"'The time has come,' the Walrus said..."
Not all that long ago there was a man who played music. Well what of that, you say. This man did not care to play the bass notes and would only play the rhythm and the lead in the music. Imagine Beethoven's Ode to Joy without the bass line; or Peggy Lee's 'Fever' without that feverish bass.
This man did not care, he would not play the bass line at all. Eventually I had to ask him why not. Well wouldn't you? At first he would not, then he said I'd think him crazy, but I assured him that I would not having seen a woman who wrestled with alligators, a man who insisted on a duel over a flower arranging contest and a boy who had just got his third Phd in Corporate Finance. As for the banker who thought himself above the law... well actually that's not all that extraordinary. Still, I assure the man I would not think him crazy.
"One word," he said, "One word. Faeries."
I was taken aback I admit it. I could have thought it was for all kinds of reasons, but faeries I'd never have guessed in a month of Thursdays. I was wondering whether he'd had a bad experience with the bass line once and the trauma had stopped him. But no, faeries. Well I ask you. Faeries. Really. Still I had promised him I wouldn't think him crazy and I told him I was interested.
"You think I'm nuts," he answered.
He was right, I did think he was nuts, but I was more curious to hear why it was faeries, so I persuaded him that I didn't think anything like. He calmed down and I sat and he began to tell me.
"I used to be a terrific piano player once. I was invited all over just to play for folks. One evening, not quite night and not quite day, I was walking home to Mevagissey from Pentewan. I'd been playing the piano and I was a little drunk. A little way along the road I met an old woman who asked where I'd been. I told her and what I'd been doing. Well she liked the sound of that.
"I have some friends who would like to hear you play," she says to me and calls me by name.
As I'd never met her before I was a little surprised but I went with her and after a while we entered a wood and came across a very beautiful and fine house. Still, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up and I felt uneasy. But I could not see what the problem was so I followed the old woman in and to my surprise she turned to me and was a young beauty with hair like molasses and green, green eyes. Her dress was red like silk and embroidered with green leaves that looked so lifelike it was as if they grew there. I was led into a large ballroom and up to the piano.
There were all kinds of young beautiful creatures there, somehow not quite right. Oh they were delicately beautiful but there was a steely, almost cruel look in their eyes. Still, I sat down at their exquisite piano and began to play a waltz gently so as to get used to the tone of the instrument. It was quite lovely and all those beautiful people got up and began to dance as if they had done it all their lives. I played and played until I began to feel a thirst come upon me. A lady placed a goblet on the piano beside me and winked at me.
I took the goblet but something about her wink seemed terrible to me and I paused from playing, the goblet in my left hand. I saw in the silver of my own buttons that there was no ballroom, nor people and suddenly I cried out, 'My God!'
In that instant, everything disappeared and I was left standing in the forest with the goblet in my hand. I fled through the trees, the goblet still in my left hand until I reached Mevagissey and home. When I awoke the next morning, I took the goblet to a jewellers who paid me a small fortune for it. Since then I have been well off, but I cannot play a bass line, my left hand won't do it."
I was amazed and went away with a tale that would not let me go. In memory of his playing, I made a sculpture and on the right I put the bass clef to remind him that once the bass line was his - before the faeries took it away.