THUS SPOKE FRED: Regarding Educational Materials (Chapter 13)

Brothers and believers; Go ye forward and create texts of great importance. Include not words of righteousness, but rather words of wisdom and knowledge. Gather from all nations the logicians and create subsystems.


Fred had many friends. Some were acquaintances, some were true friends, and a few (six to be exact) were soothsayers.

It was a time of war and a time of peace. War was in the orient and peace in the hearts of those who knew what had to be done. It was a time of love and a time of concern. For those who danced in Woodstock it was love. But it was disconcerting for those who saw this dancing and loving as a supercilious fungus on a nation.

In the midst of this the six soothsayers gathered from separate nations. The first soothsayer had experience in the bazaar. He was extremely adept at bartering for goods. He also kept extremely good records of this bartering. He knew what products to bring to the marketplace on any particular day. For example, if he sold two pair of sandals in one day he would bring three pair the next day. At times he would misjudge or his producers could not keep up with his bartering ability. In that case he would write down the customer’s name, what he wanted, and when it would be available. His tablet with these orders was kept with great pride and diligence. He always delivered his goods on time whether it be sandals, rugs, or goatskin water bags.


The second soothsayer had the ability to picture infinite details of manmade objects. He could stand for hours and study various mechanisms made by others. He loved things that had movements such as windmills and water clocks. He had an equally great love for things used to add, subtract or otherwise calculate; such as an abacus. As he looked upon such things he would first determine what it did and second, how it worked. Then, in his mind, he would disassemble the various moving parts and reassemble them. This he would do over and over until he was satisfied that the understood it completely. For those parts that he could not see, his imagination worked through several possible combinations until he was satisfied with the one he considered most likely or best suited. He would then sit down with his tablet and draw each and every part and where it would reside in the larger assembly. His acute attention to details amazed others.


The third soothsayer was known for his ability to make plans. He could plan total operations for men building a pyramid, a tower, a nation, or a battle. His plans could be carried out by men who specialized in a variety of skills These skills were always the foundation of the plan. He was a thinker and not a doer. No one ever realized this because his plans were always flawless. This raised his status above that of a doer, therefore no one expected him to have time to “do”; and that was a good thing.


The fourth soothsayer could organize workers. Now here was a “doer.” As a young man he did what ever tasks his heart begged him to do; and that was many. He carved wooden gears and pulleys. He joined them together with rope belts and wooden ratchets with pawls. His skills were known far and wide. Kings and Counts called on him to teach his skills to the youth of their nation. Soon there were leagues of skilled craftsmen but no one to lead them. This soothsayer had been like a godfather to these young men. He was chosen by the king to lead and organize these workers into more productive groups. The young men loved him and would follow his every order.

The fifth soothsayer knew how to store goods and distribute them. This superb man was aware of how to store different types of materials. Cloth was to be stored in a cool dry place. Logs were stored under water. Rock was to remain in the quarry until it was considered necessary for the builders. As such, all materials were to be made ready and available when the workers asked. He knew how many beasts of burden were needed to move any number of logs. He knew how many carts were needed to move a cubit of mud bricks. He knew how many laborers were needed to move any size block of stone. His logistical skills were legend.

The sixth and last soothsayer was adept at collecting debts. This was not simply a matter of collecting money but also keeping accounts of who owed what to whom. He could and would make arrangements between lenders and borrowers. He knew how and when to void small debts in anticipation of larger ones. Of course these debts were not only for the sake of the soothsayer’s own benefit. It was for the benefit of the buyer and the seller. For whose benefit did not really matter to this soothsayer. He was only concerned with who owed what and how they would pay. And he was very good at this.


These six savvy soothsayers said they saw a superb idea. It was to build a caravan of traders. Well, not really a caravan of traders but rather a model of a such an entity. How could such a model be built?” they asked each other. ”From clay” quickly suggested one soothsayer. The others laughed loudly and slapped their knees. “How about a charcoal rendering of a trading company?” asked another. They all pondered this for a minute and decided on a simultaneous and very collective “NO! NO! Three times NO!”

The group was silent for some time. None of them wanted to voice an idea as silly as the first suggestion had been, or, as rejected as the second suggestion was. Finally the planning soothsayer spoke up. “I know, lets chart the flow of our course to its logical end.” The others all looked at him for additional information. He seemed to be speaking in tongues. They did not know what he meant by such a statement.

Recognizing their quizzical looks he added the following suggestion. “We wish to see how a trading caravan would work  .  .   . so  .  .  . LET US BUILD A CARAVAN. We will watch the ebb and flow of trading as the caravan travels.”


“Yes, a caravan” the remainder shouted with joy. “But how are we going to build a caravan one of them finally asked.”

They pondered for a while when the apparent leader of the group, which was the planner,  suggested that each of them go back to their respective nations and select a beast of burden. Each beast would represent one aspect of the model. They all agreed to the plan and departed. They would not see each other until the next seasonal symposium of savvy soothsayers. This gathering was scheduled for the second Monday of the fourth moon.

In his own nation each man purchased a pack animal. Every man, as promised, returned to the next gathering. The caravan was assembled. The first pack animal was a dromedary named ORDERS. The second animal was a pachyderm called MATERIALS. The third pack animal was the hippopotamus named OPERATIONS. The fourth beast of burden was a reindeer named BUILD. The fifth animal was to be called STOCKING; and, he was (of course) a horse. The sixth and last animal in the caravan was a gorilla. Everyone called him BILL.

It was not long before the caravan moved out on its first venture. It was then that the caravan experienced its main problem. The horse had a bad habit of nipping at the reindeer in front of it. The reindeer’s uncontrolled reaction was to leap forward. The consequence of that action was that the hippopotamus would get a jab in its rear flanks from the reindeer’s antlers. The hippopotamus would slowly turn around and give a steely glare at the reindeer. The reindeer, a rather stoic fellow, would not be stared down. These staring sessions tested the will of the hippopotamus and the reindeer. It would slow the caravan considerably. The camel would soon lie down and the gorilla would hoot and thump his chest. By the time the gorilla could be calmed down an hour or two was lost. Only then would the camel rise to its feet.


The soothsayers soon realized that they could not keep the caravan on schedule. They agreed that if they could not maintain a schedule then the common man (who would soon be required to direct the caravan) could not either. A meeting was held and they decided to visit Fred for advice. They planned a trip to his cave.

As they approached he was sitting in the mouth of the cave on a flat rock. His students were gathered at his feet. He was instructing them on “TACT,” a manner in which to work with other people. Fred espied the six savvy soothsayers. He terminated his pedagogy in the middle of his sentence and leapt to his feet with joy.

“Come brothers,” he called to his students. “Come meet the soothsayers. They perform miracles and give orders to the world.” He then introduced all of the students to each soothsayer.

“Why are you gathered together?  Why did you travel great distances? Why are you at my cave, my beloved speakers of sooths?” asked Fred.

“We have modeled a trading company in the form of a caravan” spoke the leader. He then identified each beast of burden and the problems that arose.

“Select only one type of beast and they will all behave better” responded Fred.

“But we have many drachmas and much time invested in the caravan as it is.”

Fred walked out from the shadows of the cave entrance. Alone, he strolled down the path a short distance and pondered for some time. He then returned.  “Texts, tablets, translations and training!”  And then quickly added “But not in that order.”

“First; train your beasts.”

“Second; write down on tablets all that you see and observe.”

“Third; translate what you have written down and correct the faults.

“Fourth; Each of you must write a text for the users of the caravan to follow. Call the users to your feet and teach them well.”

Thus spoke Fred.

The soothsayers did as Fred sayeth. The beasts were soothed and the caravan almost traveled on schedule, but not quite. The Kings of the soothsayer’s nations became impatient and ordered the caravan to be abandoned. It was abandoned and there was great sadness in the towns and villages on its path; particularly in HandOutDorf.

A few of the soothsayers formed their own nation. They then continued to improve the caravan with their own time and other people’s money. After many years it worked just fine and these soothsayers lived happily (and very wealthy) ever after.


“Brothers and sisters who speak in models; pray not to be a common ERP, rather become a SAP.”

Thus spoke Fred








About Waldo "Wally" Tomosky

I am proud of my work life (not the jobs, just the work).  Bait monger  Lawn mower  Paper boy  Windshield cleaner in a drive-in theater (if you don't know what a drive-in theater is there is no sense in you reading any farther)  Snack shack janitor in a drive in theater (ditto for drive-in theater)  Milling machine clean-up boy in a tool and die shop  Plastic injection press operator  Centurion in the US Army  Factory hand  Apprentice boy  Tool and die maker  Software user manual writer  Computer programmer  Ex-patriate par excellence  Engineering manager  Software test manager  Retiree  University administrator  System analyst  Retiree (2nd try)  Licensed amateur paleontologist  Retiree (3rd try)  Shovel bum (archaeology)  Retiree (4th try)  Delivery driver  Retiree (5th try)  Graduate student (skipped AA and BA due to the level of difficulty)  Retiree (finally got the drift of it) I have been writing for fourteen years and have fifteen books on Amazon/Kindle. Some horror, some twisted, some experimental, some essay and a few historical. I think that now I will really, really, really retire and just write. Lets see if I can do retirement correctly this time!
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