The story that explains how come Westerners have such long noses, whereas Asians are gifted with much more efficient, compact models. In the manner of Kipling's 'Just So Stories' for young children.

Here, you discover that coffee is to blame for this discrepancy in nose size, and also for natural disasters such as bathtime.

For Americans: 'Bogies' are 'boogers'. 'Snot' is liquid bogies.

Why Westerners Have Long Noses (and Asians don't)

A long, long time ago, oh Best Beloved, back when the world was shiny and new, and the Internet not even invented, there were many peoples on the earth. However, not one of them posessed a nose - for the Gods had not yet gifted mankind with the Sense of Smell. Neither the Chinese, nor the European, nor the Japanese posessed a nose of any size or stature, and therefore nobody smelt at all.

Back in those days, bathing was therefore considered optional - and so, in a way, maybe everybody smelt quite a lot after all.

However, up in Heaven, the Jade Emperor had made a decision to introduce coffee to the world. Amongst the various denizens of Heaven, this was widely applauded (as if anyone would dare to contradict the Emperor, anyway). However, there was a question raised by Cafinata, the minor Goddess of Non-alcoholic Beverages.

"For the people of Earth to appreciate coffee (the drink of Heaven)," she proclaimed, "it would be necessary to introduce the Sense of Smell! Therefore, I propose the immediately bestow a Nose upon all."

This raised a great debate in Heaven. Many Gods approved of this change - after all, surely it was implied by the Emperor's previous decision? - but many dissented. Why should the mortals be able to posess the fifth sense? They would be wanting more and more at this rate!

Eventually, news of this debate reached the Jade Emperor. Calling the various parties to an audience, he proclaimed his decision:

"Mankind shall be given the Sense of Smell that they may be able to appreciate Coffee. However: with this will also come the ability to sense unpleasant smells. Also, they shall be cursed with Snot and Bogies, and Japanese boys shall have nosebleeds when they see female underwear!"

This decision pleased almost everyone. Although mankind received the blessing of the Sense of Smell, it was not without a high cost. Coffee could be appreciated, but mankind would not get too overconfident. Everyone bowed to the Emperor, and left his presence to prepare to distribute Noses to the world below.

There were, however, two who did not agree with the decision. Yu-pu, a fish-spirit, and Pong-Yi, a skunk-spirit, were rebellious.

"This will be bad for my relatives," said Yu-pu, "since everyone knows fish will have an unpleasant smell to humans. It can only decrease our popularity."

"How about us!" whined Pong-yi. "The skunk tribe will be ruined and outcast! No longer will we be valued as home companions. We must do something about this!"

The two went off to plot, in an effort to subvert the Emperor's will.

Soon, Heaven had finished preparations for the delivery of Noses to the earth. A huge cart, filled with Noses, was in front of the celestial palace, pulled by four giant elephants - because, as you know, elephants are the most important of all nose-owners. At the signal of the Jade Emperor himself, the cart began its slow progress down to the world below, travelling three times around the globe in order to reach the ground.

It was on the third time around that Yu-pu and Pong-yi sprang their trap. As the cart passed over Europe, they opened a cage containing 10,000 mice and set them to scurry in the path of the elephants.

As we all know, elephants are mortal afraid of mice, and Giant elephants are no exception. In a panic, they ran ahead, spilling most of the contents of the cart all over Europe. By the time that the gods had managed to get the elephants calmed down, and had arrived on the ground in China, most of the contents of the cart had been lost.

What could be done? The only possible solution came from Cafinata.

"We still have some Noses," she said. "We will just have to slice them more thinly in order to have enough to distribute amongst the people of the East."

And, oh Best Beloved, that is what they had to do. By slicing the available Noses more thinly, they found they would have enough for all the people of the East - and by using some minor magic, there would be no loss in functionality. Indeed, this solution so impressed the Emperor of Japan that he proclaimed the seeking of high functionality in compact things would be the goal of his whole country. And so, the people of the east could now smell.

The first thing they did was take a bath. It was from this point that regular baths became a necessity.

But, I hear you ask, what about the people of the West?

Well, when the cart was upset over Europe, Noses rained down on the people there. By the time that the gods had the chance to go and look, the people of the West had already collected this wonderful gift of Heaven - and had used them.

Indeed, there was such a number of Noses, that many people had more than one apiece, and could stack them to make an extra-long model. This did not give them any extra sense of smell, although to their dismay they found they received double the allocation of bogeys and snot - so serves them right for greediness.

Since a gift of Heaven cannot be taken away, there was little the gods could do. However, at lease now all the people of Earth had the Sense of Smell, and were able to appreciate coffee - and so it was seen as a success.

And so, now you know why Westerners seem to be so well-endowed nasally, whereas asians have much more compact models. Everyone has the same sense of smell, though, and (as a punishment for the greediness of their ancestors) many westerners have to put up with extra bogeys.

People now have regular baths, to avoid the unpleasant smells - although asians tend to be much better at this. This is because they have learnt to value their noses, whereas some westerners are careless about taking care of their nose because they have so much of it.

And finally, what about Yu-pu and Pong-yi?

Well, the Jade Emperor found out about their duplicity, but was inclined to be merciful. After all, he could see that their future would be to be despised by mankind for their stink - and maybe they deserved it, after all.

Copyright Steve Shipway, 2005