A blissfully happy Hugo Bliss clutched the 5,000-page opus to his heaving chest. At last he could embrace and contemplate his work in print safely ensconced between the covers
The huge tome, entitled “Albor, The Cheese-Making King”, represented 30 years of work, half a lifetime of devotion to a single tantalizing theme which had taken him three quarters of a way around the globe, from Tel Aviv to Timbuktoo, in a relentless search for material and every last vestige of fact to include in this unprecedentedly large study. How happy he must feel, Hugo reflected, Albor von Krimchiz, the famed 12th century Icelandic cheese-maker, to know that at long last his life and immortal cheese-making achievements were finally revealed in all their mouth-watering glory to mankind. It had not been easy to find a publisher for the mammoth work. “Cheese does not make the world go round, and who on earth would want to read about cheese-making?” he had been told time and time again by respectable publishers whose only desire was to make an honest buck and failed to see the commercial prospects of a 5000-page book centered on a cheese making hero, even if he was the royal cheese-maker at the court of King Beluvid the 9th. But finally, in the 28th year of his enterprise, Hugo’s patience, determination and belief in the justice of his cause had paid off and he had found the publisher willing and able to take on the 3 million-word, 300-chapter, 18,000 footnotes and 600-page index, challenging publishing project.
But Hugo’s uncommon persistence had paid off in the person of Sir Piers Bookolik, the legendary Welsh publisher, who saw the romance, the uniqueness, the historic significance and not least the commercial potential of Hugo’s Magnum Opus. And how right he had been with his vision and prescience. At this very moment people all over the civilized world, and even in central Africa, were queuing up at local book stores to acquire 1 or more, sometimes as many as 10 -20 copies of the 9.4 kilo volume. And after the successful purchase many were seen staggering home under the sheer weight or else were compelled to flag down cabs to get home with the precious purchase. There were even those who were forewarned and forearmed and arrived in lorries on which to load their precious, priceless cargo.
The publisher is very excited. He has never experienced sales like this or such an income (each copy costs $450 dollars!) A few days later, at the official world-media-covered book launch he hugs Hugo and gives him a huge royalty check. Hugo is showered with praise and learns that he has also been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature. However, a very disturbing piece of information surfaces suddenly and puts a severe dent in Hugo’s Nobel aspirations. Apparently, Albor never really existed, the real royal cheese maker was not Albor but Robla the Viking who settled in Iceland and took up cheese-making as a hobby. All this was discovered by a lady cookbook researcher named Svetlana Gorgonzola. Hugo’s world comes crashing down, his reputation in tatters, his Nobel aspirations destroyed, he is even compelled to return his huge paycheck and people start burning his 9.4 kilo 5000-page book in worldwide protest bonfires. But when all seems lost there comes the staggering news that Robla was in fact also called Albor and they were one and the same. So Hugo does get his Nobel prize after all and marries the delectable cookbook researcher heroine, Svetlana. The grateful Sir Piers who thought he was ruined now published a 6000-page deluxe edition with the addition of hundreds of Albor-Robla’s mouth- watering cheese-based recipes.