There was once a country called Happyland. It had just celebrated the coming of a new millennium with much optimism. Its magicians had made the people very happy through their big magic, and there was every reason to think that in the new millennium the people of Happyland would be even richer, because the spells the magicians were going to cast would be even more potent. There was only one shadow. There were rumours that an evil wizard called Pogo the Black was hiding somewhere in Happyland threatening to cast bad spells that would cause floods, droughts, tempests, hurricanes, food and water shortages and perhaps in the end even lead to the demise of Happyland itself. However, no-one paid much attention to Pogo for they were too busy celebrating. But as the new millennium got under way odd things began to happen.
First the Queen’s favourite lapdog died of a rare and mysterious disease. The King summoned Amdram, the wise man of the court who had once been the keeper of the King’s treasure, and asked him “Do you think this could be the work of Pogo the Black?”. No, said Amdram, just one of those things. Then the King’s throne suddenly collapsed while the King was sitting on it. Surely this must be the work of Pogo, said the King. No, said Amdram, these things happen in royal courts. But it’s never happened before, said the King. Well it has now, said Amdram. There is a much more believable alternative explanation. Some idiot workman forgot to do up a screw. Fair enough, said the King. But then, would you believe, the moon turned purple with pink spots on it. Again the King summoned Amdram. I’m getting really worried, he said. This must be the work of Pogo. Can you prove absolutely beyond doubt that there’s a link? replied Amdram. We magicians are highly professional and we only accept proven linked facts under the strictest criteria.
Look, said the King, I can accept that one event was a co-incidence. Maybe even two but not three, and what’s more I find that almost all the other magicians think that these disasters are indeed the work of Pogo. You want your treasury to be full of gold don’t you? said Amdram. What’s the point of having lots of gold in my treasure chest if my country is uninhabitable and the people very unhappy, wailed the King. If you think like that, said Amdram, your treasure chest will soon be completely empty because you will be using up all your gold trying to stop Pogo. You want to go on enjoying all the good things your gold is buying you don’t you? said Amdram to the King sternly. Yes, said the King doubtfully, yes I do. Oh dear I’m in such a muddle as to which set of magicians to believe, he said. I think I’ll just shut my eyes and hope for the best. You fool, said all the other magicians. Can’t you see that the tempests we always said Pogo was going to cause have already started to happen? Yes, said Amdram, these things happen. But they haven’t happened in Happyland. You can understand that where they have happened people are blaming Pogo. But we only accept proven linked facts under the strictest criteria. Well, said the court jester, when the tempests start happening here, at least we’ll know they are killing and ruining everybody in accordance with the strictest criteria.