The Fool’s Ballad

The Fool fumbled his way from his apartment and promptly walked off the balcony, into a garden full of red roses and white lilies.
Enlightenment was his goal, and there was some to be found in the bushes and flowers: rose thorns produce pain and blood.

With his newly found knowledge the Fool walked on.

Soon he came upon a man dealing 3-Card Monty at a small table. The man told the Fool that he could win something from nothing simply by guessing which card showed the Red Queen. Something from nothing? Or, more money from a small amount of money? Is there a difference? The cards were swiftly maneuvered in such a way that it became a blur to the Fool’s eyes. He had tried to keep his eyes on the Red Queen but she was gone before he could notice. It was with some sadness that the Fool handed over his small amount of money to the man. As the he walked away he noticed that when the man was performing the same maneuver for someone else that the Red Queen was surreptitiously slipped inside his coat pocket. The Red Queen had effectively disappeared. The man dealing 3-Card Monty was a Charlatan.

With his newfound knowledge the Fool walked on.

Upon entering an alley nearby the Fool almost tripped over the shopping cart of a large woman wearing a blanket wrapped around her shoulders, and three hats on her head. As he tripped, the woman stood, and took the Fool to her enormous bosom, cradling his head in the rank folds of her clothing. She said nothing, but simply rocked his head back and forth until he no longer noticed the strong odor assaulting his nostrils, and nearly fell asleep. At that moment someone could have told him that this woman was his own mother and he might have believed it. The moment was interrupted by a brusk voice shouting for them to ‘break it up’. The Fool raised his head and saw two police officers approaching, one male and one female. The female officer told the woman in the blanket to keep moving, if she stopped ever she was loitering and would be arrested. The male police officer poked his baton into the Fool’s chest and told him the same goes for him, their word was Law.

From inside a large garbage dumpster a man stood up, and called out in aloud voice that he was the ruler of all, and his authority came from the Mutliverse itself, he too had a large thick blanket wrapped around his shoulders, and wore three hats, one on top of the other. In one hand he held a long curtain rod with a dead rat on the end, and in the other he held a large rotting cabbage.

This was too much for the officers, and they began to subdue both the man in the dumpster, and the woman with the cart. The Fool used the confusion to flee from the scene, and dove into a nearby doorway. Two silky hands wrapped around his neck from behind, and caressed his face. He turned and look deeply into the aquamarine painted eyes of a woman whose face was encrusted with gold glitter and smelled of vodka. “Make ya a man?” she asked coyly, but began to cough as she did.

The Fool ran from the doorway as a taxi cab drove through the alley, and slammed on the door until he was allowed to enter. In the backseat he shifted down until he could only see the tops of buildings flying by. The excitement had drained him, and he tried to relax to adjust to the newfound knowledge he had acquired. As the taxi idled at a stoplight the Fool peaked out the window and saw a shop with televisions in the window. One of the televisions showed a gameshow with a large wheel spinning around and around, and the Fool realized that he himself could very well be strapped to that wheel, as his fortune seemed to spin around and around as well. He mused as the taxi drove away that we could all very well be strapped to that wheel.

The taxi driver turned back to the Fool and told him that where he came from he had been a very powerful man, and had ruled many people, but for him too the Wheel had turned and soon he found himself at the bottom. He was made a scapegoat for the ills that had occurred while he was in power, and was fired from his position, his wife left him and took the children, his family disappeared and he was kicked out of the country. He had had to smuggle himself onto a boat to escape persecution, and the boat had arrived here, and now he was a taxi driver. “This is the way of life,” the taxi driver laughed.

“Well,” said the Fool. “at least they didn’t catch you and kill you
as they had planned.”

The taxi driver looked at him in the mirror. “What would it have
mattered? They surely killed someone in my place. Someone always has to pay. Things end, and when they end new things begin. This, too, is the way of life.”

The Fool nodded his head. It occurred to him that many of the things he had once been afraid of were very natural, and can only be feared if unfamiliar with the concepts. Was he so important? Would his death mean anything to his world? Was it possible that death could be both a frightening thing, and a wondrous fascinating thing? Was it even possible that everything else was like death too? Was it possible that everything had both its good qualities and its bad qualities? In fact, could one go even further and state that things
have no qualities at all, and the qualities only exist within myself? The Fool was shocked. He felt calmer, yet somehow more
agitated. He felt he was growing, yet shrinking. Was this enlightenment?

At the next stop he asked the driver to let him out. He paid, and was left with no money at all. Standing on the corner, looking at all the stores filled with fancy items, and restaurants filled with exotic foods the Fool realized that, now penniless, he was in no
better a situation than the man in the dumpster. How could he be a part of society when he lacked the fundamental element which fueled the society?

The Fool decided to wander away from the buildings and people and try to find somewhere quiet. He eventually came upon a street which looked familiar. He walked along and felt he knew each building, each flower, each rosebush. As he gazed at a beautiful rosebush surrounded by white lilies he realized he was in front of his own building. Quickly, he ran inside and decided to sit out on his balcony to think about what he had learned.

He sat for a long, long time. Eventually, it began to grow dark and a single star began to shine in the sky. The Fool watched that star and thought about how beautiful it was, and how happy he was that it
had been created so he could gaze upon it. As he watched the star the moon began to rise, and moved next to the star. The moon was full, deep yellow and seemed enormous. The Fool wondered if the moon looked as huge and as beautiful for everyone else watching it.

The Fool sat all night and watched the sky. He thought about something he had read once in the Upanishads, which stated “As above, so below.” and suddenly he related it to another statement he had heard which was “The macrocosm sleeping inside the microcosm.” As these two thoughts occurred to him and he gazed at the stars beginning to fade into the blue or dawn, he stood up. The sun was popping over the horizon. But was it really? The Sun was in space.
He realized it simply appeared to him to be rising. He was the factor. THe Macrocosm WAS sleeping in the Microcosm!

“Great Googly Moogly!” he shouted. “It’s ALIVE!”

And as the Fool gained enlightenment, he fell off his balcony into the roses and lilies below.

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