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Story of a slave

03/08/2009

A slave story

Once upon a time there was a boy. Nothing special was about this boy, except that he was a slave; and not only him, but also his parents were slaves, as well as everyone around him was a slave, and all he saw around him, since he was born were slaves.

One day as he was wondering around his birth place, he saw not very far from where he lived, a very old building, with peeling dirty façade. This building had high windows, and not as in all the other houses around, into which he could look through their windows, when walking nearside, in this house he couldn’t see into, even when he was standing on the tip of his toes. For long time he watched the building, measuring and considering how to see into it. At the end his curiosity overcame his fear, and he opened the heavy wooden gate, covered with dragon and lion carvings, eaten by time, on which he could still see the fading yellow, red, blue and green colors.  To his surprise he found himself in a big hall, full of shelves, filled with books. In the middle of the room he found a chair a table and a double ladder.

He took some books in his hand, shook them to clean the dust and spider webs from them, and started to read. He found that those books are adventure stories about kings, princesses and heroes. As he read more and more, he understood that none of the stories were about slaves. As he continued to read day after day, from the morning until the night, he realized that he also wanted to be a king.

When he told this to his parents, they at the beginning smiled at him nervously, as parents smile sometimes, when they are afraid of consequences of their childrens mischief, then he told it to his friends, and they were less remissible. At the beginning they laughed at him, and as he continued saying, “I will be a king” . But then they started to beat him up.

But he on his own persisted saying, “I am going to be a king!”. His parents, become more and more frightened, and started to ask themselves, “what will come out of him?”, and even more, they asked, what will happen to us?, what consequences it will have on us?  As they saw that all they warnings were in vain, and he continues to claim to be born for kingship, they become frightened ever more, and at the end they decided to put end to it.

They turned for help to a dungeon master. The dungeon master, a slave by himself, was a very big, fat man, who used to collect old pieces of junk, which he cleaned of the dirt, and sold each piece according to its demand. Wood to oven owners, old rags and clothing to paper mills, bones to filter producers, leather to shoe makers, glass to glass blowers and glass molders, but most of the junk, and the most valuable was the metal junk, which needed special treatment, and which he sold to foundries and machinery masters.

So the dungeon master put the boy into a dungeon, which was filled with old wheels, axles, joints, valves, pumps, motor blocks, gear blocks, chains, carburetors, rings, disks, rods, yokes, drive shafts, crankshafts, pins, screws, shafts, bolts, pistons, cylinders, flanges, gears, kugellagers, coolers, heaters, rotors, stators…… All these spare parts were full of black dirty grease, and he was ordered to clean them in a tin sink, filled with strong smelly liquid diesel, which by itself was black from the dirt.

And the boy was cleaning the metal part day after day, from the dawn until the sunset. And the greasy dirt penetrated at the beginning his clothes, then his skin, his nostrils, his ears and even covered his scalp and hair, and the strong smell of oil and diesel never left him. In the dungeon everything was filled with the black grease; the floor, the ceiling, the walls, and even the windows. But there was one window; which was high on the wall, a small window, which was never opened, but because of its position high on the wall, close to the ceiling, this window was not entirely filed with black grease, and the boy could see from time to time the light penetrating into the dungeon through it. He could even see through this window people walking in the world out of the dungeon. Since the window was high and the dungeon deep, he could see mainly the legs of the people, and not only ordinary legs, but also legs of girls, girls of his age, older girls, or even younger ones, all of them walking there, out of the dungeon.

As time passed, day after day, and he followed the happening in the outer world trough the small window, he realized that the young girls legs become longer and longer. At beginning he wondered why it is, and then one day he realized that not the girls legs become longer, but their skirts get shorter and shorter and as the skirts become shorter and shorter, so his excitement from the scene grew and grew until his chest nearly blew up.

So he lived and worked in the dungeon, day after day, month after month, year after year, and sometime even forget that he was born to be a king, until one day, a stranger appeared. Immediately when the boy saw him, he had odd feeling towards him. At the beginning it was not so obvious why, what was so different about him, but after few moments, he realized, that the stranger is neat and shining, emphasizing even more the black dirt of his world. His coat was shiny white, his shoes were shiny white, his pants were shiny white- everything he wore was shiny white, except his tie, which was dark black.

As the boy watched the man, all in white with black tie, he approached him and asked him, are you the boy who is intended to be a king? Out of shyness, rather whispering than saying, the boy, who was not any more boy but rather young man, answered “yes”.  And, you still want to become a king? He asked, and the boy answered, this time with more confidence, “YES”. So the man in white, said almost whispering, so that only he could hear it, “But there is a price to be paid for it”. What price, asked the young man, and the man in white said “you have to give up satisfaction”. Satisfaction? What is satisfaction to me? I never in my life had any satisfaction, so this is no price at all to give up, and he immediately agreed.

As they shake their hands, the young man found himself out of the dungeon, sitting on the green neat and nicely cut grass, surrounded by beautiful buildings, under pale blue sky, and spring time bright shiny sun heating mildly his back and belly. And he was not alone sitting on the grass, there were other young men and young girls of his age, all of them talking cheerfully, and even talking to him, not opposing him for what he is saying. They were not surprised at all, when he told them, that his destiny was not to be a slave, but rather a king. They found it just natural and not strange or improper, and they did not tease him for it.

Then he learned that he was sitting on the grass of the campus, the place where the knowledge is to be found, and in the buildings around him, wise teachers taught wisdom, and all the girls and boys intended to earn some of it, and to know each other, and to become friends to each other.

Our young man, who knew immediately, that this is the word, he wished to be in, while sitting in the dungeon, joined them happily. But then he was overwhelmed with the plenty. Plenty of wisdom, plenty of books, plenty of freedom, leisure time, small talk, big talk, easy talk, hard talk, plenty of friends and above all plenty of beautiful girls with the same short skirt, he used to see while sitting in the dungeon. And he, who knew until then only lack, suddenly the plenty became too much for him. He wanted to get all what his eyes could see, his hands could touch, his heart could feel, and all of them at once. He couldn’t choose out of the plenty, he had to have all of it, and immediately. But in spite of hunger, his capacity to absorb was limited, and the plenty started to suffocate him. And he started to suffer.

As he suffered more and more he saw no end to it. And so it went on and on and his suffering didn’t disappear, but on the contrary, it rather strengthened, until one day he remembered the man in white, with the black tie. At first it was just a blink of memory, but then it was more than a blink, until he started to think about him continuously.  Then one day the man in the white with the black tie suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Walked to him and blessed him and inquired of him, “how are we doing in these days?” And the young man, who became by now more a man than a boy, answered, “I have learned a lot but still not enough, I have experienced a lot but got still not enough, i went thru many adventures, but still not enough”. “I have more and more, and still need more and more”. As he complained to the man in white, the wizard asked him, “Do you want a change? But as you already know, there is a price to be paid for it”. What’s the price, asked the young man, this time a bit cautiously, and the wizard said, “You have to give up the ability to forget”. “To forget”, thought the young man, “who wants to forget. In contrary I want to remember, and to remember all of it, and up to the last detail.”

So let it be, said the wizard, and extended his hand, and as they shook their hands, the young man found himself in a hill side, full of magnificent huge black boulders, among them grow densely high thistles, burned to brownish – yellow by the hot summer sun. And above the field flew a vulture, which continuously followed him. Whatever he has done, the vulture hissed at him with enmity, when he tried to have a rest, the vulture tear flesh out his body, and only when he worked, she watched him from a distance, waiting for the opportunity, either to hiss at him or to tear bits of flesh out of his body. But the young man, who was by now a full grown up man, and who have learned many things, but most of all he knew how to live while suffering, did not give up. He started to do things. At first he started to move the huge boulders. As he moved them and opened a field between them, then he started to fight the thistles. He did not mind the pain and wounds the thorns of thistles caused him. As they grew every season again and again, he cut them down, not letting them to spread their new seeds, until he annihilated them. Then he built a house. A big house. A house proper for a king, a house where he can invite his family, friends, vassals, colleges and all the people, a proper kings need, to run a kingdom.

But as he worked, the vulture continuously watched him, and never gave him a breake. Every time, he took a rest, she hissed on him, and when he fell asleep, she attacked him and tore bits of flesh from him, and when his friends, family, vassals, colleague came to the big house, she hissed on them too, and humiliated him in front of them.

So went on year after year, and the young man, who by now have become a man, worked as hard as he could, yet still could not find his kingdom. And as year followed year, he wished again to meet the wizard.

And one day he appeared again, and asked him, “Do you want still to become a king?” and the man said, YES. But as you know, said the wizard, there is a price to be paid for it. What price, asked the man, this time a bit furiously? You have to give up the ability to forgive. “To forgive”, asked himself the man surprised“, who the hell wants to forgive. Never-ever” shouted with strong deep voice.

As he said that, he was again relocated to a new place. In the new place he met a young woman. The woman looked like an ordinary poor woman. She wore very old clothes, full of stains and patches. Her hair was like straps, and she wore funny red shoes, with sharp long nose. But he was by now a grown up man, full of learning about the world, and full of knowledge about suffering, and he immediately realized that she was not an ordinary poor women, but a princes. So he took her with him, and started to build a small kingdom. Even the kingdom he built was very small he liked it, but next to his small kingdom was a very big kingdom, and the big kingdom decided to expand, and swallowed his small kingdom. But our hero, (we may call him by now a hero), was now a very well learned and fully grown up man in his full powers, so he did not give up, and started to build a middle sized kingdom. And he loved his middle sized kingdom, but then in the kingdom was a vazir, a prime minister, a general and even a cook and all of them betrayed him, and took his kingdom. But our hero was by now even more learned and with unusual strength, and life experience of immortals. And he even experienced to be a king, in a very small sized kingdom, but still a king. So he started to build again his kingdom, and this time a big and well defended kingdom.

This kingdom he based on very strong foundations. He used all what he has learned and experienced during all these years of yearning without fulfillment,  all these feelings he felt during the years of suffering, to built his big kingdom. When the kingdom was built he invited into it his family, his friends, his colleagues, even some of his enemies.  He had now place for all of them.  And all of them, most of the time adored him, and loved him. But as it happens many times to kings, (even to the most loved ones), from time to time they make mistakes, and in contrary to an ordinary human, the kings can’t be pardoned for any of their mistakes, so they are from time to time not only loved but also despised and hated.

And so, our boy, who has became by now a man of age, a hero, and a king, lived ever after in his kingdom, surrounded by his closest associates, who loved and hated him, admired and rejected, and he got all of it; friendship and hostility, blessings and envy, generosity and greed, and when he was left alone, without his family, friends, associates and even without his enemies, his memories revived him his years in the dungeon, years of plenty on the green grass of the campus, years on the field surrounded with black huge boulders hissed by vulture, he was still full of yearning for pure-innocent-limpid- immaterial love.

August 2009

From → Essays, MENUE

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