One day Hello and Pencil went for a walk. Normally they’d just stroll around the block but Pencil thought his little friend was looking rather chubby, so, once they set off, he announced that they would be walking all the way to Crooked Path Wood.
Hello, being a lazy sort of fellow, was just about to tell Pencil his foot was sore, when Pencil, anticipating is his friend’s aversion to exertion, added that he had something exciting to show him there.
“Oh goody,” said Hello, his foot miraculously healed. “I like exciting things.”
Of course, what Pencil said was a big fat lie. There was nothing exciting in Crooked Path Wood. Thankfully, Hello was as simple as he was lazy, so, with the right amount of enthusiasm and a few more porkies, Pencil would be able to make a stone seem exciting.
Normally, Pencil frowned on lying, and got especially cross if he caught Hello telling one – which was quite often. Why, just the other day, Pencil asked Hello if he had seen his Jammie Dodger. Hello assured him he hadn’t – which might have been believable were it not for the Dodger in his hand and crumbs on his face.
Naturally, Pencil reasoned that his own lie was permissible. After all, it was for his friend’s benefit, so it was really just a fib…though, strictly speaking…
Just as Pencil was quibbling with himself over the moral ambiguity of the situation, they came to Crooked Path Wood, and, who do you think they saw? Well, actually, they didn’t know, as they had never met him before.
Who it was, was none other than Lalley O’Malley the One Legged Salesman.
Hello was overjoyed – the exciting thing far exceeding his expectations.
Pencil, seeing the look on his little friend’s face, breathed a sigh of relief, he hadn’t lied after all…or had he? Well, strictly speaking…oh that would have to wait till later, introductions first.
“Top-o da morn’n to ya fine sirs,” said Lalley O’Malley. “Da name‘s Lalley O’Malley and have I gota treat f’yas t’day.” With that, Lalley O’Malley stepped aside, revealing a cart filled with lots of fancy bottles and a big sign saying Magic Potion.
Hello’s face lit up. “Wow, Magic Potion,” he said in awe. “This is the best exciting thing ever!”
Pencil on the other hand, rolled his eyes. He knew all about fellows like Lalley O’Malley. “Humph! Magic Potion indeed!” he grumbled.
Before Hello and Pencil had time to think another thought, Lalley O’Malley launched into a fantabulous sales pitch. He hopped up and down on his one leg, his bright eyes sparkling in the sunlight, all while extolling the virtues of his magic potion, which, according to Lalley O’Malley, could bring you riches, make your true love fall in-love with you and cure warts.
Hello was beside himself with joy. Although he didn’t have any warts and thought it would be peculiar for his true love, Jammie Dodgers, to fall in-love with him, he did like the sound of riches.
Pencil had a slightly different take on proceedings, and when Lalley O’Malley eventually paused to draw breath, Pencil launched into a longwinded lecture on the ethicality of selling a non-FDA approved substance, and asked to see his trading licence.
Hello couldn’t believe his ears. Why had his friend brought him all the way to see the exciting thing in the wood, only to act like a tosser when they got there?
As for Lalley O’Malley, with each of Pencil’s accusations, a little sparkle went out of his eyes and a little spring went out of his hop; until, with his hop and his heart completed deflated, he fell over, revealing as he did so another leg tucked into his jacket.
“Why, you good-for-nothing, unprincipled charlatan,” shouted Pencil, indignantly. He was just about to launch into another lecture on the wickedness of such deception, when he noticed that Lalley O’Malley was crying. Not a fan of seeing someone cry, Pencil took compassion on their new friend, help him up, untucked his leg and gave him a hanky.
Once Lalley O’Malley had composed himself, he explained to his new friends that the magic potion wasn’t really magic, or even potion; instead, it was just water in fancy bottles. He didn’t mean any harm and it wasn’t that he wanted to deceive people as much as he wanted to make people happy, and what person wouldn’t be happy if they had riches, true love and no warts?
Pencil conceded that Lalley O’Malley made a good point but stressed that deception is deception no matter how you dress it up. Then he suggested that people also need other things, like water, so why not just sell water?
Lalley O’Malley agreed that he would try that, and thanked his new friends for being so kind and understanding.
Feeling rather pleased with himself, Pencil bid farewell to Lalley O’Malley, and he and Hello continued on their walk in Crooked Path Wood, though not before Hello bought 2 bottles of Magic Potion.
Lalley O’Malley, taking on board Pencil’s advice, began selling his fancy bottled water as fancy bottled water, instead of Magic Potion. And, what do you know? He sold more bottles in one day than he used to sell in a week; it turns out people have more use for water than they do for Magic Potion.
Of course, for a fellow like Lalley O’Malley, selling water was as boring as wet weekend in Wigan. So, after a month, he sold his cart, hitched up his leg and went into Real estate.