Once upon a time there was a woman called Linda who had lived all her life in the land of t’Internet. She lived in a tiny little cottage at the edge of the biggest town nearest to Lord Google’s castle; sometimes at night she could hear the whirr and click of the great data base machines that were secreted in the dungeons beneath the castle grounds.
One day, she decided that she would like to see these huge machines for herself, after all they were responsible for the information that Lord Google gave to visitors to t’Internet when they were looking for directions to the local tradespeople. Linda had no idea what the machines looked like, but those who had seen them came back with stories of flashing eyes and a heat that took your breath away.
She visited the castle Chancellor to ask for an audience and, after checking in his diary, he agreed that she would be able to visit the castle in three weeks.
The time sped by and soon the great day arrived; Linda closed her shop for the afternoon and changed into her best frock and pinafore, she didn’t want to look dowdy amongst the great Lords and Ladies. The door to the castle was closed, but there was a chain nearby which gave a cheerful peel when tugged.
A face appeared from behind a grill
‘Yes, what can I do for you?’ the face asked
‘I’m here to see Lord Google, I have a audience booked with him’ she replied
‘What’s your name and I will check my book of visitors?’
‘Linda’, she replied and waited while the face went to check his book.
The door swung open and she was invited across the threshold of the castle, it wasn’t as big as she had thought it might be, in fact it seemed rather small.
The face had become a man, dressed all in red from head to toe; he invited her to follow him down a long corridor and they set off to the great hall.
After walking for far longer than the castle had appeared to be they arrived at their destination, at one end of which was a small chair and table; there was nothing else that marked it as anything special at all except its extraordinary size. The chair was occupied by a small man with a neatly trimmed beard and a dove grey uniform.
‘I understand that you wish to have an audience with Lord Google’ he said
‘That’s right, I made an appointment with the castle Chancellor and today is the day’.
Linda was nervous, were they going to refuse her request after all.
‘Do come this way’.
The man got up from his chair and indicated that they were to go through a small doorway that she hadn’t noticed before. It led into a tiny room that was filled with mirrors and glass.
‘I’m afraid that Lord Google does not take visitors personally as he doesn’t like people to look upon his face, but you can ask your question here and it will be answered’.
At that, the man turned on his heel and went back through the door. It clicked closed firmly behind him, and Linda was left alone wondering what would happen next.
‘Please state your question’; the voice was firm, but friendly
‘Um … well … I’m not quite sure how to put it’, she hesitated
‘Please state your question’, the voice repeated
Linda thought for a moment before speaking aloud; ‘I would like to know why you tell visitors to t’Internet to go to my cousins bookstore instead of mine‘ she said.
At first there was no sound and she wondered if the voice had heard her question. Then she began to hear some clicking sounds and slowly the mirrors parted and before her lay a sight that dazzled her. A vast array of red-hot eyes were staring at her, they blinked endlessly and the heat that came from the great machines caused her to feel faint.
‘I have never been asked such a question before’ the voice said ‘I shall have to think about this for a few moments before I answer’.
Linda waited patiently, she knew that if she received the answer to her question then she would be able to do well in her bookstore.
The clicking continued, and suddenly it began to increase in volume, until there was a great sigh and all the lights stopped blinking and the heat dissipated. A small sheet of paper fell to her feet and Linda bent to pick it up.
The answer to your question is that I do not know you have a bookstore. If you have a bookstore please make sure that you fill in all of these details and submit this form to the castle Chancellor, he will then make sure that I do know you have a bookstore. Thank you.
Linda was disappointed, was this all that the great Lord Google did for visitors to their beautiful land.
‘Can I ask another question?’ The words were out of her mouth before she had a chance to stop them
‘It is not normally permitted to ask more than one question, but as you are here I shall make an exception in this case’ the voice informed her.
‘Thank you, I do appreciate that’ Linda replied ‘my question is this, if I give you all of this information about my bookstore, will you then tell visitors to t’Internet about it?’
Once more the clicking began and the lights blinked; the heat rose up to greet her and she was once again overcome with the fear of fainting.
Shortly though, another sheet of paper dropped to floor before her and Linda bent to pick it up.
If I know about your bookstore and I know how many visitors you have and that they regularly praise you and the books that you sell to them, then yes, I will tell visitors to t’Internet about your store.
That was the answer that Linda needed. Thanking the voice profusely, she turned her back on the mirrors expecting the door to open for her.
‘Thank you for your question’ the voice said ‘you have given me much to think about’.
Linda was puzzled, how on earth had she given the great Lord Google something to think about.
‘You have made me question the reason I give out the information I do, and that means the service I provide will be better for future visitors’
Linda smiled, ‘you are most welcome, I’m glad I could help you to be better. I’m also glad that you have helped me to understand why I had no visitors at my bookstore door’.
The door behind her opened and her guide reappeared holding a pen in his hand.
‘You are welcome to sit at the table to complete the form and I will personally give it to the castle Chancellor’ he said.
As Linda sat and completed the form, she pondered on her encounter with Lord Google and the great data base machines; would the information he gave to visitors change, she wondered, and if it did how might it affect her tiny bookstore?
However, that’s another story altogether.