Now, at this point the ZomMaster, understandably, found himself in considerable disgrace among the Zom, what with having wasted two thousand of their hard-earned dollars with nothing to show for it but a dry (albeit very deep) well. But deep and dry doesn't make much brandy, as any careful distiller will confide. And wasting other folks' money doesn't make many friends.

And so as the Zom tried to puzzle out what to do now, the ZomMaster kept a low profile. He looked almost like a humble man.

Finally, after a day of consternation, contention, and considerable discussion from various parts, a day in which voices (but not fists) were raised, they all repaired to the Zogby Swamp for an all-night meeting, where the few remaining jugs got passed around--which certainly improved their tempers but did little for their predicament.

Truth be told, all that arose from that meeting in Zogby Swamp was the fog.

The next morning, the least hung-over of the Zom had an epiphany. "Why," he ventured, "don't we ask Spanakopitus if we can run a line and pipe water from his property? After all, his twelve-hundred-gallon tank has more than enough water."

And so, after much sage nodding of heads and a little back-thumping for the originator of this brilliant plan, a delegation made its way up to the castle of Spanakopitus, where by turn each Zom tried to sidle to the back of the group. (The ZomMaster had shrewdly remained at home.)

"You ask him, you're the eldest."

"I might be the eldest, but you're the tallest."

"No, no, tall is not as important as wise. You must be the one."

"Well, it wasn't my idea. It was his!"

And so they finally decided to stand shoulder to shoulder and present their petition as one. Ten fists pounded on the door of the mansion; ten breaths were drawn to blurt their request.

"What's this?" said Spanakopitus. "A chorus line or a firing squad?"

"Please, sir, can we tap into your water tank?" they sputtered in concert.

"Come in, come in," said Spanakopitus, rubbing his chin and sizing up their desperation. "Come in and let us negotiate."

And so everyone was seated, and Spanakopitae brought tea and cookies, and they hobnobbed for a while. And not to keep them dangling too long, by the third cookie Spanakopitus gave his response, for he was, after all, a reasonable man. Leaning forward, fingers pursed together in front of his belly, he proclaimed:

"You may access the baronial twelve-hundred-gallon water tank, But---and this is a Very Important But---only if you install your pipe at the top of the tank."

And with satisfaction, Spanakopitus sat back, rubbed his belly, and thought, Give from your excess and you can give forever.

24: Proposal and Refusal