24 October 2004

The last otter race

Otter racing - a nasty sport if ever there was one. Thankfully people don't do it any more. I thought you'd like to know why.

The little town of Hickmingus used to hold regular otter races. They took place around the river, which was transformed into a large stadium for the event.

Ordinarily, such matters would be simple affairs: a pair of otters would charge around the course, over land and under water, and whichever came first was the winner. However, once a year they'd hold a super race. Thirty otters would be sent onto the course in a brutish melee. They charged round hairpin bends, up and down tightropes and jumped through burning hoops. At the end of the course was a lethal stretch of underwater tunnels, and usually only five or ten of the otters came through it alive. The winners would be crowned and given a wonderful meal and sent on their way.

The sport was terribly popular. But the otters had a surprise in store at the 2001 Great Autumn Otter Race. Three of the otters who were to participate in the race sent word far and wide throughout the land. They were looking for the descendants of Otto the Great, and as it happened, they managed to find them.

So the Autumn race begun. The crowds were huge; cheering and hollering filled the air. The otters were released and they charged around the course. And then it happened. Everyone in the crowd thought it was drums banging, but how wrong they were. Boom boom boom boom. Over the tops of the stadium came the most amazing and terrifying sight.

An army of two hundred giant otters came charging into the stadium. They crushed people underfoot, demolished buildings and walls, and most important of all they set the small otters free.

The townsfolk of Hickmingus got the message and never held another race. They realised they'd been horrible to otters, so built a statue to Otto the Great and stuck notices of apology to every tree in the neighborhood. They weren't sure if otters could read, but it was the thought that counted.

I guess family, no matter how distant, is a wonderful thing to have.