A Tale Of InspirationCommentary • ISSUE 34•14 • Nov 4, 1998 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) My stock-broker Hargreaves recently told me upon the voice-telegraphical device that there is great anxiety around the Republic because of financial woes in the Orient. As a 132-year-old man, I have seen how the Republic's economic fortunes ebb and flow like the tide. Certainly, many of you will experience troubles, and some of you will take your lives as a result, which is probably for the better. Never-the-less, I wish to assure you young squabs that every-thing will eventually work out. If you remain skeptical of my optimism, let me tell you a true and inspiring story of how tenacity and pluck led a penniless people to greater glory. Back in the decade of the 1930s, the Republic was under-going a period of great economic turmoil known as The Great Compression. Wall Street speculators leaped to their deaths! Banks failed! The Plains soil turned to dust! A loaf of bread was worth 11 million Deutschmarks! It was madness, I tell you, sheer madness! The American people had suddenly been cast into poverty and want, and there was seemingly no-thing they could do to remedy the situation. Stricken with despair, they fled into the Big Woods. They were about to cast them-selves off a high precipice, when, all of a sudden, the ground began to shake, and a deafening rustling of leaves and branches sounded from the Big Woods. Out emerged Paul Bunyan and his trusty Blue Ox, Babe! When Paul Bunyan saw that the American people were about to hurl them-selves off the precipice, he dropped his ax and ran to pick them up and put them down on a grassy thicket. "Why do you wish to end your lives?' he demanded. "We are destitute and miserable because of the Great Compression," they wailed. Paul Bunyan was disgusted by the apparent weakness of the American people, but he resolved that he must use his great girth and strength to rescue them. So he chopped down the trees and made little cabins for them, and for their blankets, he cooked big pan-cakes. Then he yoked up Babe and plowed the land, and planted crops. He showed the American people how to turn raw materials into finished goods, and he picked up the mighty Missouri River and used it to power an enormous steel factory he had also built. By 1940, Americans were employed and holding their heads high once more! But storm-clouds of war appeared on the horizon, and soon the American people would have a new task. So Paul Bunyan picked up his axe and with Babe disappeared into the Far North, never to be seen again.