“Who is first amongst equals?” Socrates asked.
“I am!” stomped Earth. “Without me, there is no ground for arguments to stand on.”
“Boooo!!” howled Wind. “Did you lift that bit from Water? Or did you get mud in your ears?”
“Stop blowing smoke!!!” roared Water. “No, I mean… stop with the nonsense.”
“Hahahaha” cracked Fire. “Water, I thought you’d be the most fluid. Never knew you’d rather be air-dried cough cough 😊”
Socrates rolled his eyes and sighed “I’m appointing Aether as first. Rest of you… get a planet.”
“What hubris!” the four exclaimed.
In a proto-marketplace, the four elements debated over the future currency.
“Fire releases energy in all things. We should all trade in units of heat exchanged”, exclaimed Fire in a heated voice.
Water, who held a prior grudge against fire responded, “Nonsense! All you do with that energy is feed yourself. Try turning that into work for a change.”
“I’d like to see how Water, who always takes the path of least resistance, gets any real work done”, retorted Fire, who started to fume.
Earth, with its grounded voice then spoke, “Now now gentlemen. No need to blow hot steam. We all know that currency should neither dissipate nor sit idly. It must be parceled into measurable pieces and conveniently distributed. Air can do my deliveries.”
Air who overheard her name chimed in, “I would if Earth didn’t flake at the slightest wind of uncertainty. Besides, why should there even be a currency. Can’t we all just share that which is plainly around us all?”
The three other elements groaned in unison and the debate continued until a man showed up. Eyeing each element, he took a handful of Earth and washed away the dirt with Water to leave behind some ore. Placing the ores into Fire, the pieces smelted, leaving behind precious metals. The metals were then molded into discs and engraved with a signature as they slowly cooled in open Air. Thus, coinage was borne.