-Author's Note- Baron Munchausen and all of his servants belong to Terry Gilliam. Love him, worship him, for he is superior to us all.
People make bets all the time. I'm sure you, the reader, have made one before. Perhaps, more than one, but that's not the point. Some people take these wagers with a grain of salt. No prize is ever given or received and after the initial betting...it's kind of forgotten. But there are those that take these wagers very seriously. No matter the feat or the prize, these people will risk life and limb to prove themselves.
Baron Munchausen was one of those sorts of people.
Once upon a time, Baron Munchausen and his servants happened to be in a tavern in Transylvania. The Baron sat conversing with a few local farmers when a topic came up that caught his ear.
"Of course, I won't get a bit of grain this year. The vampire will see to that," one farmer sighed, setting his glass down hard on the table.
Another farmer shook his head. "My cows will be gone in the next month, I'm sure of it."
"What's this you speak of, gentlemen? Vampires?" The Baron questioned, very interested.
"Yes," said the first farmer, eyes wide as saucers, "in the castle out near the woods...out that way?" He pointed West and looked to the other farmer for reassurace. "Yes. Out there lives a vampire."
"A horrible witch of a vampire. She ruins our crops, poisons our animals, and of course, there's the blood sucking..."
Baron Munchausen arched an eyebrow. "Haven't you ever sent anyone out to get rid of her?"
"Oh, sir, most people are too scared!" said the second farmer.
"And the people that do go...never come back." sighed the first.
Baron Munchausen look very thoughtful for a moment. After nearly a minute of silence he said, "It can't be that hard."
"Can't be that hard!?!?" cried the first farmer in disbelief. "Have you ever taken on a vampire!?"
"They have fangs," said the second.
The Baron threw his head back and laughed heartily. "Well, I'm aware of that!"
The first farmer shook his head and took a sip of his ale. "You wouldn't be laughing if you went back there."
"I bet you'd be dead within an hour," the first farmer continued. "You wouldn't last."
"Oh, I'll do more than go to this castle! I'll wager that I could very well rid this town of the vampire!" said the Baron, smiling ear to ear.
"Are you mad!?" the second farmer shouted. "Sir, you nev-"
"Hold on..." the first farmer said. "You'd really go? I'll bet you my pay for this week that you wouldn't make it out alive!"
"Well, if you're going to bet, man, BET!" exclaimed the Baron.
"Right! I'll bet you seventy-five percent of all the money I own," the first farmer said.
"Yeah, me too!" added the second farmer.
"Then, it is settled! I shall return only after I have gotten rid of the vampire. Good day to you, sirs!" And the Baron turned and left the farmers.
"Won't last," sighed the second farmer.
"Nope," added the first.
"I'll bet..." Gustavus looked about the room.
"You've got nothing left to bet! I win!" exclaimed Bertholdt.
Gustavus took a long, hard look at the cards he had in his hand, thinking about what to do. Scratching behind one of his large ears, Gustavus looked to Albrecht sitting beside him.
"I bet Albrecht!"
Bertholdt's blue eyes opened wide. "You can't bet a human being!"
"Yeah, you can't bet me!" Albrecht said, a little alarmed.
"Who says I can't?" asked Gustavus.
"You just can't!" Bertholdt argued.
"Well, why not?"
"It's not done! You can't bet a person!"
Adolphus sighed and tended to his musket as the four men were approached by the Baron.
"Come! We've no time to lose!" Munchausen didn't stop and continued to the door of the tavern. The men sighed and began to pack up their cards.
"Looks like the Baron's got something else for us to do." stated Albrecht. The large, black man tried to push his chair in gently but only succeeded in knocking the whole table over. The crowd in the bar all turned to face them.
"Oh..." Albrecht blushed. "Um...I'm sorry...everyone..."
"Oh, let's go," Adolphus sighed, annoyed. The servants left the tavern and met the Baron who was already seated atop Buccephalus, his silvery horse.
"So, what is it this time?" Bertholdt asked, dragging his chains behind him.
The Baron gave a throaty laugh. "Vampires."
"Vampires?" Gustavus said in disbelief.
"Vampires!?!" Bertholdt shouted in alarm.
"Well, one actually." The Baron corrected himself.
"And what exactly are we doing concerning this vampire?" Adolphus questioned.
"Why, we're disposing of it, of course!" And with that, Buccephalus took off in a quick trot.
The servants followed, Bertholdt still complaining. "But vampires!? We'll be killed! Can't we just leave town without battling any other worldly demons?"
"Nonsense! We could never do something so cowardly! Now quiet, Bertholdt!" The Baron commanded.
Bertholdt sighed in defeat and followed the others to the forest as fast as he could wearing his leg irons.