A Modern Parable

 

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It is commonly thought that man can do anything he may grasp. In such a case one man may accomplish more than others may because he may grasp more. This seems to be the reason behind genius. However, there is one more string of words one must add to the reason to have it ring true. Man may do anything he may grasp and that heaven will desire him to. For if a man dares overstep his bounds, an sword carrying angel may soon flutter out of his bedroom window at midnight holding the man's bloodied head in his bag. Therefore it would be overly naïve and rather simplistic to ignore such an important add-on to our philosophy. That is why reader, I write this tale of my grandaunt, the lady Elizabeth. For you who scoff at my ramblings of mind, I beg of you, for your own sake read this story so you may be warned.

 

Chapter 1

Elizabeth strolled in the gardens. Not frowning nor smiling for she had neither cause to weep nor to rejoice. Yesterday was a day for the latter; tomorrow might be a day for the former, but for now neither reigned.

A tallish shadow followed her. On closer inspection it seemed to be more of a man than a shadow purely because of the whites of the shadow's teeth and eyes. However, these served merely to emphasize the darkness of the pupils and the hair. Its skin was rather sallow, as happens when a being does not delight in sun but indoors. Its countenance was one of the most desperate eagerness to please mingled with flashing of anger. Elizabeth turned to the shadow and crossed her ivory arms against her chest.

"Count William Nosferatu, I refuse." Were the words she used to address the shadow.

"My sweet Elizabeth, did you think that even a creature such as yourself may hold me here? My lands are in Germany, I cannot leave them for mush longer." It was a honeyed voice that gave no hint of the possibility that the owner could have feelings of negativity.

"Then why did you marry an English lady? I was raised in King Arthur's isle. I shall not travel to the dingy continent to waste my life."

"I would no ask if it were not needed. I have a gift I can only give to you there. It would be a good time for you to encounter your new land."

"Must we leave?"

"I will hold a ball for you. So that you may meet friends to make up for ones here."

The suggestion seemed to please Elizabeth and she tilted her head to look at her husband. "Very well. If I must make the sacrifice I shall."

And so they went. Sometimes hand in hand, others in frowning silence. Their carriage grazed over dirt roads, city roads, roads that had seemingly no end in sight, roads that ended before they scarcely began. All these roads had something in common though. They all brought the couple neared to the castle of the Alps where a Ball and a surprise awaited.

Elizabeth disapproved of the castle immediately. Her selective mind thought only of how impossible it would be to entertain here. She began hiring local girls to clean. The task force started three became eight then sixteen and finally twenty before it was as spotless as she liked. As for Count William, he had holed himself up in his study and had little time to notice the heirloom cobwebs that were being rendered non-existent. Elizabeth did not mind over much.

Her mind became centered around the ball she was to hold. Soon she began using the date of the party as a reference of time. Therefore according to her, the date was five weeks before the ball when William ushered her into his study.

She took the single non-dusty chair and stared at the abysmal impenetrable purple curtains. For the identity of the objects behind them she had only two clues. The first, that it was an important gift from William. Secondly, that it was most likely covered with dust. She considered sneezing prettily but then decided to speed things up in order to get out of the dust storm as quickly as possible. She turned to smile at William who was standing over a contorted iron balcony next to a machine look like an ill-fated raven of doom.

"My dearest Elizabeth, I have long promised you a gift for our wedding. But as one cannot offer Aphrodite more beauty nor Athena more wisdom I could not find a suitable gift. Till I came across a curious volume. The tone in question was of obscure author, who was half decayed into dust, half exposed bone, wholly dead owing the mere six feet of dirt given to us after a visit from the Reaper. But in it he advanced arguments for an experiment he was undertaking. The last pages were torn out, so I had to labor for a year and a day to finish his work. But the results! Before you see the products simply remember this my dear; imitation is the most sincere form of flattery." With that he threw the switch in a clean, efficient, eager manner.

The curtain began to rise as lightning danced around the corners of the room, exploring the metals of it. Then the lightning swirled out of the window and left the room smelling slightly scorched.

Elizabeth gasped her mind not grasping what had been wrought. Before her very eyes three lifeless corpses of maidens had been brought to life. The girls stood in line and faced the couple.

"Elizabeth, I am the only man on the earth now to create creatures. And what sort of creatures? Humans of the fairest sort (although they pale in your God-given beauty) and finest degree. And I give them to you, my love, as handmaidens. But do not think that in my trials I did not care for naught but appearance. All three of these maidens will serve you in a different useful way. The closest to you, the golden haired ivory figure is Nobel, a lady of as pure blood as you could want. She will serve you as your companion. The middle is not as fit for your company but for physical work. Her name is Peasantrina. She is as sturdy as an ox and as loyal as one. And that last (Dear, do not despise her because she made your acquaintance last for she was my hardest and finest piece) will be a conversationalist to rival any you had ever seen. Her name is Intelligencia." As he mentioned the name of each nymph the bowed and tried to kiss the hand of their mistress but she snatched it away.

"William their eyes!" She cried, like a little child so overwhelmed by the whole she could only comment on the details.

"Well, my beloved, I created them out of the cast off bodies of those who had come before. And although it does not mar their beauty each aspect of every part of them came from a different parent. However, eyes I cannot restore to life not make them serve a new mistress. Therefore, I was compelled to take the eyes of live animals. Nobila had the eyes of a fine greyhound, Peasantrina the eyes of a horse and Intelligencia the orbs of a cat. Do you not like them? I cannot return them, Love. Give them a chance and you will grow to love them." He concluded wringing his hands over the final judgement of his presents.

"I like them little but for your sake. The materials of them I am loathe to approve off, the craftsmanship, I cannot judge having no comparison to other master's work but the thought behind them is one of love. And as Love is the greatest mistress possible I must bend to her wishes. Come along you... three." She swept out of the room, Nobila and Peasantrina following in her wake.

Intelligencia came last, regarding her mistress with her cool, calculating eyes and almost too sharp nails.

 

© 1999 Copyright held by the author.

 

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