A Folktale from the New Revolution


After the printing press and the seed drill, there was nowhere else to go, so the King proclaimed a competition to change the world that rang throughout the land. There were heralds in village squares, notices on church doors, and obligatory fittings for glass slippers, though the latter could be a mistranslation. There might have been TV specials, but the date is uncertain and anachronism is tantamount to arachnophobia, and nobody wants a spider in their glass slipper. After a year and a day, a picaresque adventure, three wishes, and rather more anthropomorphism and suspension of disbelief than a modern audience can tolerate, all the would-be inventors lined up amongst the trumpets and rosy-cheeked rustics. Three cheers! Each cocky lad held his own machine for making clouds, each identical to the others and just as useless. Woe! cried the King, and had his Fool beheaded. But a token trope of a fine young lass in man’s array stepped out of the crowd with a glittering device. More cheers! More trumpets! Declare the Fool a saint! What does it do? cried the King and the commoners, and even the dead head of the blessed Fool. This, said the maid with eyes as bright as glass slippers, and her words ran like spiders throughout the land.




Oz Hardwick
Picture Nick Victor


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