Stonrot was known throughout Meridell as a Techo that
was foolish, stubborn, and prone to wild ideas. In short, his wife and son were
objects of sympathy as they suffered through one crazy mess after another. One
of the more famous ones happened on the heels of his idea to become rich by
A stranger might assume that since he was pursuing
a fortune in commodities, that Stonrot knew about them. They would be wrong.
The only thing that Stonrot knew about commodities was that they were sold in
the local town square. That market day saw him there, eagerly peering at all
the produce and telling everyone how he was about to make his fortune in commodities.
He got lots of laughs, but not many took him seriously. It was just his luck
that the Poogle that did take him seriously had ideas of his own.
"Hello, there, friend. I hear you're interested
"Interested? Oh you could call it that. I'm
sort of the expert on commodities around here."
"I see. Well, then, might I interest you in
a load of them?"
"Oh, possibly, possibly. What have you got?"
"Here they are- watch out for the wagon tongue
there! Oh, dear, my apologies about that."
"Ahhhh.... never mind. Where's these commodities...?"
It was getting late in the day when Fenrot,
Stonrot's wife, looked out the window. "Goodness gracious! Here comes your father,
and he's got a wagonload of something!"
"Eh, he does?" Pebrot, Stonrot's son, poked
his head up to see. "Yeah, he does. Wonder what pop got himself now."
"I don't know, but with his wild talk this morning
there's no telling. He had a hundred Neopoints, too. Mark my words, it's trouble!"
"When is it not?" Pebrot muttered under his
breath as they went out to see what had happened.
"I've cornered the cheese market!" Stonrot crowed
as he hopped down from the wagon. "A hundred Neopoints, and I've got more cheese
than anyone could shake a stick at!"
His wife and son stared into the wagon. Stonrot
was right. It was piled high with cheeses of all colours. Large wheels of cheese
of almost every type were present. "Well!" Fenrot exclaimed. "At least we'll
have cheese for supper tonight!"
"For supper? Woman, I bought these to SELL!"
"But... can't we have a little taste?"
Stonrot's face contorted in a scowl. "Taste?
Yeah, of success. Hey, I like that, a taste of success. Son, grab that top cheese
there, we'll have it for supper tonight."
The taste proved to be quite an event. Stonrot
hacked through the wax covering of the cheese and served out portions to everyone.
All three Techos took a bite simultaneously. All three of them choked and grabbed
for bread, grapes, even lemons- anything to kill the acrid taste of spoiled
cheese. Once she recovered the power of speech, Fenrot let her husband know
exactly what he could do with his cheeses. He argued back, of course, but she'd
learned a few things in the course of their marriage that could come under the
heading of survival instincts.
In the end, he didn't throw them away, but they
sat in his shed, looking quite pretty in their hard shells. Every now and then
he'd go kick a couple as he tried to decide how to make money off them. One
day, a particularly violent kick sent the stack tumbling, and one of the cheeses
rolled out of the open door. Stonrot immediately ran after it, shouting and
waving his arms.
Stonrot had almost caught up with his cheese
when it hit a hole and flipped over. His toe immediately came into contact with
the cheese and he wound up skidding nose first into the dirt. Shaking his head,
he looked up as he heard raucous laughter.
"Hey, neighbour! What's with the rolling cheese?
Going to start some sort of new contest?"
Stonrot gritted his teeth as Tyngor, a purple
Eyrie from next door, burst out laughing again. "Actually, yes. I'm going to
have folks roll cheeses down the hill out here, see and..."
"And... well if they do it fast enough, they
get to keep the cheese!"
"Hah! Who'd want a cheese that's been rolled
in the dirt?"
"But they're coated! Look at that baby!" he
patted the cheese. "Solid wax coating half an inch thick, hard as a rock and
perfect protection against anything!"
"Yeah, I guess so. I still don't believe it.
It sounds even nuttier than your usual get rich schemes."
"Oh, I'll make money all right, I'll..."
"Eh? You'll what?"
"I'll charge people! Yeah, see, you put up so
many Neopoints to roll the cheese, and if you roll it down to the bottom of
the hill by the time I, er..."
Tyngor was beginning to look interested. "By
the time you what?"
"By the time my egg timing glass runs out, you
get to keep it!"
"Hmm. I wonder if that idea is wacky enough
to work. Nah, probably not."
"Oh it'll work! I'll even let you be my first
"Yes, you! For a flat fee of ten Neopoints,
you get your pick of any of these cheeses. Big, little, all of them nice and
round and just waiting to speed down that hill!"
Stonrot had a glib tongue, and before Tyngor
knew what had happened, he found himself at the top of the hill clutching a
particularly large wheel of honey cheese, with Stonrot at the bottom holding
up the timer.
"OK, start rolling... NOW!" and Stonrot flipped
the timing glass over.
Tyngor knocked the cheese and fluttered downhill
after it, trying to keep it upright and away from the potholes that dotted Stonrot's
poorly repaired drive. He was doing pretty good until he hit a low branch. By
the time he got the cheese upright again, Stonrot was regretfully shaking his
"You're all out, I'm afraid. Better luck next
"But I can do better than that! That branch
was just bad luck!"
"Well for another ten points..."
The second time Tyngor managed to dodge the
branch, but a couple of potholes had him swerving off the path. By the time
he reached the bottom, Stonrot simply held up the finished egg timer.
"But, but, but..."
"Sorry, Tyngor, but I've got another customer.
Your go, Grelpstey."
Tyngor sighed with disappointment as he watched
the newcomer roll a spicy juppie cheese downhill. His only comfort was that
Grelpstey didn't have any better luck. By this time, there were plenty of willing
contestants, and there was a small crowd of Neopets watching and cheering them
on as well.
The day ended with over three hundred Neopoints
in Stonrot's pocket, and seven cheeses given to lucky winners. He lost no time
in crowing about it to his wife and son. They were surprised, but still sceptical.
Bitter experience had taught them that disaster usually loomed behind Stonrot's
every temporary success. In this case, the disaster started in seven different
households of Meridell's countryside that night as seven families discovered
what they had won.
The next morning dawned bright and clear. Stonrot
stepped outside his front door to find a huge crowd clustered at the foot of
He pointed to it triumphantly. "What did I tell
you! I've got so many customers that they'll never all have time to roll a cheese!"
Pebrot and Fenrot stared at the crowd. "I don't
know, dad," Pebrot replied. "They don't look exactly right. Are you sure.."
He might as well have saved his breath. Stonrot
had trotted downhill towards the gathered mob.
"Good morning, all of you fine people!" He called.
"Who wants to be the first to roll a prime cheese today? Ten Neopoints will
get you a chance to win a premium, top of the line..."
"Ah, don't give me that guff!" growled a bulky
Draik as he stepped out of the crowd. "I got one of those cheeses at my house.
The thing's off! It's sourer than a tax collector's puss, and more acrid than
lye soap! I paid ten good Neopoints to you, and it ain't worth even rolling
down the blasted hill in the first place!"
Stonrot's jaw dropped. "Sir! Are you saying
that my cheeses are anything less than astonishing?"
"No, I'm not. I'm saying they're Stonrot bad!
You've pilfered money from us and the only astonishing thing is how bad your
Stonrot sighed dramatically and raised his arms
in a helpless gesture. "I suppose there's always a sorehead in every crowd.
How about you, Youngstong? Weren't you ready to roll a cheese yesterday when
we had to quit?"
The red Skeith shifted a bit nervously. "I changed
my mind," he growled. "I saw some of those cheeses after they opened them. They're
like you, Stonrot- they rot!" Stonrot began to look alarmed. "But wait a minute
"Wait nothing!" the offended Draik roared at
him. "You're lucky, Stonrot, I'm not wanting my money back- but I don't want
your cheese either!"
Stonrot's jaw dropped in amazement. "Huh?"
"Here!" With that, Stonrot's dissatisfied customer
threw a large hunk of rotten cheese at him. It was a perfect shot as it landed
directly in Stonrot's open mouth.
"Thbbptt puttt bbchttt!!!" he cried.
A roar of laughter went up from the crowd. "Got
him!" someone yelled. "C'mon, guys, let's give him ours too!" More moldy chunks
of cheese flew through the air, many of them landing on their target.
Tyngor reared up at the edge of the crowd and
snapped his wings to get everyone's attention. "Hey!" he bellowed. "What are
we doing messing about with just those few chunks? We've got lots more in that
shed waiting for us! Come on!"
A roar of approval came from the mob as it surged
uphill towards Stonrot's storage shed. Someone who had acute hearing might have
heard Stonrot's despairing cry of "Noooo!" as he saw his profits being ripped
from their precious storage and hacked to pieces. Then again, no one was paying
attention to what he was saying, anyway. Everyone had decided that cheese throwing
was much more fun than cheese rolling, and the initial wave of cheese slices
descended mercilessly upon poor Stonrot. He slipped, skidded, and finally wound
up flat as the pelted cheeses began to form stinking layers on top of him.
In the end, only one thing saved him from total
destruction. The huge cloud of stink was not confined to him alone. It clung
to the hands of those that threw it as well, and it began to spread. After a
few minutes, everyone broke apart, coughing and choking from the acrid fumes.
The cries subsided and the mob dispersed. Of course, the fact that they'd run
out of cheeses might have played a part in it, too.
Fenrot and Pebrot had watched the whole thing
from the front steps. Well, Pebrot had watched it all, at least. Fenrot had
covered her eyes when the shed had been broken open.
"Is it safe now?" she quavered.
"Yeah, mom, relax. Everyone's gone home, looks
like. Poor dad got creamed, though. Or would that be cheesed?"
Fenrot looked downhill at the huge mess that
littered the drive, and the pile of moldy cheese which marked where her husband
had last been seen. "Oh dear, oh dear." She made to start downhill and then
stopped. "He is OK, isn't he?" she quavered.
"Should be. Yeah, look--see?"
Fenrot looked at the base of the pile where
her son was pointing and heaved a sigh of relief. It was moving and splitting
apart as Stonrot struggled to free himself from his moldy entombment. "Thank
the good faeries! At least that wild idea is over with now!"
"Oh, I don't know," Pebrot remarked thoughtfully.
"Actually it wasn't a bad idea, it was just the cheeses that were bad. If you
had good cheeses, it'd go over great. Of course, they'd cost more, too, so you'd
need to charge more than just ten Neopoints"
Fenrot stared at her son in horror as he began
mumbling to himself. "Pebrot! What are you saying?"
"...probably have to take a slice out to show
everyone they were good, too. Huh? Oh, just thinking. It might work at that!"
"No! Please, tell me you aren't going to do
this, too! My nerves can't take any more of this!"
"Oh don't worry, mom. I can't right now. I'll
wait until the stink from this mess dies down..."
Stonrot was trudging uphill and the waves of
rotten fumes hit his small family. Both of them choked and gasped.
"...I think that'll take a long time, though!"
Pebrot finally wheezed.