On their first visit to Spain, my two maiden aunts stayed at the only hotel in a small town where bull-fighting was the main public entertainment. With little else to do, they decided to attend the Saturday bull-fight. While they admired the daring and skill of the Toreador, they were both appalled by the slow and agonising death of the bull and returned to their hotel feeling quite distressed.

When they took their seats in the dining-room later that evening, they noticed that a garnished silver platter containing two large piles of sliced meat was ceremoniously born in from the kitchen by the Maitre D’ and several waiters who then served the dish to guests at the next table. When they had finished serving, my aunts enquired of the Maitre D’ what this special dish was.

“Those, Senoritas”, he proudly announced, “are the testicles of the bull which was killed by the Toreador this afternoon. They are considered a great delicacy in these parts and people believe that when eating them, one receives something of the bulls great strength and courage.” If you would like to try this dish, it has to be specially ordered in advance and I must warn you, it is rather expensive.”

Despite the high price, my aunts thought it would be a novelty to try this local dish and asked the Maitre D’ to order it for them as soon as possible. “That will be next Saturday evening after the bull-fight.” he said.

The following Saturday, my aunts went to the bull-fight, but left before the end so they wouldn’t have to watch any killing. That evening, in the hotel dining-room, the same garnished silver platter was ceremoniously brought to their table, but this time it contained only two quite small mounds of sliced meat and thinking how much they would be paying for it, my aunts expressed their disappointment. “Ah, Senoritas”, The Maitre D’ explained, “that is because it is not always the bull who loses.”

Victors & Losers

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