Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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On a plain in central Arizona, Ronnie Roadrunner was resting under a tree. He was unaware that Christopher Coyote was nearby. The main objective in Christopher’s life had been to make a fine meal of Ronnie Roadrunner. And now, there he was, easy pickings. He snuck up to Ronnie and quickly put his paw on top of Ronnie’s back thus holding him down and keeping him from running away.
“At last, I have you.” gloated Christopher.
Realizing that he had been caught, Ronnie knew that he needed to depend on his wits to escape from this terrible predicament.
“Congratulations, Christopher, you have at last caught me and I am resigned to my fate. However, as a courtesy to you, I would like to make some suggestions.”
“I know you to be a clever opponent,” said the coyote, “but you will not get away from me today, and tonight, I will enjoy having you for dinner. I do not need any suggestions from you at this time.”
“Listen for a few moments, and you will agree that what I am about to tell you will be of great interest. It has to do with exactly the dinner that you have just mentioned. Tonight, you need to celebrate in style. You do not want to prepare me for dinner in the slipshod manner. Your meal has to be elegant.”
“All right, tell me what you have in mind.”
“There are many ways to prepare a roadrunner for dinner. Roadrunner’s are delicious under glass, roasted, barbecued, or even au jus. These are only a few ways, and, given some thought we can come up with other ways. Surely, this meal tonight should be a meal to end all meals!”
“I see your point,” replied Christopher. “However if I raise my paw from your back, you will escape, and I will not have the pleasure of enjoying that elegant dinner.”
“I have a solution to that problem,” said Ronnie. “You are a gentleman and I am a gentleman. We can make a bargain as honorable inhabitants of the Animal Kingdom. I will challenge you to a race that I know I cannot win. When I lose the race, you and I can sit together calmly, and decide how best you can serve me. The more we deliberate on the subject, the better will be the outcome!”
“You are right about the race,” responded Christopher. “I’m sure I can run twice as fast as you. There is no doubt that I would beat you, and then we could have a pleasant time deciding how you should be prepared for dinner.”
“Then we are in agreement. You can be assured that when you win the race, I will surrender, and you can do with me what you will! However, it should not be a race where you win immediately. We need to dignify the event by having you give me a sixty-four yard start. Since you are twice as fast as I am, it should not take you long to overtake me, and as soon as you have done that, you will win the race, and me as the prize.”
“That seems to be an admirable way to handle the event,” responded Christopher. “We will start where we are, and you can have a head start at sixty-four yards. When I give a sharp bark, you and I will start running. As soon as I overtake you, I will be declared the winner.”
“And I will submit,” added Ronnie.
“How gracious you are!” complimented Christopher. “How true to your word!”
Christopher lifted his paw from Ronnie’s back. As agreed, Ronnie did not attempt to run away. He had two reasons for this that he did not divulge to Christopher. First, he had promised, as a responsible opponent, that he would run a race and surrender when he lost. Second, he knew that if he attempted to run away now, Christopher would have no trouble catching him, and this time, there would be no deal.
Ronnie walked slowly to a point sixty-four yards away from the tree. He turned and yelled, “You may give your signal now.” Christopher gave a sharp bark, and the race was on.
Both began running as fast as they could. When Christopher reached the point where Ronnie had been at the start of the race, he saw that he had not won yet because Ronnie was not there. He was still thirty-two yards ahead.
Both continued running. Christopher was indeed a much faster runner than Ronnie. But when he covered the thirty-two yards that Ronnie had been ahead, he saw that, even now, he had not yet won the race. Ronnie was now sixteen yards in the lead. They continued running.
Presently, Ronnie was still ahead by eight yards when Christopher reached the point where Ronnie had recently been.
When Christopher covered those yards, he found that Ronnie had stopped running.
“Why have you stop running?” Christopher asked angrily. “It is not fair that I catch you before the race is ended. You must continue running.”
“I suddenly thought of something, that you should know,” said Ronnie.
“And what would that be?” Inquired Christopher.
“Don’t you see, this race can never end. You will never win and you will never have an opportunity to enjoy me for dinner.”
“Nonsense,” responded Christopher. “Look I am getting closer and closer to you the more we run.”
“That’s just it,” remarked Ronnie. “You will never catch me! When you get to where I was, I won’t be there. I will still be ahead even if it’s only a little bit. And as we continue to run, I will continue to be ahead. My lead will get smaller and smaller, but there will always be a lead, even if we race all night. Therefore, you will never catch me, and never get ahead!”
“I never thought of that!” said Christopher. “You are absolutely right. If I cannot win the race, then we will not be able to have that dialogue of how I can prepare you for dinner. Thank you for informing me of this.”
“I think the worthy thing for us to do at this point,” suggested Ronnie, “is to adjourn for the time being, and wait until you catch me again. At that time we can decide on another way that we can plan your menu.”
“And I, as an commendable coyote, must agree with you. If I can never win this race, there is no point to my trying.”
Christopher allowed Ronnie to go his way.
The moral of this story is that it is important to have a good, solid mathematical knowledge that you can benefit from when needed.
This is a tale with a motto. Christopher Coyote had captured Ronnie Roadrunner and was looking forward to having him for dinner that night. Ronnie had to use his wits to gain freedom. This story tells how he did it. There is a moral to the story at the end.