Wednesday, 9 July 2008
The Fatal Wall
It was in the old days, my mother tells me. A wall was to be built around a park. It was made with stone pillars and in between the pillars large panels were placed also of stone. Now these panels were so plain that an artist was commissioned to paint pictures on the panels. For a long time the panels were covered and fixed so that nobody should see the pictures until they were finished.
The mayor was removed from office and a new mayor was elected, but still the painter went on with the pictures. Now, the new mayor had come to office with the intention of being a moralist. He did not like what he saw as people doing things that he considered immoral. Love, he particularly disliked for it led to all kinds of things that he disapproved of. But as he had a lot to do in cracking down on the 'immorality' he saw around the city, he did not get around to checking up on the wall.
However, soon enough the wall was brought to his attention, ironically by the artist who had finally finished. The mayor took his car and went down to the park to see the wall. On either sides of the wall, the artist had painted Bacchanalian scenes and the birth of the old goddess of Love.
All along the wall, beautiful naked figures danced, kissed, sang and gazed into each other's eyes with love. There were fine sumptuous looking birds - peacocks, kingfishers and even tiny jewelled hummingbirds sipping from gorgeous voluptuous flowers. Elegant leopards and lions - even three fine ginger cats played, prowled, rested and slept on fine divans covered in silks and velvets. The whole effect was lush, rich, sumptuously sensual and crammed full of wonders. A unicorn lay his horned head suggestively in a virgin's lap. A long necked swan covered a comely young woman with his broad wings. On one panel near the lake in the park, Aphrodite arose from the sea, modestly covering herself with her delicate hands, a blush upon her face.
The mayor was shocked. He was appalled and confused. He spluttered, went red in the face like a blushing rose and pointed inarticulately at the panels. While many of his staff thought the panels beautiful and radiant, the mayor saw only filth and degradation. He could not believe what he was seeing. He was sure it was corrupting of public morals and as such he ordered the wall to be covered up completely.
Discovering this, the artist was heartbroken. She could not understand how the mayor could see anything in the paintings other than the dearest, gentlest face of Love. It did not occur to the artist to even see the images as immoral or disgusting because Love was not disgusting to her.
Great black plastic sheets were tied over the panels. The artist in her anger, cursed the mayor and all his office. From that moment on, the mayor was plagued for ever. The day after the artist's curse, six of the mayor's staff were found to be drunk and disorderly in the city. They had stripped and gone through town like a Bacchanalian procession, offering wine freely and decking each other with garlands of plastic vines.
At the end of that week, three of the mayor's staff were bombarded by birds who pecked at them until they were killed. The weekend saw ten of them go out together and disagree violently. Two ended up unconscious in the flower beds of the park. The other eight were forcibly mauled by big cats at the local zoo. The mayor himself was seduced and shamed out of office by his secretary who then sold her story to the press.
Not one member of the new mayor's office survived. The old mayor was re-elected and had the plastic removed to the joy and pleasure of the people of the city. The artist however, retreated to live with her three ginger cats in a wild and beautiful landscape. She flourished as one will who knows the strength of love.