The morning dawned early with a deafening roar as massing enemy troops shouted across the ravine. Smoke from a thousand torches boiled up into the sky. “Look lively!” cried the sergeant. “Up now! Into formation!” Throwing on our boots and helmets, we rushed to obey. “You forgot your sword,” I yelled to my comrade as he stood in line, his sheath swinging loosely at his side. “You have one,” he said with a yawn. “Mine is not enough for two of us,” I replied. “The enemy will have each his own weapon. So must we. Besides, I have practiced with my sword. Where is yours–the one you’ve spent hours with?”
He stretched his muscles. “Hours? Come, who spends hours with a sword! Man, my sword is back home with my fishing rods. I carry it when I want it–just like those fishing rods.” Sounds of tramping feet and jingling chain-mail signaled the time of the long-dreaded enemy onslaught. The morning light now revealed shining spear points and massed shields as a fearsome formation crushed toward our weakest point. “Here!” I screamed, thrusting the hilt into his hand. “You’ll need this!” He dangled that sword like a fish he was displeased to catch. “I don’t need it,” he said. “You do!” I cried. “March!” came the sergeant’s word. In flames and voices, I lost sight of my swordless friend. The day ran long, and the battle hot. When I looked that night among the barracks, I found him not. Some said he was wounded. Some said he simply vanished.