"As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her..." (C S Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My attempt at fiction: A Parable of Ogres

There once lived a group of ogres, ugly as can be. Their favorite past time was to laugh at how horribly ugly ogres look. They would mock their large humped back figures, their big crooked noses, their sharp yellow teeth, their long pointy ears, and their lime-green skin, which was covered with pimples. At times this laughter turned to all out ecstasy. The ogres would fall to the ground and laugh and cry and shake their heads with delight, all at the terrible and grotesque appearance of an ogre.

Then one day, in the course of his hunting, an ogre found a most peculiar object, which he reasoned came from the land of humans (a great feat, as ogres don’t reason much). He went to go show the other ogres and gloat about his new treasure. It was shiny and round and flat. But when the ogres looked more closely at the object, they began to see images and pictures of ogres inside the object. At first they began to fight over the little treasure, thinking it was magic. They yelled and grunted at each other to touch it and hold it. But ogres, being the type of creatures they are, could fight and laugh at the same time. So their laughing and mocking went on. In fact, the sight of the other ogres fighting over this shiny little object was even more humorous to an ogre than merely their appearance alone. Soon the whole tribe was rapturous with laughter. But then, one ogre finally got a hold of the object. He ran to be by himself so he could selfishly enjoy his new treasure. As he looked closer and closer at the image revealed in the shiny object, his countenance slowly changed. His laughter began to fade into a chuckle, and his chuckle faded into a smirk, his smirk to a frown, and so on. In a matter of a few minutes, the ogre was the saddest ogre in the woods.

When the other ogres finally found him, they decided to fight for the object once again, if for no other reason than to see the funny sight of ogres hitting each other for the shiny little object once again. To their surprise, the sad ogre willingly gave the treasure up. Desperately, the sad ogre had hoped that giving the treasure up would make him jolly again (a rarity, ogres don’t give treasure up too often). But afterwards he didn’t feel better, instead he felt even more gloomy and upset than before. The other ogres took little notice of him at first and as planned began to fight each other to hold the treasure. In time, one by one, they each had their turn looking into the shiny object by themselves with its images of ogres, and one by one they each slowly changed from his jolly delight to sad melancholy.

Finally, the last ogre, after becoming saddened by the object, tried to give it back to the others. No one took it. None of them wanted to see the images again. So the last ogre had a novel idea (very unusual, novel ideas don’t come easily to ogres). He would smash the treasure to little pieces and be rid of it once and for all. So the great big ogre took hold of the shiny little treasure and smashed it to a hundred pieces. At first all the ogres grunted and growled in cheer for the bravery of the last ogre. For a moment they celebrated as usual laughing and mocking at the horrible appearances of the others. They even thought the image of the one who smashed the mirror was the most funny and ugly thing they had ever seen. But alas, they looked upon the shards of the broken treasure scattered around the ground. And as each ogre looked upon the shards, he saw that each separate piece contained the same images as before. Of course (as humans know), being broken pieces, the shards were smaller and they were not as clear as the larger object, but nevertheless they revealed the same image as the original treasure.

From that time on ogres have been a grumpy sort of creature. They don’t much like laughing at each other, and they sure won’t stand for anyone laughing at them. Many ogres have clubbed each other to death over a little giggle, and rumor has it many humans have been clubbed as well. Since that dreadful day in ogre history, ogres have hated humans above all else for sending upon their tribe the curse of the Mirror.