Forecasting The Weather


Back in the days when I was in the Army (several years ago) our company was out in the bivouac area at the rifle range and it was pouring like hell and it was near about impossible to shoot. My tent partner and I were lying in our tent smoking cigarettes and telling stories (probably not the whole truth). Back then you had to have a partner to have a tent because each one of you had half a tent called a shelter half. If you didn't have a partner you didn't have a tent. I suppose nowadays with this new technology each G.I. has a shelter 'whole.'

Anyway, we got to talking about how nice the weather was supposed to be and about how the weather observer had really fouled up on his forecast.

My partner came from the Appalachian section of, as he said, West (by God) Virginia and he recited a tale that had been handed down for generations in the area where he was from. In his words, it went something like this:

It seems, way back, many years ago in the area that they call Europe, there was this here country where there was a king. Now, this here king was boss over everybody and everything. Well, one day this here king got out of bed in the morning and opted that he was a-going to run over to see his best girl. He had also hired hisself a high-waged weather prophet to prophesy him the weather. Anyways on this day, the king, he went to the prophet and told him, the prophet, that he wanted to go see the king's best girl and that he would be wearing his newest and finest clothes and that he didn't want to ruin all that finery by getting it all wet. Well, the prophet, he said, "King don't you worry about it a-raining, not even a sizzle sazzle." So the king, he got dressed up in all those high grade clothes and headed off down the road with his best horses and wagon.

After he had gone down the road a piece toward his best girl's place, he met a farmer with a jackass that was a-pulling a wagon and they was in the middle of the road. Well, the king, he roared to a stop and hollered to that farmer, "Farmer you d best get yourself and that jackass and wagon off this here road because I'm in a hurry to get over to my best girl's house." So the farmer, he says, "King, I don't want to seem disrespectful towards you but it's a-fixin to rain up a gully washer and a trash mover or worse and you re a-goin' to get that finery that you re a-wearin' all wetted and ruined."

And the king, he says, "How do you know that?"

So, the farmer, he says, "See that there jackass with his ears a-flippin' back and forth like they are now, well, that's a sure sign of bad weather, and the way they re a-flippin' now, it's a bad sign." And, the king, he says, "I already asked my high-waged weather prophet and he allowed it ain't a-goin' to rain not even a sizzle sazzle." By this time, the farmer had got hisself and jackass and wagon off the road, and the king, he got by and went like the hammers of hell off towards his best girl's house. Well, before he got there, guess what happened, it sure enuff came up a gully washer and a trash mover and, worse, a frog choker. Well, guess what happened then? The king, he got all them fine clothes all wetted and ruined and when he got to his best girl's place, she laughed at the way he looked and wouldn't let him come in.

So, the king, he got mad and headed back to his castle as fast as those horses could pull that there wagon. And when he got back, he fired that there weather prophet and being that he was a good king, he didn't have the prophet's head cut off, and then hired hisself a jackass to prophet him the weather.

This is how the story went, and the bottom line was: if'n you want a good weather prophet get yourself a jackass and keep your eye on him and not on the high-waged weather person prophesying the weather on T.V. or anywhere else.