A Fairy Tale for Mathematicians
 
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Once upon a time, the Square Root of Negative One and the Golden Ratio were walking down the street, their root symbols congenially entwined, when they noticed a piece of Pi lying in the gutter. Pi looked a bit the worse for being partially eaten; only .14159 of it was left, and the poor bedraggled fraction was covered with dirt and grime. The Square Root of Negative One immediately turned up its nose at the sight, but the Golden Ratio, who had a soft heart, sat down next to the weeping Pi and patted it on the back.

"There, there, pumpkin, don't cry," said the Golden Ratio. "It happens to us all."

"My Zero, you're a disgrace to numbers everywhere. Goldy, get it off the street," remarked the Square Root of Negative One.

The Golden Ratio stared hard at its companion and said, "On second thought, I take it back. Your taste is too bitter for anyone to choke down."

"Look at you, coddling the decimal; I'm embarrassed to be seen with anyone so irrational!"

"Well, I told you I was an irrational number when we first met. You can hardly start complaining about it now. And anyway, you're not even in the set of real numbers."

The Square Root of Negative One clenched its teeth. "Your notation is cluttered."

The Golden Ratio jumped up. "Your feelings are imaginary!" it cried, bopping its friend on the negative sign.

As the shouting match escalated, the little Pi crawled away to another ditch where it could feel sorry for itself without being interrupted again.



And They All Lived Happily Ever After


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© 2002, 2005 Holly Chandler
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