Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Fable (for children)

A demon met a rich man's son, pious and devout, and shewed him from atop the world a city made of marble, limestone and alabaster which stretched white across the plain below. "Ask me once," the demon whispered," and I will set this city on fire and the tormented will scream your name. Their pain will be your glory, for you alone will know why they suffer and you will be the king of agony." But the man answered "No, imp! My father was a successful man who had fifty wives and he taught me 'To do is to own, to ask is to owe.' Get away from me and tempt me no more. But can I borrow a match?"

Next the demon found another son of privilege, this one frivolous and wasteful, and took him to the same mountaintop.  From the peak, he showed the boy a giant carnival that filled the valley below with whirling amusements, bright lights, gentle elephants and the music of a calliope.  All the people were enjoying the sights, sounds and smells so much that they never noticed the locked gates around the fiesta or the wide river of boiling sulfur that completed a circle around the gates.  "Offer me your soul," the demon whispered, "and I will make you the wisest man in this happy place, for only you will see the trap."  But the young man answered, "Begone Beelzebub!  For my mother was a debutante who taught me 'A secret is a miser's cash and a merchant's trash.'  What's on TV?"  

So the sullen but resourceful demon went to a seminary, telling himself, "Evil is unreliable and folly knows not wrong, but a tender-hearted wise man is up for mischief every day by dawn."

Moral:  The hateful and indolent can be saved with a rhyme, the honest are lost to reason.

MAXIM, n.  A gift from the listless to the lost.

20 comments:

Minka said...

Wow, it was easier being Mephistopheles in the olden days, wasn't it.

This was beyond brilliant!

TLP said...

Enjoyed it to the max.

You're feeling listless already this morning? It's only Wednesday. I am lost, so you're correct there.

TLP said...

BTW, I coulda been first. But I read the piece several times. And I'm not sorry I did either. We all live in the carnival, threatened by religions groups who tell us that their god will burn us in his hell. But it's too late. Many are burning in hell right on earth.

Good thing that some wise persons are up to fight the mischief as best they can.

Minka said...

TLP...lemon?


as to this post:

Curiosity killed the cat, human conscience killed potential.

Omnipotent Poobah said...

Maxim - A really poor girlie magazine.

Tom & Icy said...

The wiser I get, the bigger fool I am.

G said...

The OP beat me to the punch.

And I couldn't help but want to add to Minka's own maxim:

Curiosity killed the cat
human conscience killed potential
Both were buried in a pit
and sold as finest residential.

What does that mean? I'm not sure, maybe I'm not honest. Leaves the site for further introspection or coffee.

Bravo to your post by the way!

Kyahgirl said...

great post today Doug. You have a deep creative pool. Its not fed by a boiling stream of sulphur by any chance is it?

TLP said...

Grapes Minka.

Doug said...

Thanks, Minka. It was easier being Faust then, too.

TLP, thank you. Happily there are mischief-makers on both sides. We could have such good television if anyone was paying attention.

Minka, and the whole town went to the dogs. Hurray!

Poobah, the covers are swell. That's as much as I know.

Tom, one of these days you and I will likely drool pearls of wisdom in the nursing home together.

G, I love the poem. Meaning is for strangers.

Nah, Kyah. Sulphur is more of a byproduct.

TLP, way to be a fox.

quilly said...

Since I've not yet had any caffeine, this was my first thought:

Maxim TM
Invigorate your day with a great tasting cup of MAXIM instant coffee. The rich roast flavor and aroma will give you the immediate confidence you need to take charge of the day. Made with a select blend of the best beans which are masterfully blended and freshly ground to perfection. The result, a quick cup of coffee that's brimming with the rich, full-bodied flavor of MAXIM.

Jamie Dawn said...

From the movie Gladiator,
Maximus: What we do in life, echoes in eternity!

Jamie Dawn said...

I checked your response comment from yesterday.
My brother has been sworn to silence because I have much more dirt on him than he has on me.
I LOVE having the upper hand.
That demon should have tempted me instead.

puppybrose said...

oh to have something pithy to add to this fine conversation. alas (and alack) i do not)

suffice to say this wonderful tale was Vintage, um...You, and leave it at that. ; )

puppybrose said...

er... what was it that TLP said yesterday? "Read TWICE, write once"? good advice. really GOOD advice. ; )

(sorry, i just hate stupid typos)

puppybrose said...

or was it: Think twice, write once"?

BLINK twice, nod once??

crap. i give up. whatever it was that TLP said, it was good advice. really really GOOD advice. ; )

mireille said...

Well. That was cheerful. xoxo

Cooper said...

God that was perfect, and the definition is not to be outdone so Lazy girl is not going to even try.

I could have been first. But as the Peacock was told; one must be content with their lot; one cannot be first in everything.

Doug said...

Quilly, I'm not a doctor but I play one on the internet. If you suffer priapism call your barrista.

Jamie Dawn, older sibling school teaches making mountains out of anthills, doesn't it?

Neva, I don't think TLP meant comments. Reckless commenting is completely ok.

Mireille, I'm here to gladden the romantic heart and the calculating nose.

Cooper, it kind of depends on what deal you make and with whom. Thanks, though.

mistery said...

great story. I love stories abour demons and/or the devil

I've added "Waking Ambrose" to my blogroll at 666 very short stories perhaps you mighly return the favor?

cheers

portal to the multiverse
wicked and sick
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pathetic poetry
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