About "Taddeusz and the Magic Fish"

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of the West of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Barry Kercheval (Nikolaj Zrogowacialy in the SCA), Ralph Andrews (Raoul the Urbane) and I would get together and tell, jointly, a story called "The Polish Fisherman Joke". We would compete to see how many details and funny lines we could make up on the spot, and how long we could drag the whole thing out. Everybody hated us. We had a blast!

Some years later, while living in Eugene, Oregon and attending a writers' workshop, I wrote up the joke and submitted it for critique, chuckling under my breath the whole while. I was certain it would be a hit with the other writers.

It bombed big time! The three main responses were (1)"Huh? I don't get it." [Don't you know any history?] (2)"There's already a fairy tale about a magic fish!" [There can only be one?] and (3)"This is a shaggy dog story!" [You say that as though it were a bad thing!]

I have attempted to put in enough information to make it clear that this is a different magic-fish story, and to explain about the Poles, Russians, and Mongols in advance of the punch line. But this is, and always will be, a shaggy-dog story.

So there.

P.S. Be sure to move your cursor over all the pictures, to see the text for each one.—LDO