A Parable for Edgar

A tribute written for his birthday, January 19, 1996

by Mordantia Bat

Pay attention, Edgar. I'm going to tell you a story

nce upon a time, there was a priestess in a far off land, in a time which could have been any time, but wasn't because time in this parable is meaningless, as it always is in all parables.

Par•a•ble noun.
A simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson.

"I keep forgetting most people aren't atheists. I thought religion was something you grew out of like shoes."
- from a fragment of my journal entry dated December 17, 1986.

Remember. Time is meaningless.

So, this is a simple story illustrating an atheist's religious lesson. This is why I am not going to be a stickler for any regular structure, because it's by default a paradox, perhaps a conundrum, and what it really illustrates is that I'm awake at 5 a.m., trying to tell a story to Edgar Allan Poe, who is dead and therefore probably not as attentive as he ought to be. I could, instead, insist this tale was a sonnet and write well over 14 lines and make a cacophony of the iambic pentameter (call it an Industrial Sonnet, if you will). But no. I will not do that. I will insist this is a parable, and if you're really good, I may even attempt coherence.

For•tune noun.
a hypothetical force that governs the events of one's life. 2. Good or bad luck. 3. Luck, esp when good; success. 4. Wealth; riches.

The hypothetical force which governed the priestess's life was a fairly typical hypothetical force. After the hunters and gatherers in this far off land had set up shop by settling down and going through the usual anthropological bullshit of farming, establishing a community, and setting up various systems of commerce, religion, and government, a certain malaise settled on their descendants, and for the first time in that region, people were born who never had to know intimately the lower rungs of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, i.e., they didn't have to hunt, gather, or farm to garner their basic sustenance. Those needs were taken care of. They were free to be tormented by abstractions instead of by nature.

After the basic question of "Where is food?" is answered, there are lots who will then begin to ask "Who am I?" Although I have no empirical research data to back up this assertion, I assert that few really care who they are when they're starving. Later, of course, when they get really wacko about asking who they are and why they're here and what's it all about, there are some people who start deliberately starving themselves to induce alterations in mood, which they then construe to be a spiritual epiphany, but that's another thing. Those people tripped over the rungs on Maslow's ladder, and they're relevant in a kind of holistic anthropological sort of a way, but this story isn't about mental bulimia, if you will, but about this priestess, who - yeah, granted - has her own issues cropping up out of abstractions, but she didn't go on any 30-day fasts or anything, so we'll just leave it at that.

Okay, so this priestess then. We'll call her Nahara, just because that was the name I used when I was nine and used to play in my suburban backyard where I used to imagine I was Nahara, orphaned child who was raised by tigers and coping alone in a jungle. Never mind that the "jungle" in my backyard consisted of a peach tree and a bunch of really unruly mint plants. It was a jungle, damn it, and I was the alienated noble savage archetype in it. Anyway, so I've always been fond of that name, and I guess I ought to name the priestess something, so there it is. We're going to call her Nahara.


[continued next page]