Degree ceremonies today. Gosh it was hot. And humid. And they'd closed the windows of City Hall. So we all broiled gently. The best bit was the speech by Dr John Sentamu, the present Archbishop of York. He was awarded a richly deserved honorary degree in the second ceremony. In the context of having greatness thrust upon himself, he told a really good story, which I will now steal.
A great king had a beautiful daughter. He was very concerned that only the most worthy man should be allowed to marry her. So he built a large pool outside his palace and filled it full of alligators. Then he let it be known that he would grant his daughter's hand in marriage to the first man to swim across the pool. Many people gathered at the waters edge, but all were scared when they saw what happened when some meat was tossed into the pool and the hungry alligators attacked. Then, suddenly a young man was in the pool, swimming his utmost as the alligators chased after him. With a mighty heave the young man pulled himself out of the water and lay gasping at the feet of the king.
"You have done well" said the king. "You have shown great courage and may now marry my daughter".
"I am most grateful" replied the man "But although your daughter is very beautiful I would prefer you to grant me another wish"
"Very well" said the king, surprised at this "What can I do for you instead?"
The man looked at him and said "I would like you to bring me the man who pushed me in the water, so I can put my hands around his neck..."