-I'm terribly sorry sir, but I can't actually accept this as payment.

~Well why not?

-Well, to put it simply sir, it's an elephant.


-And that is not a regular form of currency around here.

~Well why not?

-Government rules I'm afraid. If you had a cheque, or credit card maybe?

~No, no, I don't hold with that sort of thing, I always use elephants.

-I'm afraid I can't accept it.

~Well, look, what sort of shop is this?

-It is a shoe shop sir.

~And so, would elephants not be an ideal source of payment?

-How so, sir?

~Well, what are most of your shoes here made of?


~And from where does leather come?

-From cows, to the best of my knowledge.

~Exactly, from cows. Now, what is a male cow called?

-I assume you mean a bull.

~Yes, and what is a young cow called?



-A calf?

~Well done. Now, what is a male elephant called?

-Em, well, I'm not quite so sure on that one.

~Well have a guess.

-I really don't know.

~Go on, just say the first thing that pops into your head.


~Nope, try again.

-Rolling pins.

~You're not even trying.

-Not really, no.

~It's called a bull.

-Really? Fascinating.

~Truly; now, can you possibly guess what a young elephant is called?

-I don't suppose it'd be a calf would it?

~Oh you're keeping up, well done! Now, do you see the connection?

-They share the same terms for both male and young?




-...I'm sorry, I think I'm still missing something.

~Well, if both male elephants and male cows are called bulls, and young elephants and young cows are called calves, then they must be the same creatures! Elephants are just bigger.

-...you're not joking are you?

~Not in the slightest.

-You honestly think that beast behind you is a cow?

~Well no, it's obviously an elephant.


~But it just so happens that elephants and cows are the same thing.

-Somewhat less agreed.

~And so, as elephants are cows, you can make shoes from them.

-...If I ring this silent alarm the police will be here in less then two minutes.

~Well it makes sense, elephant=cow=leather=shoe=money for you.

-It may make sense to you, but the rest of the world will disagree.

~I think not.

-Very well then, if they are indeed the same, how do you explain the slight variations in the animals? For example, the different shaped bodies, the height difference, the tusks?

~Have you ever seen an old cow?

-...That's neither here nor there.

~No, this is here. Somewhere else is there, and what we have right now is a question you don't want to answer.

-Well how do you distinguish between a young and an old cow?

~Same as you would with a human, grey hair, wrinkles, stuff like that.

-You're taking the piss aren't you?

~No, honestly.

-In that case no, I have never seen an old, grey, wrinkly cow.

~Well now you have!

-...Your elephant is an old cow?

~Yes, notice, he is balding, with very little hair left, and since most of it has gone his skin has turned grey instead. Also, the horns, which once rested here, on his forehead, have now migrated down to his mouth, where they aid ingestion.


~Notice too the wrinkling of the skin, which has contorted his face into this unfamiliar shape.


~As is this wasn't proof enough, have a look at the tail, very similar in many ways to the tail of a cow.

-...and since this is a cow, and therefore it's hide can be manufactured into leather, you propose that I butcher and skin this elephant and make shoes from it?

~Yes! AND, if you want to be very productive, you can make a very small grand piano from his tusks.

-That would hardly be very "grand", would it?

~It's not the size that matters, it's how you use it! I'm sure there's a world class pianist out there who would pay excellent money for a 5 inch piano.

-I'm sure. Well, as much as I've always wanted to slaughter and skin an animal it's against store policy. We only accept money.

~What sort of money?

-What do you mean what sort of money? The money which comes in the form of coins, or notes, or plastic cards, or bits of paper.

~Well what currencies do you accept?

-Euro, dollar, pound sterling, maybe roubles or yen, but that rarely comes up.

~So you accept many different kinds of currency?


~Well my good sir, this is your lucky day, for this elephant is in fact an official form of currency 'round these parts.

-Really? That's news to me.

~You should read up on your history. Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Brittany region of France, the Basque region of Spain and the area around Cornwall in England are all officially Celtic areas. In many of them a form of Celtic is the official language of the area, and Celtic customs are observed.


~Now, as these areas call themselves Celtic, and try to practise Celtic traditions, they would surely practice that most Celtic of traditions, buying things. Now, buy any chance, do you know what the Celts used as currency?

-I couldn't really say, no.

~No? Well, they used cows.


~Yes, a man's wealth in Celtic society was measured by the amount of cattle he owned.


~It's true. So, this elephant, being simply an old, large cow, should be worth quite a lot.

-Personally, I think you're insane.

~You'd be amazed how often I'm told that. So, do we have a deal?

-No. And not only do we not have a deal, but if you're not out of this shop in two minutes I'm going to have you arrested.

~All right then, I'll go and take my custom elsewhere.


~C'mon Jumbo.

-...Wait, before you go, I do have one question.


-You brought the elephant so you could buy shoes, yes?


-Well...sorry, but I've got to ask; what's the killer whale for?

~I have to pay for an over-due library book.