Danny Aijian

ECON 12, 9:15



The Attacks of the Pigovian Troops


            On any other night, Ted Toldmerry, the town elder and storyteller, would just be finishing off the last sip of his peppermint evening tea after a night of epic adventures and romantic tales. Normally about this time, he would be getting ready to climb into the familiar comfort of his creaky wooden bed with patchwork covers – but this wasn’t any other night! This was the same cloud-filled evening, ten years past, when his very first guest, Tim Dimwit had knocked, weary-eyed and helpless at Ted’s Keep in the quiet little town of Realville. Tonight, instead of removing his reading glasses and drifting into a deep sleep filled with memories before that first dreadful knock, Ted Toldmerry would be found in the center of town on his usual bench describing to the awe-struck youth, the legend and perils of Tim Dimwit from the village of Witsend, as recounted to him that famous night many years ago…


“Now come closer children,” he said, “because I want you to hear every word that Tim shared with me the night when I found him almost ready to collapse on my doorstep.” As the town children crept in, and a few curious adults gathered behind, Ted continued: “Mr. Dimwit had gone through quite his share of tribulations, and had fared a great burden by the time he had reached my Keep in this here town of Realville, but his story is one that each of you needs to remember dearly, so that we can protect our town from the barbaric troops sent once every ten years from King Pigovia in the land of Polluto. Need I remind you that it has been almost exactly ten years since they last tried to attack us! If it wasn’t for Tim Dimwit, that warned us about the Pigovian Troops, our town might have fallen to the same fate as Witsend many years ago” At this, the children of the town were wide-eyed with anticipation and a bit anxious about the potential attack. Ted Toldmerry was about to dramatize the conquests of the Pigovian troops, when a brave little girl, clutching her well-loved doll, stood up and asked, “but Uncle Ted, what about Mr. Dimwit, why was he so tired? Did you help him?” “Oh yes, of course,” said Toldmerry – “Let me start there. I had told you earlier that Tim Dimwit had come from the village of Witsend; well, once upon a time, Witsend was know to grow the most beautiful lily flowers in all the land. The lilies of Witsend though, were special – not only were they very elegant and delicate, but they also produced the most scrumtulescent fragrance than any flower or plant that had ever been grown before. And so, because the lilies of Witsend were so highly valued and revered, every resident made their living by growing their own variation of the special lilies to sell at the market in the land of Polluto, their closest neighbor. You might say that Witsend had quite a monopolistic competition at the Polluto markets because no one anywhere could grow and sell the quality and variation of lilies that the residents of Witsend could. Our friend Tim was a humble horticulturist that worked his garden on the outskirts of Witsend, farthest from the land of Polluto. Tim Dimwit didn’t like Polluto very much – nor did he like its people. Every time he would go to Polluto to sell his fine-fragranced flowers, he would have to climb over unsteady hills of garbage and tread through murky, sludgy streams filled with strange colors and dead animals. When he reached the castle gates, he would have to dodge flying trash bags from the people that would just chuck them over the walls instead of recycling what they had. Once inside with his flowers, he would have to watch out for the giant dog-sized rats that would often try to attack him and his fellow townspeople, or try to eat their flowers. At the market, Tim Dimwit would watch in disgust as the other local vendors littered all over the ground behind their stalls or fed their bio-hazardous scraps to the growling and anticipatory rats.”

            “Tim, as well as many of the other townspeople from Witsend, felt that the conditions in Polluto were getting to a point where it was too dangerous to even try to sell their flowers to the people of Polluto. Sometimes during the year, it would be so bad in Polluto, that the storms always seeming to hover over that part of the land, would extend over the little village of Witsend and kill all of the beautiful flowers from that season with smelly acid rain! This was not acceptable! So finally one day, Tim Dimwit decided to approach the lewd, crude and dirty King Pigovia about the pollution issue. In response, the king issued a decree throughout the land that “All products and/or services which go against the loyalty of Polluto’s practices and beliefs shall hereby be declared negative impacts to the progress of Polluto, and shall be fined because of its external practices.”  Upon hearing this decree, the people of Witsend were very angry – they believed that their flowers were a positive influence, not the pollution like the King had stated. And so, the people of Witsend gave up on trying to trade with Polluto. The King did not like this though, because his people needed someone with whom to trade. In an attempt to force trade again between the two cities, the King ordered his Pigovian troops to attack the little village of Witsend to compensate the people of Polluto for having to smell the luscious lilies in a land of stagnant, rotting air.”

            “Within a day, the little village of Witsend had been pillaged and plundered – completely taken of all its worth from the draining forces of the Pigovian soldiers. But Tim Dimwit, because of his distant location from Polluto, was just barely able to escape before his garden was ravaged too. Tim Dimwit made one last journey through the filth and grime outside of his now-demolished village, braving toxic rain, malicious mutant rats, engulfing currents of disposed chemicals, and the now-monumental heaps of garbage and waste in an attempt to flee for a safe-haven outside the influence of King Pigovia. After just barely making it through the corrupted landscape, Tim Dimwit chanced upon our pristine little town and was relieved to see that a light or two was still lit in a few of the windows.” Ohh! Ohhh!” exclaimed an anxious little boy, “Is this when he came to your door?!” “Yes it is child, let me tell you how it went… So Mr. Dimwit, now exhausted by his dangerous and life-threatening journey was practically crawling down the street in search of a place to lay his head and warn of the rampaging troops not far off of the horizon in search of other threats to the land of Polluto. I was in my night gown, and had just tucked myself into bed when I faintly smelled the most precious scent I have ever sensed wafting in through my window. Then suddenly, I hear a hard thud downstairs in the Keep! Hoping that we didn’t have a burglar, and curious as to the subtle scent, I crept downstairs, candle in one hand and wooden bat in the other, to see what was the disturbance. Then I saw him – door flung open, a man cold and wet lying in exhaustion just inside the entry of my humble Keep! As I put a blanket around him and prepared him some of my peppermint evening tea left over from earlier, all he could manage to get out was the phrase, “Pigovian –tax-,” which I discovered later to have meant Pigovian attacks when he was more rested. Instead of climbing back into bed knowing that our worn out stranger would be fine with his blanket and tea in front of the fire, I decided to join the man who introduced himself as Tim of Witsend and listen to how he had come about finding our little town. That night, Tim Dimwit recounted to me all that he had been through and the perils he had overcome and escaped throughout the past few days. He told me of his town’s situation with Polluto and the pain that the residents of Witsend had endured. He shared the sentiments and beliefs of his people that it should be the land of Polluto that gets attacked and fined because of the negative effects that it has on the people and villages on the exterior of its walls – not the towns and people who instead provide a positive environment for the land! After a night filled with harrowing adventures and traumatic tales like I have never heard before, the legendary Tim Dimwit from the town of Witsend thanked me for my kindness and hospitality and urged me to share his story with the people of Realville. He was now on a mission to spread the word about the Pigovian troops to others towns and prepare the lands to one day overthrow the King of Polluto to make right again the upside down and inside out laws decreed by King Pigovia. Because of his warning, we were able to fend off the troops that arrived not a week later, which would otherwise have taken us by surprise and destroyed us too. It is because of Tim Dimwit’s bravery that we owe the preservence of our town. This is why I share his story with you tonight, because soon enough, the Pigovian troops will again be at our doorsteps and this time we will be ready for them! Hopefully in your lifetime, you will see the tables turn and witness the day when a new Pigovian army will attack the land of Polluto and not the beautiful gardens and towns like Witsend. Goodnight children! And remember, if, as you are falling asleep tonight, you smell a wonderful fragrance fresh as the coming of spring, know that Tim Dimwit is wandering up and down our streets, protecting us, and watching the hillsides for the Pigovian attacks.”