The story of the four little boys
"I'm not sleepy!" Declared the Wuotan to the ceiling rather than to Frosti, who he had summoned, "tell me a story!"
"Throne, you're not even in bed!" He wasn't. In fact he was on it. "I'll tell you a story then - ONLY if you PROMISE to go to sleep the INSTANT I finish."
"Very well." So in he hopped and the apothecary tucked him in.
"Once upon a time, there were four little boys called Six, Seven, Eight and Nine, and they lived in the bin--"
"How big was the bin?" Demanded the Wuotan, rather rudely.
"Not very big," Frosti replied after a minute's calculation, "they were very little boys."
"Must be a bother having numbers for names," went on the Wuotan mostly to himself, "they couldn't have been loved by their parents much."
"They weren't, they hadn't got any parents. So--" the apothecary went on in a running sentence in an effort to avoid interruption, "so there were four little boys and they lived in the bin, and they argued all the time - once upon a time they found a--"
"You already said once upon a time!"
"One day then - one day they - it was a Wednesday, if you MUST know - one day they found a cake, and they wanted to eat it."
"How big was the cake?"
"Not quite big enough to be eaten in one go." This put the Wuotan into a proxysm of confusion, who instantly masked it by asking where they found it. "In the bin, I suppose. Anyway, the four little boys wanted to eat the cake, but they couldn't decide who should have it. Six and Seven were terribly greedy and wanted the cake all for themselves; Eight got cross at his other brothers, and Nine was clever - but he lied all the time. "I know," said Six, "I'll cut up the cake into four pieces and we can share it." The other brothers said that Six was going to cut himself the biggest piece and leave them with tiny bits, so that wouldn't work. "Let's leave the cake for three days," Seven proposed, "and then when it's stale we'll see who still wants to eat it." But the brothers said that Seven was so greedy he would eat anything even if there were worms living in it. "Then I'll throw the cake away!" Eight declared, "and nobody can have any!" Well, naturally that didn't make sense because they were already in the bin."
"It makes sense to me," the Wuotan hadn't interrupted for a while and seemed about to explode if he didn't again in another minute.
"That's because you're a lettuce," Frosti snapped, "do you want to hear the story? No? I'm going to tell you anyway. I said that Nine was the cleverest, which he was. He said, "let's all take turns and cut the cake once each. That way we'll all make equal slices." It seemed the only reasonable thing to do, so they all sat around the cake and passed the knife around."
"But that's not fair!"
"No it wasn't. Six made the first cut into the cake, and Seven made a cut that was halfway around from it. Eight cut a thin piece from the half nearest but put his thumb in the bigger bit so nobody wanted it, and Nine undercut so deeply that Six found the piece he ended up with was only a tiny triangle. But it had sounded fair at the start, and it was too late to go back, and after the few seconds it took to eat their slices the four little boys fell to arguing all over again."