Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Of the Woodcarver, Time and Don Quixote

Inspired by the Painting De Historia et Veritate by Richard Pentelbury - my beloved grade nine English teacher

It was a lovely day for an auction in the field on the Plains of Abraham by Quebec - circa nontime - and a small crowd of curious and not-so-curious onlookers had gathered by a great oak tree to watch a woodcarver at his work.
"Ah, at long last!" exclaimed the Baron. "This fine piece will look magnificent in my Hall. Alright woodcarver, name your price. No cost is too great for so beautiful a statue!" He reached into a small leather pouch and shook his coins invitingly.
"Actually," said Helen of Troy slavishly. "I think it's quite atrocious." She shifted her feet ever so slightly but her lithe body jiggled invitingly nevertheless. "What is it anyway?" she demanded.
"That, my dear, is a carving of Don Quixote, a fictionary peasant who thought he was a knight. A man by the name of Cervantes wrote after the Golden Age of Knighthood, in order to mock its archaic ways," said Mr. Doe.
"Very good, dear. Very good," cooed Mrs. Doe, her right hand sliding across his shoulder.
"The Golden Age of what?" questioned Helen.
"Of knighthood. You see, about six hundred years-"
"Enough!" exclaimed the impatient Baron. "Look," he said, turning to the woodcarver. "I am prepared to give you three hundred gold pieces for your wonderful work," he said, taking out the coins.
"Woodcarver, I will give you two hundred pounds for that superlative creation. Come, come, Baron! You cannot top that!" challenged Mr. Doe, standing upright.
"Who do you think you are?" said a young man beside the statue. "I will give you ten thousand ru-"
"Look here, my dear man, surely you will give this pièce de résistance to me," said the dwarfed but proud Napoleon, atop a tree stump. "I will make you a general in my army," he added, his gutteral R's revealing his heritage.
The young man was fuming, along with the Baron and Mr. John Doe. "I will offer you fifty thousand rubles!" he yelled.
"One thousand gold pieces!"
"One thousand pounds!" The bidding erupted, numbers flew past the cricketeers, who paused momentarily to see what was happening. The woodcarver remained expressionless despite the anxiety directed towards him.
"Woodcarver," said a dulcet voice, cushioned by ecstatic melodies. "I will buy the statue for a song." It was the delicate woman in the red dress. A light breeze undid her loosely held hair, magnifying her loveliness tenfold. Her skin glowed pink from cheek to cheek and her dress billowed out around her feet. She was truly magnificent.
"Sing, then, beautiful maiden, and the carving will be yours," said the woodcarver, breaking his silence.
The red lady sang. She sang a song so perfect and beautiful that the cricket players behind them stopped their match to listen and the quarreling men stopped their duel of words. It was a song without music, but music was not needed. She sang so wonderfully well that the reverberations of her words were the soft hummings of harps. A lark flew down from the great tree and atop her shoulder, it sang with the angel in red.
It was a duet like none had ever heard before, nor were likely to hear again. The sun peered out from behind the afternoon clouds, and in the background, the soft lapping of the waves sang in harmony with the two ethereal creatures. And when it was over, everyone, everything- faded into the ebbing final notes, and the lark and the red lady flew into the sun with their well-earned prize.

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