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STRAWBERRY

BACK IN THE DAYS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, WHEN A BOY WAS
APPROACHING MANHOOD, HE'D HAVE TO GO OUT INTO THE WORLD
AND DO A MANLY DEED. THE DEEDS INCLUDED THINGS LIKE
KILLING A LION OR SLAYING A GIANT, BUT EACH YOUNG MAN
WOULD HAVE TO PERFORM SOMETHING UNIQUE. THIS IS THE
STORY OF ONE SUCH LAD.
WHEN HIS TIME CAME, HE WENT OUT INTO THE WOODS TO DO HIS
MANLY DEED. CONFUSED, HE SEARCHED FOR WEEKS UNTIL ONE DAY
HE FOUND IT--A STRAWBERRY. BUT THIS WAS NO ORDINARY
STRAWBERRY. THIS ONE WAS TEN FEET HIGH AND MEASURED
FOURTEEN FEET IN CIRCUMFERENCE. HE SAID TO HIMSELF,
"SURELY, THIS MUST BE IT."
SPENDING TWO MORE WEEKS IN THE WOODS, OUR HERO BUILT A
CART FOR HIS STRAWBERRY. WHEN HE ARRIVED BACK IN ROME
WITH IT, THE PEOPLE CAME RUNNING OUT INTO THE STREETS TO
SEE IT. IN FACT, THEY WERE SO AWED BY THE GIANT STRAW-
BERRY, THAT THEY CONSTRUCTED A TEMPLE AROUND IT AND
MADE THE YOUNG MAN THE "KEEPER OF THE BERRY."
AS THE WORLD BEGAN TO HEAR ABOUT THIS STRAWBERRY, PEOPLE
WOULD MAKE PILGRIMAGES TO ROME IN ORDER TO SEE THIS
MAGNIFICENT SIGHT. WELL, ONE NIGHT THERE WAS A KNOCK
ON THE DOOR. THE YOUNG MAN SAID, "WE'RE CLOSED, COME
BACK TOMORROW." BUT THE KNOCK PERSISTED. FINALLY,
OUT OF ANNOYANCE, HE OPENED THE DOOR AND SAW THREE SHADY
LOOKING CHARACTERS DRESSED IN BLACK TOGAS AND CARRYING
VIOLIN CASES. ONE OF THEM SAID, "WE WANT TO SEE THE
STRAWBERRY." THE YOUNG MAN TOLD THEM THAT HE WAS SORRY
BUT THEY COULDN'T SEE THE STRAWBERRY UNTIL THE NEXT DAY.
WITH THAT THE LEADER OF THE GROUP, GRABBED OUR HERO AND
SAID, "LOOK KID, WE HAVE COME TO SEIZE YOUR BERRY, NOT
TO PRAISE IT!"

Submitter comment: I DON'T KNOW THE NAME OF THE INFORMANT. HE WAS ENTERTAINING
A GROUP AT A PARTY WHEN I HEARD THIS.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Keyword(s): SHAKESPEARE: WE'VE COME TO BURY CEASER, NOT TO PRAISE HIM.

Subject headings: 6677 Formula Tale

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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