Outback camel race
This race took place in the Outback and arose from the pathological desire of
Australians to bet on anything but particularly horse races. However, in this
remote region there were no horses, but there were lots of camels, more than
Arabia, or anywhere else, and so a camel race was arranged. Because all camels
look alike, the bookmakers offered the same betting odds on each entrant.
Suddenly, a flood of money was wagered on one particular camel which was the
spitting image of every other nondescript camel. Almost nothing was bet on the
other runners, The bookies protested to the stewards that the race might be
rigged for the heavily-backed camel to win. To prevent that possibility, the
stewards warned the jockeys, who were actually Afghan camel-drivers, that if
they didn't ride their mounts vigorously, and try to win, all bets would be
The race got underway and the heavily-backed camel went to the front with its
jockey riding effortlessly as if he were sitting in an armchair. The other
jockeys rode with great vigour, whipping and spurring their camels and trying
desperately to win. But it was no use, the favourite led all the way and won
easily. The race was declared fair and honestly run and the bookies lost a
That night, one bookie, to satisfy his curiosity, approached one of the Afghan
camel-drivers with a question, "I'll never again bet on a camel race, so please
tell me, why did that particular camel win so easily?"
"Ah, why did the sun rise today?" said the Afghan, "It was inevitable. And why
did that camel win? It, too, was inevitable. That camel was the bell-camel, and
every other camel learns from birth that it must never, ever, regardless of
anything, get in front of the bell-camel."