Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Conversatio: Cantus Incantabans

A draft section from A Pilgrims' Congress

Then, as I was walking, a man joined my road. We greeted one another - I told him my name, and he said that his name was Cantus Incantabans. He asked me where I was going, and I told him of my quest to find the foundation stone. He looked shocked and said:

"My dear boy, that's the very object of my travels! I hear that the road to it is this very path, and that to find that stone we must walk the path to its end!"

Naturally I was very pleased to find another traveller of my persuasion, and we talked for a time of our trials and the views of the road. He was very dry, and we laughed ourselves sick at the folly of my countrymen.

Wiping my eyes from tears of laughter, I asked him, "Well then, what of you? What manner of house will you build on this cornerstone of ours?"

He looked very surprised, and not a little ashamed. "Well, now...there's an assumption there that need not be made. Why should I need to build the thing? No, it's best..."

Here he trailed off, for my incredulity could scarce have been more clear had I cursed him for a fool, then and there. "Don't act so surprised," he said. "What need should there be of a house itself? The foundation is enough for me."

"Enough?" said I. "What is this stone of which you speak, so worthy of a grand edifice, that shall have none upon it? Why, then, do you seek it?"

Said he, "I would simply that I knew it to be there, to have that comfort in my life. To have it to rely on."

I shook my head at this, and was about to grant him the benefit of his opinion when he said, "If I were you, I should do the same. There's no need to muck about with all this tedious construction of yours. Let us simply find the thing, and have done."

I rounded on him, and faced him as a man. "You fool," said I, "you know not what you say. I take the journey to find the stone to build the house. I should not be other than I am if I failed in any part. Get yourself from me - I will have no more to do with you."

And so I left him standing on the road like a landed fish, gaping after me and moving his mouth in consternation. I, though, proceeded upon my way, fuming at the lazy believer as I passed.

No comments: