Many thanks to Hanzík for the Czech translations!

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slightly geeky  slightly geeky

Case 24

The Red Notebook

In the annals of the Temple of the Morning Brass Gong, this is recorded in the chapter titled Unit Testing:

Java master Kaimu would occasionally answer questions with the single word null. When asked what this meant, he would invariably reply with the same, impenetrable null.

A young monk, of a solitary and sickly nature, began taking note of which questions elicted this response. These he copied into a small red notebook, whose pages grew quite full over the months. The monk was observed to meditate over this notebook late into the night.

“Have you unlocked the mind of your beloved master Kaimu yet?” taunted his brothers one day.

“Null,” said the monk.

At this, the other monks held him fast and kicked him until he was well bruised. His precious red book they tossed into the fire.

The Java master heard this, and told the clan’s abbot to investigate. “Here are forty-eight questions for the young monk,” said the master. “Report his answers to me.”

The abbot did this. For most of the questions the monk gave a plain answer. For several, he responded with the enigmatic null. For the remainder, he was silent.

The Java master stroked his beard as he examined the paper given him by the abbot.

“For his answer to question twelve, box the monk’s ears; for he was insolent,” said the master. “For his answer to question thirty-one, whip his backside with a willow-wand; for he prevaricated. Then provide him with another red notebook.”

“And what of the brothers who beat him?” asked the abbot.

“Reward them, for they have done a service to the temple. I now know the algorithm of the monk to be flawed.”

Topics...  null, testing