There was a kingdom of numbers. Infinity was the king, the undisputed ruler. The kingdom had a lot of inequality. The higher the digits in a number, the higher was its status. Single digit numbers were like below poverty line families.
Once Infinity announced a competition among the numbers to find the one which was the most special.
He called for his witty sub-ordinate, the Zillion.
“Do all prelims rounds,
Invite me to the final.
Let me witness the talents,
That claim to be the most special.”
The D-day arrived. Infinity was surprised to see the finalists: ‘One’ and ‘Zero’.
Is this some fun?
Aren’t invisible to me
This two subaltern?”
The Zillion apprised Infinity that these two have indeed defeated the rest of the contestants. Infinity turned to the finalists.
“Hello Zero and One!
How are you different?
Prove your mettle.
Show your talent.”
Zero was given the first chance. Looking at the gigantic infinity, it squeezed itself out of respect, and spoke out,
“Your majesty, the King!
I am special for my being.
I am a multiple of every number.
All embrace me, as I am at the center.”
There was a round of applause for Zero.
Next was One’s turn. It gave a head bow and advocated its case,
“You countless, the Royal Highness!
I am an identity, I am the unit.
I am my own square and my own factorial.
I am the most complete.”
There were murmurs of appreciation for One.
Infinity was quite impressed on both. However, there was a problem. It said,
“Zillion, Oh my dear!
Only one award to be given; is this clear?
Both are good, I agree,
But, who is better?”
Zillion signaled Zero and One to demonstrate their superiority. One jumped forward,
“Zero is not a hero.
In addition, it vanishes.
It’s rather the villain.
In multiplication, it finishes.”
Zero was taken aback by this comment from One. It did not wish to fall behind. It rolled forward,
“One is not a hero either.
It wears the vanity hat over and over.
You multiply it with any number.
It’s gone forever.”
This time, Infinity was not impressed. He addressed both Zero and One,
“To show yourself better,
You need not despise the other.
If you can tell well about your pal,
You win the status special.”
Zero was the first to respond,
“Sorry for my last comment.
One is my buddy closet.
One is the only result
When I am put as an exponent.”
One promptly followed,
“Apologies to my best friend,
Without Zero I am lonely
I go to a higher order,
When it’s at my right only.
Both continued in chorus,
“We are the foundation,
We constitute binary numbers.
We simplified computer design,
We even describe letters.”
There were cheers in the courtyard. Infinity was convinced that both the numbers deserved to be recognized. It awarded both Zero and One the special status.
This incident revolutionized the numbers kingdom and made it more equal.
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