Thursday, December 21, 2017

Biel And The Beanstalk

"Biel And The Beanstalk - A Balearic Government And Council Of Mallorca Pantomime For All The Tourist Family."

The story so far ... Biel is a moderately well-heeled eco-nationalist boy living on the family finca with a small herd of Friesians, which, because of a fall in the price of milk, have not been shown at the annual fair in Campos and, more importantly, have not been yielding the income required to keep an eco-nationalist family in sound financial order and their subscriptions to Catalan satellite channels up to date.

Nevertheless, under a Council of Mallorca scheme to boost the agrarian economy (thus ensuring economic diversification and a lengthening of the tourism season), Biel learns that there's a man who'll take the Friesians off the family's hands and allow the family to invest the money in a whole new line of artisan craft (pots, to you and me) to be sold at markets under another Council of Mallorca scheme to boost local trade.

As things turn out, the man in question, a certain Miquel, whose schemes for the Council of Mallorca have not all amounted to more than a hill of beans, is also an eco-nationalist. Miquel informs Biel that he has a whole load of magic carob beans, which have been grown under yet another Council of Mallorca scheme, this one to promote carob gastronomy (thus ensuring there is another niche tourism product and a lengthening of the tourism season).

Biel exchanges the Friesians for the beans, but when he arrives home, minus the equivalent of several months tourist tax revenue at a five-star hotel, the family are livid. They will be unable to tune in to their Catalan satellite channels and watch the special Catalan Christmas pantomime - "Carles In Wonderland".

The beans are therefore thrown onto the ground, and Biel heads off to the bar and gets quietly drunk. Back home, and having slept off the effects of the Estrella Damm (brewed in Barcelona), Biel wakes to discover that there is a giant beanstalk on the finca. He decides to climb the beanstalk and, to his amazement, discovers a luxury hotel. Unbeknownst to Biel, the owners of this hotel have decided to introduce a touch of Mallorcan tradition. They have acquired their own giants, who are called Carmen and Gabriel in honour of two very important people in the Mallorcan hotel industry.

The audience, naturally enough, warn Biel of the giants' presence. "They're behind you. Behind you." Biel hides and waits for the giants to fall asleep, whereupon he raids the safe. Back at the finca, the family are delighted. Biel has had it away with the equivalent of several months tourist tax revenue after all. The subscription to the satellite channels is swiftly renewed, and the family positively shriek with laughter as Carles outwits the Wicked Mariano and plants a custard pie in his face before reaffirming Catalan independence.

Biel, emboldened by his achievement, climbs the beanstalk again. Goodness, he thinks, what a fine and benevolent fellow eco-nationalist Miquel has turned out to be. And things only get better. The giants are still asleep, and Biel spies a goose that lays golden eggs. "What's your name?" Biel asks the goose. "Tourism," replies the goose. "Are you going to steal me?" "Well, it had occurred to me that I might," explains Biel. "And then what?" the goose wants to know. "Erm, slap some more tourist tax on you, that sort of thing." "You really shouldn't do that," the goose insists.

Down the beanstalk Biel goes again, this time clutching the goose. When he gets to the bottom, he encounters another eco-nationalist, this one by the name of Vicenç. "I'm from environment," announces Vicenç. "I'm afraid that this beanstalk has been infected by the xylella bacterium. You're going to have to chop it down."

"I can't do that," Biel responds. "There's a luxury hotel at the top of it." Blinking into the clear Mallorcan sky, Vicenç considers for one moment. "Was there planning permission for it? Does the Council of Mallorca's urban discipline department know?" "Well, I've no idea," says Biel. "Look, if I were you," advises Vicenç, "I'd chop it down. I mean, the beanstalk is on your finca. You'll be liable for the fine. And another thing. Is that hotel paying the rubbish tax?" "I doubt it," responds Biel. "Ok, I'll chop it down."

And so the beanstalk fell to earth, as did the hotel and the giants. Carmen and Gabriel were no more. Vicenç, meanwhile (because he's also from agriculture), turns his attention to the goose. "Have you got a licence for that goose?" "Not as such," says Biel. The goose looks at both of them. "You're not going to kill me, are you?" Vicenç shrugs. "Not me, I'm not the tourism minister. Biel?" "Funnily enough, nor am I."

And so it ends. It was only a pantomime after all. Oh no it wasn't.

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