Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Once upon A Time............
.......... far, far away, there lived a Goblin Tribe.
The Goblin Tribe had spent many generations hiding and fortifying their castle. They had built secret pathways; tunnels; rooms within rooms; and all manner of other, clever stuff. These tricks and illusions were necessary to protect the vast treasure the goblins had gathered. The treasure sat in a room, apparently on full view of anybody passing by, protected by guards and secret passages. The treasure room was almost impossible to gain entry to, unless you had an invitation. Anyone who wanted to be anyone wanted an invitation. Everyone wanted to be able to talk knowledgeably about seeing the Goblin Treasure.
The treasure, itself, was piled in the middle of a glass room. The Goblins in charge of this room had the power to issue invitations to people to come and see the treasure. And, if you came to see the treasure you could walk right up to the pile, roll around in the hoard, fling treasure about and generally cavort in the wealth of the room. It was not possible, though, to take the treasure beyond the confines of the glass room. You could see it clearly from outside; you could fill your pockets with it, once in the room; but you could not take it over the threshold of the room. Protected by strong magic, the treasure simply disappeared from your grasp and reappeared in the pile of treasure from where it had been taken. This was not the only magic protecting the hoard, but it was certainly considered the most powerful!
Now - at about the time we are talking about - there lived a Princess. Don't let this alarm you. Bloody Princesses get everywhere, but with a good insect powder and a sharp comb it is easy to root them out if they infest. However, at this time, there was less of an infestation and more of a irritation of Princess (the commonly used collective noun, by the way!). We are considering one particular Princess, which is a blessing, as trying to consider several at once can leave you feeling like you overdosed on candyfloss and vinegar! So - our Princess..............
Our Princess had not yet received her invitation to view the treasure hoard. She had often walked past the castle, peering through the glass walls, in the hope of drawing attention to herself. She had sometimes stood, with her nose pressed against the hoard wall, watching the Goblins organise and tidy. She had occasionally wandered back and forth near the castle, loudly wondering if she might be invited to view the hoard. Strangely, none of these tactics had worked!
One day, while she was doing her wandering and wondering thing she met a Lesser Prince who was just leaving for home, having viewed, touched and generally enjoyed the Goblin Treasure Room. The Princess decided to ask him how he had managed it. After all, she was a Princess of the local realm. He was a Prince of not-so-very-close. Surely, she was as entitled as he to an invitation?
The Prince explained to her that the invitations were issued by the Goblins who looked after the treasure. If you wanted an invitation, you simply had to ask. The chances were you would be invited to view. Once you had the invitation, you could approach the outer gate, where The Gatekeeper checked your paperwork and then, said The Prince, allowed access to a hall of wonders! He went on to explain that the whole system seemed to work on a principle of honesty and openness. If you wanted something you had to ask for it. The Princess knew she had much thinking to do. This 'honesty' thing was a new idea to her!
Finally, having spent many days in contemplation, she had it all worked out. She approached the gate and left a note for the Treasure Goblins, asking for an invitation. She made sure that she presented a very polite and demure front to The Gatekeeper, understanding that, if anyone could wreck her chances of seeing the treasure, it would be this Gatekeeper. It didn't even matter how hard she simpered through the glass walls of the treasure hall, if the Gatekeeper didn't think she was the sort of person who should enter the hall, she wouldn't be allowed in. The Princess was very pleased with herself. She had worked that much out.
She went from the Gatehouse to the glass walls of the Treasure Hall. There she sat and looked her most attractive. She had said, in her letter to the Treasure Goblins, that she sat in the same place every day, waiting to be invited. And now, she made sure she was always there. Simpering. Looking sweet. Being exactly what she thought would be most attractive to the Treasure Goblins.
Oh! And she was good. Inside the Hall there was agreement that The Princess should have her Invitation. Not a single Goblin could understand how she had been overlooked so far. She was a pretty, simple, sweet creature!! Look at her, out there, with her eager, angelic face! The card was written and posted that day. To ensure that nothing could cause a problem, The Princess was also schmoosing The Gatekeeper. The face she was showing there, though, was not the sweet, innocent, sickly face she had been showing the Treasure Goblins. Rather, she presented a measured, considered, pensive sort of face to The Gatekeeper. They discussed the flow of visitors. They talked about the political ramifications of the local geography. Once, they even talked about the weather, but that was from a geo-sociological perspective. The Princess had done a great job of wriggling her way into people's affections. She had, however, made one mistake. As we shall see.....
The Princess's invitation duly arrived and, on the correct day, at the correct time, she presented herself at the Gatehouse. Slowly, the queue moved forward, The Gatekeeper checking invitations against visitors. Finally, our Princess came to The Gatehouse. She said hello to her friend The Gatekeeper and handed up her invitation. There seemed to be a problem. The Gatekeeper looked from invitation to Princess and back again. Heads were shaken and ways were barred. It became very clear that The Princess was not getting into the Goblin Castle.
Having waited patiently for while, The Princess approached The Gatekeeper and asked what the problem was. It is most confusing, she was told. The face which had been regularly presented to the Gatekeeper was most certainly the face which was being presented for admission to the Castle. However, the face for which the invitation had been issued was another, completely different face. Most confusing. Most bothersome. Most irritating. Most definitely no entry!
Our story ends here - it is not recorded whether The Princess ever made it into the Treasure Hall, nor if the Goblins ever forgave her for presenting a false front. To be fair, I shouldn't think anyone cares. The point is this..........
I may not issue the invitations, Madam, but I sure as hell am The Gatekeeper. If you think, for one bloody moment, that I am taken in by a false fronted approach, you are seriously mistaken. You may well get that invitation you appear to crave, but you can be damn certain that I will have more to say about whether or not you do than you, or your presentation of yourself, will. It runs on honesty. Do not play with me. Absolutely do not try to play me. I will barr your entry, Missy, and I will thoroughly enjoy doing it.
I may not make the offer, but, By God, I have the last word! I suggest you consider that before you make any more approaches for your invitation