For Caroline, because she remembered it. And for Mrs. Gray, because she made math, which = hell, fun and understandable.
The Lay of Pre-Calculus
By Corinne Dyer
Hector the Vector was walking one day
In the land of Arctan where factorials play;
A jester he was, in the court of Pythagoras
Whose son, called Arccos, in peril great was
For Arccos the brave and courageous prince
Had gone on a quest and been captured since;
‘Twas the troll called Orthogonal who did this cruel deed
Now a friendly deliverer Arccos did need
Arccos had gone to rescue a maiden
Who with great troubles was heavily laden
Princess Cartesian was the prisoner of Scalar,
An evil math teacher who said he would fail her.
Hector marched in reduced row-echelon form
Rather than row-echelon more commonly worn
But not even a determinant could help him that day
If nefarious Orthogonal he was to make pay.
When he reached the troll’s lair under the Bridge of the Sine
A way to Arccos he just couldn’t find
He cried to the oblique, acute, and obtuse
“Hey, a little help here could I use!”
A shower of radians burst from the sky
And a lady descended as if from on high
Her raiment was golden, her marker dry-erase
Of evil in her there was not a trace
“Behold,” she said, “it is I and no other,
Please have no fear, I am your Fairy Mathmother.”
Her marker she waved and caused great permutations
That shook the rocks in the lair’s foundations
Coefficients collapsed, opened dungeons dark
Hector was so happy he could factor like a lark
For he found Arccos, whom he instantly freed
So that he could complete his most noble deed.
The Fairy Mathmother bestowed on the prince
An integer of gifts of arithmetic sequence
“Arccos,” she said, “These gifts you must use
To rescue Cartestian and Scalar’s power reduce,”
A poison she gave him, from the extract of square root
And a bow from which cofactors would shoot.
To the Castle of Cosine the three of them went
And Arccos into the fortress they sent.
He wet a cofactor with poison and killed
Nefarious Scalar, a villain skilled
He rescued the princess, his Cartesian sweet;
Outside the castle the two did greet
With Hector the Vector who stood there alone
“My lovely Fairy Mathmother has gone,”
He said with a sigh but with joy in his heart
For Arccos and Cartesian never would part
And Hector the Vector, a component man
Loved happy endings, parallelogram.