For centuries, beyond recollection of mind or remindance of written record, the little German village of Eedyotz, set high in the sun-drenched, snow-capped, Ovendorf Mountain Ranges, prospered, as the constant flow of freshly-melted droplets formed rivulets of sweet, lazy water, which meandered their inexorable way to ground level to meet, join, and become part of the Gansegut River, which fed the fruit trees, the gardens, and the soil of Eedyotz, to the envy of all who knew of it, for the economy of the city and the lifestyle of its populace was a wondrous, splendid, and awesome blessing to behold and admire.
Then progress set in.
With the new factories, the trading center, the train station, the military school, and the housing projects, all operating at peak capacity, the Gansegut River, hardly more than a wide creek at best, was incapable of supplying the water needed to meet the requirements of growth.
The source was withering away.
And, without water, there would be no city.
And, with no city, there would be no mayor.
And no mayor was a particularly disturbing prospect for Wilhelm Duncestein, the mayor of Eedyotz.
As worry over the water dilemma became a constant in his concerns, the mayor took to walking along the riverbank, and, as he watched the watermarks of familiarity being replaced with new and lower ones, he began to pray for a miracle.
One day, Mayor Duncestein was following his pattern of river gazing when he discovered, partially buried in the mud, a lamp, which looked like one of Punjab's shoes except that it was curled up at both ends.
Realizing that this could well be the divine intercession he was seeking, he freed the lamp from the goo and rubbed it with Aladdinic fervor, and naturally a genie appeared.
When the shock and surprise had passed, (after all, this is not an everyday occurrence), the mayor listened to the story of the old witch's curse, etc, etc, etc, and was surprised (a new surprise) to learn that his genie reward was to be one wish, not three as most rule books about these situations specify.
One wish, however, was enough to solve the water problem, so the mayor agreed to accept the diluted version and asked for the rules.
"First," the genie said, "what is your wish?"
"I want to raise the water level of the Gansegut River so that there will be, forever, a plentiful supply of water for my city."
"Good. That's easy. Tomorrow morning, come back to this very spot. Count up to two in German, and say, in English, "UP, WATER!"
The night, the mayor, too excited to relax, slept poorly, and awoke exhausted.
Tired in body and tired in mind, he ran, as best he could, to the very spot, but, forgetting the explicit instruction to count up to two in German, counted (as is more customary in matters of this kind) up to three in German, and said, in English, "UP, WATER!"
And the Gansegut River disappeared.
New contributor NORMAN FINSON has a varied career. He is a playwright, auctioneer, drama critic, baseball player, and expert snake handler. He started as a vaudeville singer at age 3.
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