Sunday, 19 June 2016


Having dismissed my servant for his persistent surliness, I tried his replacement by sending him on an errand to the market. I concluded my instructions by saying, “Is that clear?”

“Truly, master,” he replied, “it is as if a pot that was overturned has been set upright! It is as if a window that was begrimed has been made clean! It is as if an instrument* guitar has been restrung and tuned up to pitch! It is as if an old and broken lamp has been repaired and filled again with oil, and its wick trimmed and lighted! It is as if thick clouds have dispersed and revealed the sun! Even so do your most excellent words turn chaos into order and darkness into light! I fly with the unerring aim of Arjuna’s arrow to the single point of your desire! My path is as clear as that of an army marching down a broad, straight highway, and deviates neither to the left nor to the right! I go on the instant to be the expression of thy will, creating that which is commanded from that which is!”

I wished for my old servant back.

* The translator from the Persian has here used “instrument” in the old sense “unable to be strummed.” Cf. the title of one of Picasso’s paintings of an unstrung guitar, “The Instrument Guitar” (“El Guitare Instromaz”), a symbol of death and the decay of all things.

A shorter version of this will appear at Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Story Challenge today.

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