Some Notes on Semi-Arid Mushroom Farming

by Albrecht von Vielenahrstoffe

Once upon a time, in a small village south of what we now call Turkey and north of the City of Baghdad (Jewel of the Abbasid Caliphate), there was a small and unremarkable village. As a matter of protocol, this village was possessed of a number of specialty positions resultant from the positive reinforcement cycle known as the “Division of Labor.” The town thus communally employed, amongst other things, a smith, a cooper, a wainright, and a farrier (although he mainly dealt with goats, horses being as uncommon as they were in Northern Iraq).

However, not everyone in the village could obtain such a fine and specialized vocation– the world will always need its farmers. Indeed, even amongst the farmers, there existed, by Randian necessity or Marxist impotence, a gradient of wealth. In this way, the richest farmer in the town lived quite comfortably, while his antipode, the misbegotten yeast farmer named Tengezar, was the most impoverished man of the village.

Tengezar was an unhappy fellow. His wee income starved his family, whom he loved dearly. The market for his yeast was curtailed by regional taboo, and he was correspondingly accorded very little respect by his peers in the village. A week before our story begins, a freak shower of fungicide had devastated his last harvest.

Nonetheless, things had started to look up for Tengezar. A persistent lump that had been firmly attached to his left calf seemed to have passed, and a grand new opportunity to invest in portobello mushrooms had “cropped” up. All Tengezar needed was disposable capital, so he went to one of his few friends (a cat-herd), and they worked out a short term exchange of funds, at interest.

Tengezar got to work immediately. Spores were disporsed, manure was maneuvered. Within a few months, he was raking in profit, hand over fist. He became the most popular man in the village, and with Tengezar’s star rose that of the cat-herd. Their fame began to draw the attention of nearby towns, but just as their fame began to carve a spot in the annals of folk hero-dom, tragedy struck. A local militia executed them both for practicing usury, effectively killing two Kurds for one loan.

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