A Fable (first draft)


This entry now serves as a monument to my lack of vision and haste to post. My intent was to write a fable mocking extroverted ignorance, and showing what can happen when people criticize what they don't understand, believing that all other people share their essential ignorance. Focused solely on alluding to this message, I tried out a couple of different metaphors. As it turns out, I chose a metaphor that has a much closer match to a more immediate political problem, the public fear of terrorism and suspicion of innocent people. I'll have to re-work the fable so that it says what I originally intended to say.

Further update: See the reworked version.
The first draft is included below.

The Grand Wondrous Emperor summoned his advisors, Gnowhey and Ceemoor, to his court and presented them with a problem.

"A foreign spy was captured and executed in our marketplace this morning. He was carrying a scroll. It has many strange symbols and I cannot understand it. Tell me what it means."

The Emperor passed the scroll to Ceemoor, who unrolled it and examined it. The court waited upon his explanation. In the unusual quiet, the royal harpist fumbled a note, then deliberately fumbled the next phrase to make his previous mistake sound intended. After several minutes the Emperor scratched his head and leant to the side of his throne. Ceemoor, muttering to himself, looked back to the top of the scroll and started to make notes on his slate.

The Emperor cleared his throat. "Ahem. Have you an answer?"

Ceemoor jerked to attention. "I... I have found some of its meaning, your magnificence. I'm familiar with some of the symbols and the others form patterns that I shall soon decode."

Gnowhey interjected, "Nonsense! Ceemoor is pretending he has knowledge that none of us could possibly attain."

"On the contrary, Gnowhey, the symbols are similar to those used by our neighbor, the Sultan of Sandirritan. If we were to consult the foreign minister or any of our traders, I'm sure they'd confirm my assessment."

"Yes, yes, Ceemoor," said the Emperor, "but what does it mean?"

"Your Wondrousness, there seem to be two parts to the writing. I think the first is a set of directions to get from our eastern gate to the marketplace. The second part includes mention of knives, rope, fruit, and wine. I think it is a shopping list."

"Rubbish!" exploded Gnowhey. "That man was a spy. If you understood the scroll at all, you'd realize that it must be an invasion plan. Our children, the fruit of this fair land, are to be drugged with wine, bound with ropes, and mutilated with knives. Oh Wisest of All Emperors, please do not listen to this traitorous talk. Ceemoor would have you drowse in complacency while his foreign conspirators overrun our glorious empire."

The Emperor was livid. "Ceemoor! How long have you been concealing your treachery?"

"Emperor, I have always been faithful and have always spoken truthfully to you," Ceemoor replied. "I beg you to listen to reason. Have I not spoken with wisdom in the past?"

The Emperor spat on the floor at Ceemoor's feet. "I tire of your so-called wisdom, Ceemoor. You can't even see my new suit."