A Tale of Two Markdowns


Non-Markdown nerds, this post is possibly not for you. (Context.)

Part One:

THE STORY OF SIR ATWOOD AND HIS VALOROUS BAND

In those days many Kings reigned in the land of the Internet, and they constantly waged war upon each other, and on their liege lord. The countryside was loud with their striving, and to-and-fro roved many bad knights, ravaging and slaying the people.

Now at that time there was a poor knight at court who had been on many quests, some with great success, but was now at a loss for a cause in which to heft his sword. He sat in the town drinking at midday, and around him were his brave companions, likewise idle. Amongst these knights were some reknowned for their deeds.

Now came riding in a damsel, fair of face, who said that she had come with a message from the Lady Markdown, and stood in the square crying with a loud voice for any true knight that might be nearby. The poor knight heard this and was silent with wonder, but at last he spoke. “Damsel,” he said, “what ails thee? For I am the true knight Sir Atwood.”

“Oh, Sir Knight,” said she, “I am come bearing sad tidings from the fair Lady Markdown. Her Lord, the evil giant Gruber, has kept her imprisoned for ten years, to great lament. She wishes her freedom, and calls for a brave knight to rescue her.”

Then did Sir Atwood take heart, for he saw that here was a quest deserving of his mettle. Turning to his companions he bade them prepare themselves for the journey. With them as they travelled they took a cart filled with Standards, pulled by two white palfreys. They would need these if they were to defeat the giant.

The troubles that Sir Atwood and his noble band suffered as they journeyed are too many to set down here, but suffice to say that at length they arrived at the castle wherein the evil Gruber made his abode.

Then one of Sir Atwood’s companions, the brave and noble knight MacFarlane, did ride forward into the castle, and went inside. For a long while they waited, and some were for storming the castle, and others were for going back. Then Sir MacFarlane returned and bade them come inside. “There is a great feast all laid out,” he said, “and no person living or dead within the walls.”

They all entered, and found it was as he had said. There was a wondrous repast laid in the great hall.

Then sat they down to the feast and ate their fill. Sir Atwood alone did not partake in the repast, for he had sworn to eat no meat until he had rescued the fair lady Markdown. At length he looked around and saw that his companions were all asleep. Then suddenly he saw a great shadow creeping across the wall. It was the giant, come to devour them as they slept!

“To arms!” cried Sir Atwood, leaping upon the table and drawing his sword. But his band slept on soundly.

Then did he fall upon the giant, and smote his shield, and the giant did likewise. Greatly they did battle, and fought until the place was red with their blood, and they each had seven great wounds, but neither could defeat the other.

Then pausing for breath, Sir Atwood spied the cart with the Standards drawn up nearby. Seizing one in his gauntleted fist, he hurled it at the giant’s head. It pierced his one glaring eye, and with an awful cry he fell to the floor, dead as a stone.

At this point the noble companions bestirred themselves, with much groaning. “What happened here?” they asked. Sir Atwood told them the tale of how he had slain the giant. Then did he bespy a small door that had appeared behind the tapestry, and opening it he happened upon the Lady Markdown, and her retinue.

“Ah! Fair Sir,” she cried, “you have rescued me! Now shall I love you above all others, and shall you suffer it, so I will be your prize.”

Upon Michaelmas day the Bishop of Canterbury did wed them together, and it was declared a day for all to rejoice. Also did the brave companions wed those members of the Lady Markdown’s retinue that they found most comely.

Then was there peace upon the land, and Sir Atwood and his band went on to many great adventures, but of these, none are written here.

Part Two:

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY

“Honey, have you seen my Markdown anywhere?”

“Ah… I think I said the kids could play with it? Is that ok?”

“Oh, fine. That was what we got it for, I guess!”

Outside, the children have erected a small stand from cardboard boxes. On the front hangs a sign. It reads “STANDDARD MARKDOWN — 25¢”. A few drivers glance at them from passing cars, but no one stops.