03.25.2012 

The governor of one of the state prisons informed the inmates that in the ancient bed of a river there were a number of burial sites, and he promised freedom to anyone who made an important find. During the months preceding the excavation, the convicts were shown photographs of what they were likely to discover. The first attempt proved that hope and greed can be a hindrance; the only hrön* unearthed by a week’s work with pick and shovel was a rusty wheel of later date than the start of the excavation. This was kept secret, and shortly afterwards the experiment was repeated in four schools. Three managed to find next to nothing; in the fourth, whose head died in an accident at the outset, the pupils dug up - or produced - a gold mask, an archaic sword, two or three clay amphorae, and the greenish, legless trunk of a king whose breast bore an inscription that has never been deciphered. The unreliability of witnesses who know the experimental nature of a search was thus proven.

*A replica of a replica.

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