There are two French Legionnaires in the desert, and they’ve been separated from their unit and are lost.
They’ve been wandering for several days without food and water, and are nearly resigned to the fact that they will soon die from dehydration, when as they reach the top of a sand dune, they see a big, bustling market laid out before them. Naturally, they can’t believe their eyes and think it’s a mirage, but as they draw closer, they can hear the stallholders’ cries, and they eventually reach the market and realise that it’s really there.
So the legionnaires rush up to the first stall they can and cry to the stallholder, “Stallholder, we have been travelling in the desert for many days, and have had no food or water. We shall surely die soon unless you have some you can sell us. Tell us, do you have any sustenance for us?”
The stallholder shook his head and replied, “I’m sorry, French legionnaire type people, but all I have to sell is a load of bowls full of jelly, topped with custard and cream, and lovingly sprinkled with hundreds and thousands of pieces of fruit and cake.”
The legionnaires look at each other, mildly surprised, and move on to the next stall, where they ask the stallholder, “Mr purveyor of fine foodstuffs and the like, we have been travelling through the desert for days, deprived of the necessary beverages and foodstuffs which are required for survival. We shall surely die soon, unless you can sell us some skins of water.”
The stallholder looked at them embarressed, and confessed “Gentlemen, tragic as I admit it is, I have none of the ingredients necessary to life for which you ask me. All I have to sell is this large bowl of jelly topped with custard and cream and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands of pieces of fruit and cake, with a little cocktail cherry in the middle at the top, there,” he said, pointing out the glace cherry. “I cannot help you.”
The legionnaires look at each other in desperation, and run on to the next stall, where they demand of the stallholder, “Look, mate, we need water or we’ll die. We’ve been travelling without water for days and need some now. Do you have any you can sell us?”
The stallholder looked at his curl-ended shoes in shame as he confessed, “Sorry, fellas, all I have to sell you is a bowl of jelly, with custard, cream and hundreds and thousands of pieces of fruit and cake. I can’t help you. I’ll have to condemn you to a long and lingering death through dehydration.”
The legionnaires were really worried by this point, and they went through the market, stall by stall, asking each stallholder whether they had any water they could sell them, and thus save their lives, but each stallholder gave the same reply, all they had to sell was a bowl of jelly with cream, custard and hundreds and thousands of pieces of fruit and cake.
Dejected and resigned to their grim fate, the legionnaires left the desert market and walked off into the setting sun. As they did so, one turned to the other and said, “That was really odd, a big market in the middle of nowhere, and all they sold was bowls of jelly with custard, cream and hundreds and thousands of pieces of fruit and cake.”
The other turned to face his companion and replied, “Yes, it was a trifle bazaar.”