Sunday, July 3, 2011

Staying neutral

Hey folks, Tehtena here.  Now it's my turn to say something, and what else am I going to talk about but the guy who created me.  After all, except for him there isn't much I can see from the pages of the manuscript where I live.  While he and I are in touch all day long, of course, and oftentimes at night as well, I only get a good look at him when he turns on his computer.  Then I can see his face, bathed in the pale light of the monitor and, I must say, looking rather dissatisfied as of late.  He is clearly unhappy with something, and I think I know what is bothering him.
   I believe it's something he has been wrestling with from the very beginning.  You see, while doing research for his novel, he discovered that a certain incident has been described very differently by the two cultures which are connected to it.  Each of them believes firmly in its own version, and yet, if one of them is true, the other one must necessarily be false.  Which of them is correct, however, cannot be determined by means of any empirical evidence.  It's all a matter of faith.
   What I am talking about are certain contradictory claims regarding the fate of the Ark of the Covenant.  One side claims to have removed it from the temple in Jerusalem during the reign of King Solomon and to have it in its possession to this very day.  The other side denies that such a thing ever happened, suggesting instead that it disappeared centuries later during the Babylonian invasion and that no one today knows where it is.
   This state of affairs presented a problem for my author friend.  He loved both cultures with all his heart, respected both peoples equally, and did therefore not want to take sides.  And to make things even tougher, the Bible, the one historical source he respected the most, did not give any specific information on this particular issue.  So what was he to do, other than ignoring the whole incident altogether, which was out of the question?
   Well, I'll tell you what he did.  From what I have seen so far I can say that he went quite faithfully along with the version that has the Ark removed from the temple.  As a matter of fact, he made me very much part of that undertaking, and everything went exactly the way— Wait! What am I doing! I mustn't spoil the ending!  But let me reveal this much to you: he managed to tell the story in such a way that both sides can continue to stick to their own versions of the event.  It took some clever maneuvering, but he found a way to incorporate many details from the ancient reports without favoring one account over the other.  He wasn't thrilled that he had to go this route, but felt he had no choice.
   It still bugs him mightily, but there's nothing he can do about it.  I, on the other hand, am actually quite happy that he had to stay neutral, and if you ever read the book, you will find out why.  I spend a lot of time pondering this matter in its final chapters, and you know what?  I think you will find yourself agreeing with me.  Or at least I hope so.


  1. Your royal highness, very humbled to make your acquaintance. Your author is extremely lucky to have such a muse. But I see you have chosen well, as only such an imaginative and learned person would be able to tell your story with such verve and passion, creating the illusion that we are in ancient Jerusalem and other biblical lands.
    I look forward mightily to learning more of your adventure.
    Julia Hughes.
    ps. D'you think Solomon really would have cut that baby in half?!

  2. Thank you so much, Julia, for your thoughtful and kind comment. I am not used, though, to being called 'Your Royal Highness'.  Although I spent the first sixteen years of my life in the various palaces of Sheba, I lived as a simple servant for longer than that.  Indeed, throughout my adult life peasants were my dearest friends, and it was from them that I received the sweetest comfort whenever overwhelming grief made me long for death.
      The only one who calls me 'Queen' these days is my beloved king, and I gladly let him do so because I can see the jubilant joy in his eyes each and every time he addresses me that way.  As for the other people around me, they cannot honor me with such lofty titles because they do not know yet who I am, and perhaps they never will.  For since revealing my true identity might get Solomon into trouble, I will ask him to keep it a secret.  I will be perfectly content with being known forever as nothing more than the king's humble seamstress, as long as I may sleep in his arms every night.
      And to answer the question you asked me, Julia, here is what I believe.  It definitely was all a bluff, and the young king of twenty years ago would never have allowed that baby to be cut in half.  Neither would the king of today, now that his heart has begun to heal and his mind is whole again.  But the king of the intervening years, the one who came close to madness before my love pulled him back from the brink . . . I am not sure what he would have done.  But then again, he would also not have been able to come up with such a clever scheme.
      May God bless you, my dear Julia, for taking interest in my story.  You are the only one who commented on this  latest post of mine, and I am truly grateful for that.  :-)