Nov 23rd, 2005. The ad was for a grit-free, glug-free and taste-free fibre. Can it be so? View large

Dear Sir,

I am puzzled.

Admittedly I do puzzle easily. The wife, the kids, door-to-door purveyors of fine religions, market surveyors and even the cat know this and all mentally out-manoeuvre me with consummate ease. Especially the cat.

So perhaps you can help me. The source of my puzzlement is an ad I have before me for your product: Benefibre - grit-free, glug-free and taste-free. Most puzzling indeed. As you say, it is fibrelutionary.

There is a story about a King who was sold a suit of clothes by a couple of keen amateur snake-oil vendors with the understanding that the clothes were indeed very beautiful but could only be seen by the truly wise and educated. The King, not wishing to be seen as uneducated or otherwise, readily said that he could see these clothes. As did the rest of his courtiers and the general public. It wasn't until a child, with all the ingenuousness that only such a child can have, pointed at the King and cried out:

“Look at the King! Look at the King! He's grit-free, glug-free and taste-free! ”

The King, in response, had the disrespectful pup trussed, mounted and displayed on the castle forecourt where Knights-errant force fed him figs until he burst.

“Oh woe! Who cares for me? ” wailed the youth. “Well, I certainly give a fig” replied the King.

The King may have had no threads but the boy had more than his fill of fibre.

Anyway, apart from knowing that you paid an arm and three fifths of a leg for your invisible fibre, how do you know that it's there at all? Am I really just getting nothing for something?

Will small children point at me and laugh?

Yours, self-thickening,

J Cosmo Newbery.

REPLY: None so far.