From The Man Who Counts (1958) by
Poul Anderson (b. 1926-11-25, d.
"It was your idea that
we make all this newfangled apparatus instead of fighting as our
males have always fought. Now, how do we get it down to the
lowlands without demoralizing the army?"
Van Rijn shrugged. "You have sports -- contests --
explain these cars must be brought with us and, while it is not
necessary we leave at once --"
"But it is! We'll
starve if we don't!"
"My good young friend," said
van Rijn patiently, "I see plain you have much to learn about
politics. You Lannachska do not understand lying, I suppose
because you do not get married. You tell the warriors, I say,
that we can wait for a south wind all right, but you know they
are eager to come to grips with the foe and thereofre they will
be invited to play a small game. Each clan will pull so and so
many cars down, and we time how fast it goes and make a price for
the best pullers."
"Well, I'll be accursed," said
Trolwen nodded eagerly. "It's just the sort
of thing that gets into clan traditions--"
see," explained van Rijn, "it is what we call semantics on Earth.
I am old and short with breath, so I can look unprejudiced at all
these footballs and baseballs and potato races, and I know that a
game is hard work you are not required to
Happy birthday to