The Oldest Story Ever Told – I

Fiercely it tiptoes up your spine
Craftily it dissolves into your blood
Softly it massacres all good sense
Gracefully it crumbles you into mud
The fruit of vengeance rots with time
Born to the stem, borne by the bud.

The Teacher prided himself with the fact that no student had left his tutelage without being blessed with perfection in their education. Maybe that’s why he felt an uncharacteristic pang of guilt as he watched two of his best students make their way out of his ashram, arms around each others’ shoulders, for the final time; their education, he knew, was not complete. The young prince had too much power and too less of knowledge, and the Watermen’s son were to have his profound knowledge putrefy due to lack of power. Chiding himself for thinking of such ill for his students, the Teacher made his way back to the cottage, directing his mind to fall into the comfortable illusion that he had done his best and that the rest of it was Fate’s doing.

The years had not diminished the Prince’s liking for fame and finery. The King of Gladrifir had unintentionally fueled his son to become competitive to the fault, with his callous heckling. The Prince was under express instructions, or rather pressure, to not settle for anything less than the best. So when the Prince’s eyes fell on a fair maiden in the market the other day, he realized he wouldn’t find anyone better to share the throne and it was no surprise that he didn’t step back even after knowing that the maiden was already promised to someone else. ‘Why, my subjects bear me great affection!’, he argued with his ministers, ‘That I am taking one of their own to be my honourable wife will be a matter of divine pride for them, not mutiny.’

Maybe the Prince didn’t bother to find out who the maiden was engaged with or maybe he did; either way he carried on with his pursuit, and managed to win over the maiden’s heart with his majestic power and ardour. Their wedding was celebrated with magnificent splendour, befitting the Prince’s liking; only one individual abstained himself from all the pageantry. The maiden’s previous fiancé; the city’s new laughing stock; the Prince’s childhood friend, the Waterman’s son.

When Pride was humbled unevenly, Envy came forth.
When heated consistently, Envy frothed in Anger.
Frothed floods of Anger tarred and marred the golden city of Knowledge.
The ashes of Knowledge cemented together with, the black paste a distorted love called Hatred
led to the creation of an impregnably enormous fortress.
All the world’s good sense failed to conquer this fortress the mind had built around itself.
And inside, years of dark solitude had resulted in echoes of insanity that reverberated in the halls.

Through long summers and longer winters, the Waterman’s Son travelled back and forth the globe amassing incomparable bounds of knowledge.  The Prince had now become the King of the fair country and a father to two delightful sons; a phenomenon the Waterman’s Son witnessed with great and perverse excitement. Vengeance was close.

‘From the summit, steeper is the plummet’

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