Once upon a fable
, a French army
and an English
army were marching
up opposite sides of a tall hill in Canada
in 1760 or so. Niether knew t'other was advancing
towards it's enemy. Reaching the top of the hill at the same time, they quite rapidly came into each others view and distance, and this being the 18th century
, they did not know how to react to such an instant situation, in such deadly encompassing proximity
With both armies being of remarkably equal size and proportion, the terrain offering niether tactical advantage, the hill making a safe retreat impossible, and their pride and honour making surrender unthinkable, the victor of the inevitable battlefield would be decided by one, and one factor only. Everything hinged upon which army could prepare and release the first volley of death by their lead, muskets and cannons. And each and every sweaty, nervous, soldier of every rank and command knew this. The first bullet would undoubtably guide the destination of the last.
Both the armies hunkered down and polished and pointed their guns, ready for the order to release their nervous trigger fingers and start the vicious bloodbath. Under the flag of truce, the French general and the English general slowly trotted towards each other.
The splendidly polished and cut generals met in the middle of the field, with only each other for company and earshot. The French general starts, firstly sweeping his hat in an extravagant manner and then
"After you dear sir"
The English general, twitches and doffs his hat.
"Not a bit of it, please after you sir"
"Ah, non, non, I would not dare sir, after you"
So they continue to argue for the others favour for several long minutes, when suddenly the French general, losing his patience and almost his manners, announces "After you dear sir, I insist!! Salut." turns around sharply, and trots off back to his troops to wait.
The English general sulkily considers this before snapping himself back to the situation, turning his horse to also return to his troops, ready with the fateful order.
And so on that forgotten day, on a forgotten hill, somewhere in Canada.
The French promptly got blasted to hell.