Three Wishes

Once upon a time, somewhere in East Yorkshire a farmer was cleaning out the workshop at the end of harvest.  Deep at the back of the workshop the farmer found what looked like an old oil can.  He gave it a rub to see if there was any hint as to its contents.  Much to his surprise out popped a Genie.  The Genie thanked the farmer for setting him free and offered him three wishes, which he could use over the course of the year.

Having just had what appeared to be a better than average harvest the farmer thought about a wish.  Could my wheat be worth £200 per tonne he asked?  Certainly, said the Genie and then promptly disappeared.

Next day the farmers favourite local merchant rang and bid him £200 per tonne for his wheat.  Marvellous, said the farmer, but I think it’s going up in price and you will be able to offer me more in a day or two, so I will wait.  Days and weeks went by, and the price of wheat drifted.  The latest USDA report had found more world stocks, better than expected yields and a slightly reduced demand.  Frustrated the farmer returned to the workshop and once more rubbed the old oil can.  Again, the Genie appeared.  What wish can I grant you today he asked?  Could my wheat be worth £200 per tonne the farmer asked.  Confused the Genie looked at him, but that was your first wish, he said.  Yes, but this time I want to sell some said the farmer.  OK, replied the Genie and promptly disappeared.

Next day the farmers favourite local merchant rang again.  Good news he said, the wheat market has rallied on rumour of Russian tax, and an improving domestic demand following and an announcement by Boris that covid was beaten.  Your wheat is again worth £200 per tonne.  Conscious of his mistake last time the farmer sold the merchant two loads as this would then create enough space in the shed for him to get his combine inside for winter.  The merchants ever reliable haulier with the shiny red and yellow lorries collected the wheat and a month later the money appeared in the farmer’s bank.

Unfortunately, the market had yet again drifted down.  With wheat at £200 per tonne the poultry men could not afford to feed the chickens, the pigmen could not afford to feed the pigs, the shipper could not compete on the world market and the big white elephant east of Hull could not afford to turn the wheat into ethanol.

Now depressed and unable to bring himself to sell wheat at a lower price the farmer returned once more to the lamp.  Again, the Genie appeared, yes, he asked?  Could I have my third wish asked the farmer?  What would that be asked the Genie?  Could my wheat be worth £200 per tonne?  The Genie looked at the farmer unable to believe what he was hearing.  Why? He bellowed! You have wasted two wishes.  Yes, but this time said the farmer, I want to sell it all!  Enraged the Genie could not contain himself.  I will grant that your wheat will be worth £200 per tonne he roared! But not until harvest 2031, ten years from now!

Totally dejected the farmer returned to his office, picked up the phone and rang his friendly local merchant to find out the price of May wheat.

The moral of the story?  If you get £200 per tonne for wheat offered for whatever grade you have in the barn, it may not be the biggest price of the year, but it is a price you will certainly regret more if you don’t take it, than you will regret if you do!

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