High Rollers


High Rollers

Sir R-----, my fine fellow, it does my heart good to see you upon this summer's eve! Will you take a glass of muscatel and, perchance, a wager?

As I should have expected, you have not disappointed me sir!

Might I propose a game native to the Isle of Cockaigne, that land of plenty where the fountains run with this elixir, where the vintners string up their vines with sausages and where, whensoever it rains, it rains gravy?

I first visited Cockaigne upon the direction of the Pope, who had instructed me to do penitence by travelling there. What cause there should have been I cannot fathom, but I shall never allow it to be said that I have been derelict in my duties, neither earthly nor heavenly. The journey was an arduous affair, some twenty-eight month's sailing, during which we exhausted our provisions and were forced to make stew of the fo'c'sle. Needless to say, we were most relieved to find that at our destination no fellow wanted for aught and we had ourselves a feast that would have put the Pope's court to shame!
Having no need to strive for their daily bread, the denizens of that fair island took to chance to decide who should be the master and who the servant. Each day they diced for their roles and it is by the rules that they did so that I suggest we gamble.

Here, I have chalked out upon the table two spaces for each of us, one marked for tens and the other for ones. I shall cast a twenty sided die upon which are struck the digits zero to nine twice over and, once it has settled upon a number, I shall choose which of my spaces to place it upon. You shall then do the same with one of these two dice. We shall then each cast another and place it upon the space that we have yet not chosen and if the number that you have built exceeds mine then you shall have a prize of twenty nine coins from me, otherwise I shall have one of thirty coins from you.

That godforsaken student, whose unrelenting nonsense it seems that I must unceasingly bear witness to, upon having the rules of this game painstakingly explained to him, commenced to blathering on and on about the tragedies that he had suffered at the hands of his opticians. As a marksman of the first water, I must confess that I have little sympathy for the trouble that those who bury their noses in books bring upon their eyes, damn them!

Now that's more than enough of that wretch! Come, take another glass and think upon your chances!

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