Somewhere in the west on a bright fall day in 2000 BC Herflshlug sat on a stump. He picked his nose and pondered the future. His ability to think long term was one of the qualities that earned him the respect of his lieutenants and allowed him to depose his father and assume leadership of the tribe. Right now that future lay on the other side of the valley, were industrious Russian farmers tended their crops and animals, virtually undefended. Disappointed with his nasal excursion he extracted his finger and considered other options. He ripped a chunk of meat from the spit and chewed while he thought. Herflshug made a point of always cooking his meat before eating it. Starting a fire and preparing food that way was inconvenient and time consuming but, like his father, he believed an air of sophistication was worth fostering. But such ideas could be taken too far, like when his father changed the tribes name from Savages to Barbarians. He didnt know the meaning of either word but felt certain that the extra syllable of the latter would make the tribe more respectable and improve their standing with outsiders. Herflshug was of a different opinion. He held one finger against his nose and blew forcefully through the open nostril finally expelling the offending blockage. He felt that the tribes prowess in battle and readiness to resort to violence gave it all the respectability it needed. The name change was foolish but Herflshug went along with it, it was after all easier to say. But when his father suggested the tribe give up its wanderings and settle in permanent villages Herflshug could not consent. The strength of his disagreement with this policy was certainly a surprise to his late father, but in the end a crushed skull was a persuasive argument in favor of strength over image. So Herflshug became chief and the Barbarians remained nomads. In those days wild food was still plentiful, but since then farmers have laid claim to more and more land and to the wild herds that used to roam them. More importantly they could back those claims with forces much too large for the Barbarians to risk challenging. The forage this summer had been worse than most and as another long winter rapidly approached Herflshugs lieutenants, holding their empty bellies, began to wonder if another change of leadership was not in order. Herflshug took another bite then began to lay out his plans without interrupting his meal. What did farmers do anyway? Herflshug asked his lieutenants rhetorically. They spend their days tending to their plants and animals he explained derisively. Then when their hard work is done they must beg their neighbors to trade them the many things they still lack. His lieutenants listened intently. People who would submit to such a life were fools or worse, they would be no match for real men. Herflshug proposed the Barbarians cross the valley and barter with the farmers. His lieutenants, taken aback, looked at each other in confusion. Herflshug waited for just the right moment before spiting the punch line, and some of his incompletely masticated dinner, at them. We will trade them their lives for their goods. It was a good joke. His lieutenants forgot their hunger and burst into laughter. Their spittle sizzled in the flames or made tiny clean spots on their dirty hides. They shared his mirth heartily not just because the joke was funny but because it was witty too. Proof of such cleverness in their leader renewed their confidence. Fully endorsing his plans now, Herflshug finally invited his lieutenants to eat. In the morning they would break camp and start off across the valley toward Coppak.