BAD HAIR DAY

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IN THE great desert lived a no­madic tribe. Their leader, Beni, had risen to his rank due to his mag­nif­i­cent beard. His peo­ple be­lieved a man’s strength and courage came from his beard, and thus the man with the big­gest beard was their chief. But af­ter lead­ing the tribe for many years, Beni be­gan to feel un­com­fort­able wear­ing the beard in that hot and dusty land. He wanted to shave it off, so he called his coun­cil to­gether to get their ad­vice.

When he said he wanted to shave, the coun­cil­men were shocked. One said: “Don’t you re­mem­ber the an­cient leg­end, sire? The leader who re­moves his beard is cursed and made into a piece of earth­en­ware.”

Beni had heard this leg­end, but as he con­sid­ered him­self a mod­ern, en­light­ened thinker, he scoffed at the tale.

So be­ing head­strong, he went ahead and shaved off his once-mag­nif­i­cent beard. But just as the fi­nal whisker was cut off, a huge dust storm came up. It lasted only a few se­conds, but when it cleared, there was a man-sized clay ves­sel where only mo­ments be­fore had stood the tribe’s leader. The coun­cil then knew the leg­end to be true: A Beni shaved is a Beni urned. Clay Pott, email

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