys, because I’m not going to get my hands dirty.”
This man is a bully. He takes from those who are already poor. He brings warfare on those that do not deserve it. He pillages cultural heritage and brings traditional ruling powers to their knees. Did someone foresee Hitler? Was this a vision of some wise woman from back in the day? If I look hard enough will this story have been written by Nostradamus?
It just goes to show you that we as people have been in a never-ending cycle of government power structures. Remember, earlier how I was joking about the president and the government? This is what I typed:
“First of all, he’s greedy. Second of all, he gets his items dishonestly. Third of all, he uses force to make other people bend to his will. You know what we like to call a person who does that? President…no, no I’m joking… I was going to say dictator. If you really think about it though…
The third brother becomes a tyrant. He steals from hobos. What kind of a jerk do you have to be to steal from a homeless person? Seriously? Who steals from someone who already has pretty much nothing? The government…I’m joking…I’m joking…not really.”
Yes, I did just quote myself. Why did I say something so inflammatory? Why did I open my mouth to dis the government? Am I crazy? Do I wear a tinfoil hat? No, at least, I would like to think that I am fairly level-headed and only use tin-foil for making wonderful barbecue ribs in the oven.
If you look at history and how societies have fallen, you will see familiar patterns in many of your own societies. Yes, the U.S. has been going through a bit of discontent, but so, too, have other countries. Greece? Egypt? The U.K.? Some of these powers have been in power for a long time and they’re coming back full circle. Our governments are changing either for the better or the worse. This is a dynamic process; it happens all the time. Our countries are evolving and they don’t always evolve in a way that we like. That’s why we’re seeing seemingly wide-spread discontent in some areas of the world.
This story simply illustrates one kind of person who changes the way a country works. It just took this one man to rile up enough power underneath himself to take over a country. Just the one man. Hitler was just one man. Mussolini was just one man. Khan, Genghis not Star Trek, was just one man. We have examples of these “one man” scenarios that have forever altered the timeline of events in the history of Earth.
This story exists to point out a harsh truth. Your life can change and it can change because of one power-hungry tyrant. You might not be able to foresee it happening at all, maybe you’ll die, maybe you’ll fight, or maybe you’ll give in. We think we’re so secure and we are a bit pompous to think that. We think we’re so secure in our first-world countries. We could never end up like these feuding war zones around the world. If you think that way, you’re terribly wrong. Our place in the world is fragile and can change at any moment.
“No one is going to care whether they are dead or alive. In fact, many would probably prefer them to be dead so they don’t have to look at them sitting on the sides of the roads reminding them of their own fragile place in society.”
We don’t like to hear all these stories of discontent about other countries because it reminds us that our own place in the world could be just as fragile. We could break at any moment. Our lives could be just like the lives of the poor people we hear about on the news.
This story is a reminder. It’s a humbling story. Don’t get too big for your britches. Don’t be too sure of your place.
I still think this guy is a jerk. He really is. He’s a )(*$)*$^#_$@#)$*#)&$#@*$#(@*$&)#@(*, like I said earlier. Yes, I do realize that I just held down the shift key while typing random symbols, but you really don’t want to know what that means in English; it would offend you. I don’t want to offend you. Yes, I also realize that I’ve probably offended you more than once if you’ve read my site on more than one occasion. Trust me, I do not strive to offend you.
I like the idea of a warning. I like this humbling bit about this story. The world is a bigger place than we think about every day. We need to remember where some people are today is a place we can be tomorrow.